Here's a little more information on this sad and insane situation...
Remember the Old Phrase “Buying a Pig in a Poke”?
April 17, 2012
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Michigan pigThat’s when something is presented in a way that conceals its true nature—which is the case right now in Michigan. Action Alert!
In 2010, Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) issued an Invasive Species Order (ISO), ostensibly to “help stop the spread of feral swine and the disease risk they pose to humans, domestic pigs, and wildlife as well as their potential for extensive agricultural and ecosystem damage.” So far, it sounds OK. But the swine in question are identified by such ubiquitous characteristics (mainly hair color) that most any open-range pigs, especially heritage or “old world” breeds—often being raised on small family farms—will now be defined as illegal “invasive species” and thus unjustly threatened with eradication. The order went into effect April 1, 2012.
Possession of these animals carries up to a two-year jail sentence and $20,000 in fines. Moreover, the ISO allows the DNR to seize and destroy heritage breeds of pigs raised by Michigan farmers on the spot—and without compensation. So far, the Michigan DNR has conducted two armed raids on pig farmers in that state, one in Kalkaska County at Fife Lake and another in Cheboygan County. The raids involved six vehicles and ten armed men.
Because the ISO deems farmers who raise these pigs to be felons, DNR officials were ready to make arrests on the scene and prosecute them. Mike Adams reports that one farmer, upon being served with a search warrant, heart-wrenchingly shot all his own pigs (including pregnant sows and dozens of piglets) to avoid being arrested as a felon. His livelihood has now been destroyed, but the DNR was satisfied and made no arrests.
This ISO is a blatant attempt to take away property rights, freedom of food choice, and market share through the force of law. What’s really behind it?
These are the very pigs that farmers and ranchers in Michigan have been raising for decades; there are indications that this ISO may have been nudged into position by the conventional pork industry as a tactic to wipe out competition from the local, specialty ranchers and farmers who don’t work for the Michigan Pork Growers’ Association. The Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund sees it as an attack on the local food movement and a brazen power grab that threatens the livelihood of small farmers across the state. A video created by a family farmer clearly explains the issue.
This is, however, part of a much bigger problem. Right now you get paid less for beef cows if they are the “wrong” color. Generally feeder cattle that are uniform in color, regardless of what color, will sell for a higher price than those that are less uniform in color. (More information about the economics of cattle color can be found here.) But heritage-breed cows, a vital pool of genetic diversity, are almost always “the wrong color.” If cows are bred for one color, you lose a lot more than other colors. You lose a great deal of genetic diversity which could prove to be very important for the future.
A standardized color is only obtained with an engineered animal. If you control for color, you lose genetic diversity and are left only with “engineered” animals. It is, of course, much easier for Big Farma to create monopolies from engineered animals.
You can see the parallels with seeds, crops, and vegetables. Just as we need seed banks, we need gene banks so that the heritage pig genes aren’t lost. If they outlaw pigs that are of a nonstandard color, why not outlaw all nonstandard animals to further the interests of agribusiness? The UN warned of this possibility in 2006: around 20% of domestic animal breeds are at risk of extinction, with a breed lost each month, due to a globalization of livestock markets that favors high-output breeds over a multiple-gene pool. Having that pool could be vital for future food security.
So this isn’t just about Michigan pigs. This is about stopping agribusiness from enlisting the powers of government to control gene pools before it is too late.
If you are a resident of Michigan, please contact Gov. Rick Snyder and your Michigan legislators and tell them you want the DNR to repeal its Invasive Species Order and support the heritage breeds of pigs being raised by small farmers.
"Happiness can only come from inside of you and is the result of your love. When you are aware that no one else can make you happy, and that happiness is the result of your love, this becomes the greatest mastery of the Toltecs: the Mastery of Love." ~~don Miguel Ruiz~~