Farmers May Cull 130,000 Hogs as Quebec Strike Halts Pork Plant
(Bloomberg) -- Farmers may have to euthanize and dispose of more than 130,000 hogs in eastern Canada as a months-long strike at a pork processor leaves a backlog of animals.
Olymel’s processing facility in Vallee-Jonction, Quebec, which usually slaughters 36,000 hogs each week, has been shut since April 28, when employees walked out. The company has been sending some of the animals to the U.S. and western Canada, an alternative that still leaves 15,000 pigs behind every week, according to David Duval, the president of the Eleveurs de porcs du Quebec, which represents the province’s producers.
“Animals struggle through heat waves like this. If on top of that they’re crammed, it’s becoming extremely difficult,” Duval said in an interview Monday. “I heard several producers who told me ‘I don’t know where to put them next week.”
According to Duval, the situation is unprecedented in Quebec, which built up a sizable pork industry producing four times the amount that’s locally consumed. In the U.S. last year, farmers culled herds as the coronavirus pandemic shut plants. Rather than cuts being turned into ham and bacon, the carcasses were destined for landfills or rendering plants.
“Olymel is taking special measures to limit this backlog, to control the backlog as much as we can,” Richard Vigneault, a spokesman for Olymel, said in a phone interview.
The union declined to comment.
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