Archives - 21 novembre 2005
Montréal: Pork plants stink, protesters argue
Attempt to see premier unsuccessful. Environment groups fear hog manure will contaminate rural water table
by Ann Carroll, The Gazette, Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2005
It was a Valentine's Day gift with a twist: a bottle of "toxic" water and a witty love letter from groups opposed to large-scale hog farm operations in Quebec.
Elgin Mayor Noella Daoust had hoped to hand the gifts to Premier Jean Charest at his downtown offices yesterday following a rally by about 200 farm owners, environmental activists and members of the Mohawk community in Kahnawake.
But Daoust got no farther than the lobby of the building at Sherbrooke St. and McGill College Ave., where Charest's offices are located.
"It's unbelievable that the premier is too cowardly to come and pick up the letter," Daoust said as she handed the politically charged gifts to an employee from the premier's office.
The love letter begs Charest to end his flirtation with the hog industry, and "put our health and our protection and our clean water first in your life ..."
Daoust said the bottled water came from Trout River, which runs by a large pig farm her residents were powerless to block.
"Good luck to him if he drinks it," the mayor said.
Amy Stolecki, a high school teacher from the Dundee area in southwestern Quebec, arrived at the demo equipped with coveralls and a gas mask and toting a clear bottle of liquid manure.
"It's cow manure, and not toxic," confided Stolecki, whose neighbours keep cows on her property. "But it's symbolic.
"Hog manure means goodbye to clean water."
The coalition of rural groups that organized the protest is asking the government to halt new hog farms and cut the existing volume of hog wastes by half.
There are more than 7.5 million pigs in Quebec, the largest pork producer in Canada.
"That's not agriculture - that's an industry," said Jean-Pierre Proulx, spokesperson for the Coalition rural du Haut St. Laurent.
Pig wastes from the thousands of animals crammed into open cages and pumped full of hormones and antibiotics will seep into drainage basins and waterways, Proulx said.
That is what worries Kahnawake resident Stuart Myiow.
"We don't have mega-millions to put into our water filtration system," he said.
"That (contaminated) water will come into our homes and into our children's bodies."
© The Gazette (Montreal) 2005
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