Put pork on your fork to support farmers

Hog farmers need help to survive and the best thing you can do to support them is to put Canadian pork on your fork.

That’s the message behind a new TV commercial – produced by an Ontario swine veterinarian – that made it’s debut on the province’s airwaves this week.

Although many farmers are facing economic hardships, the situation is particularly dire for Canada’s hog farmers, who have seen the prices they receive for their animals take a major hit since the H1N1 outbreak. H1N1’s misnomer “swine flu” and the ensuing public hysteria led to many countries closing their borders to Canadian pork. Canada exports about 50 percent of its pork production, so this loss of export markets caused prices to plummet.

That by itself would have been an economic hit, but it came at a time when hog farmers have already suffered through several years of losses brought on by the high Canadian dollar that has hurt many of our exporting sectors and rising feed prices. Corn and soybeans are pig diet staples and rising demand for those crops by the bioproducts sector means that farmers using them for livestock feed also have to pay more.

For many farmers, this latest crisis brought on by H1N1 could force them into bankruptcy – and it’s this reality that led Dr. Martin Misener to produce the commercial and pay for a month’s worth of air time.

He hopes to raise public awareness of the plight facing farmers and is hoping other industry sectors who rely on hog farmers will step up and join his campaign.

You can view the commercial on YouTube, or you can catch it in Ontario on CBC stations CBLT in Toronto, CBLN in London and CBET in Windsor from July 22nd to August 18th.

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