Euthanized hogs still piled in bin
CBC has confirmed who owns the land and manages the hog barn operation under investigation for animal cruelty.
The property is owned by HP Farm Equipment in Winkler, and was managed by brothers Bernie and Menno Bergen.
The owner of HP Farm Equipment says the brothers were in arrears to him for several years and were in financial distress.
There was no answer at the number listed for the hog plant Tuesday night, but CBC found a bin overflowing with the carcasses of small dead pigs.
Provincial officials euthanized 1,300 piglets Friday after they were found in severe distress.
People in Manitoba's hog industry are shocked the farm is under investigation.
Joseph Waldner lives on the Cascade Colony near MacGregor.
He said there were rumours the Bergen brothers were in financial trouble.
"In a situation like that where a farmer is in a situation where he needs to maintain a barn, sometimes it could take a toll on a person," he said.
Waldner said with the price of grain skyrocketing it would be difficult for a farmer to find someone else to take the animals.
"With the grain prices and the drought we've been having, who can afford to feed them?" he said.
The Manitoba Pork Council said hog producers are in a desperate situation with grain prices going through the roof because of the U.S. drought and low prices for weanlings.
But the council's general manager, Andrew Dickson, said there is a process for farmers who want to get rid of animals.
"Producers are shocked by such actions and would hope the public would believe that is not reflective of how we raise our animals on a regular basis," he said.
Dickson said there is never an excuse to treat animals inhumanely.
The council said producers are losing close to $50 per pig.
Keystone Agricultural Producers head Doug Chorney told CBC many pork producers are selling off their hogs to reduce their overhead.
"Producers are under a lot of financial pressure to react to the high cost of feeding their hogs right now, it's very difficult for them when there's no economic return," he said.