Control existing hog barns, man says after discovering carcasses

A Manitoba hunter who stumbled across a container full of rotting hog carcasses said he is concerned that the province's moratorium on new and expanding hog barns won't address conditions on existing operations.

A Manitoba hunter who stumbled across acontainer full ofrotting hog carcassessaid he isconcerned thatthe province'smoratorium on new and expanding hog barns won'taddressconditions onexisting operations.

"It's a beat-up old fuel tank that is busted and rusted and leaking everywhere," Elma resident Scott Sutyla told CBC News. "The maggots and all the decomposed flesh is oozing out the bottom."

Sutyla made the discovery on a recent hunting trip while walking through the bush near the Whitemouth River, which flows into Lake Winnipeg in eastern Manitoba.

Hesaid one animal carcass was exposed, hanging out of the tank. "There's not much left of it. You can see the backbone and the feet. The smell is horrendous, it's just awful."

Sutyla said it breaks his heart that someone is dumping dead hogs, especially in the Whitemouth River area, which he said is a favourite spot for kayakers, hunters and other outdoor enthusiasts.

"We live in an area which has got a river flowing though. There's fish and wild game. It's like a park setting. And then you have this, that seeps into it, which is poison, really," he said.

Elmais about 90 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg.

The tankis on the property of local hog farmer Gerald Toews, whotold CBC Newsthathe was too busy to look into the tank but "as far as I know, I'm not aware of anything like that."

But Toews added thathe'svery concerned about the environmentandthepossible impact of hog operations.

"There's a creek running right past my back door," he said. "It's an old creek, it hardly runs, but we're steadily cleaning it up and improving it, and my kids love playing in there."

Environment officers with Manitoba Conservation told CBC News thatToews had five days from Fridayto clean up the tank.

But Sutyla is worried about making similar discoveries in an areahe said locals call "hog alley."

"For me, it [the moratorium]was a good thing, because in the area that I am in, it is saturated already with hog barns," he said. "And there's no room for any more, and yet there seems to be more coming up all the time."

On Nov. 8, Conservation Minister Stan Struthers announced the construction of any new hog barns, as well as the expansion of existing hog barns, will be banned while the province's Clean Environment Commission conducts a review of the hog industry.

No date has yet been set on hearings as part of the review.

Provincial officials surprised

A provincial conservation official said Tuesday that it israre for dead pigs to be dumped and left to rot in the countryside.

Provincial officials were unaware of the hog carcasses in Elmauntil CBC News reported it on Tuesday.

Al Beck, manager of Manitoba's environmental livestock program, saidthe province has 18 inspectors who keep track of how livestock mortalities are handled.

"Operations with a manure storage facility that has been constructed under the authority of a permit, we look at those annually," Beck said.

"And when we do the site inspection, we also look at mortalities management. So we expect that in most cases, we have a good idea of what's going on."

Beck said most farmers understand the rules when it comes to handling dead hogs. The carcasses must be frozen or refrigerated in a secure location until they can be properly disposed by incineration, rendering, burial or composting.