CBC Digital Archives

Lesson Plan: For Teachers: Impact of the Pork Industry in Canada

Social Studies, Business Studies, Science
1 lesson
To consider the trade-offs of a profitable industry
In this introductory activity, students will explore the advantages and disadvantages of Canada’s pork industry, with particular attention to profits versus environmental impacts.

Lesson Plan

Before Exploring

Introduce the topic by asking students what benefits businesses and industries bring to any country or community. Responses might include jobs, prosperity, income, access to products and services, and so on. As a class, brainstorm a list of the potential negative impacts that come along with those positives. Responses might include pollution, waste, and income disparity.

Point out that one such industry in Canada is pork production. Canada exports over $2 billion of pork, making us one of the world's top exporters. But what's good for the economy hasn't been good for the environment. Conclude by discussing the idea of trade-offs when it comes to thriving industries.

Outline the Opportunity

Explain to students that they will be viewing a series of clips, looking for specific examples of benefits and harms that the pork industry brings to communities.

To guide their viewing, in their notebooks or electronically, students create a T-chart with the headings Benefits of the pork industry to Canada and Harms of the pork industry to Canada.

Have students visit the topic Hog Wild: Canada's Pork Industry on the CBC Digital Archives website. They will view the clips "Living with Pigs" "Quebec opts for better pig farming", "The smell of pig is the smell of money", "Not in our back yard!", as well at the additional clip "Anti-hog barn groups get boost from Canadian Medical Association".   Students complete the T-chart as they view.

Revisit and Reflect

Debrief by sharing responses as a class. Students should add any information to their T-charts that they might have missed. Based on responses, discuss reactions the following questions:


How much (if any) environmental harm should Canadians accept in order for an industry or business to thrive?

To whom are businesses and farmers accountable?

What role (if any) does the government play in regulating industry in terms of environmental impacts?

What role do members of a community play in speaking out against an industry?

Assessment Tip
Consider having students keep a response journal over the course of the semester for video clips and readings, and recording this reflection in their journal. The response journal can be used as evidence of the development of their thinking and inquiry skills.


Students can select an industry relevant to their community, such as automobile manufacturing, high-tech industries, paper production, fishing, or energy.  Working in small groups, students compare the environmental impacts of that industry to those of the pork production industry. Research should include government intervention and laws to protect the environment.

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