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Great Lakes Article:

Medical association warns about pig farms poisoning water


Moncton, N.B. - The Canadian Medical Association is speaking out against large pig farms. It says they could be a threat to human health, just what some New Brunswickers have feared for some time. Three years ago, a large hog farm housing 10,000 pigs opened 5 km down the road from Jerry Cook's home. He likes rural living and the clean environment that goes with it but not the pig farm. "There were two parts of it that always upset me: the contamination of ground and surface water and the other is the emissions from the building."

Cook and dozens of others became well known protesters, lobbying government to get rid of the pig farm. Some worried about its effect on the environment. Others about its effect on people. Now, the group has received some indirect support from the Canadian Medical Association. The CMA has passed three motions: --- that industrial hog farms may be a threat to human health --- that provinces temporarily halt expansion of industrial hog farming --- that more research be done Dr. Les Allaby, head of the New Brunswick Medical Association, supports the motion. "There's been a big expansion in industrial hog farming in Ontario and Quebec apparently. It's encroaching on neighbouring communities and it's causing concern."

Allaby says currently there may not be a problem in New Brunswick, but industrial hog farms should be investigated. But provincial Agriculture Minister Rodney Weston says he won't call for a moratorium. Weston says one large pig farm in New Brunswick has been studied and there isn't a problem. To Jerry Cook, that's hogwash. "I wondered if he was cleaning sand out of his ears because the policy of the province is just to bury its head and pretend this whole thing isn't happening." Cook says the CMA's comments are another weapon in his group's arsenal and may help to close the nearby hog farm.

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