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Do Farmers Need “Enviropig”?

Hog farming in Canada is in deep economic crisis. Farmers have been losing money on every hog that they sell for several years, surviving primarily on off-farm jobs and government subsidies. Management of phosphorus over-production is yet another cost of production, however the GM pig will also come at a cost. Companies could charge fees per hog, similar to Monsanto’s Technology Use Fees charged, per acre, for use of its patented GM seeds. By contrast, the phytase feed supplement is now available at a low price and is being adopted by intensive livestock operations as a quick technological fix to solve the problem of meeting phosphorous pollution regulations.[xvi]

Rather than helping hog producers cope with their economic problems, Enviropig™ threatens to add more costs and severely undermine domestic and export consumer confidence in Canadian pork products. Canada’s hog producers rely on export sales more than any other country. Canada is the world’s third largest pork exporter and represents 20% of world pork trade.[xvii] In 2009, Canadian pork was exported to over 110 countries. These export markets can be unstable and, in the past, Canadian hog export markets, including China, have closed due to concerns about disease (swine flu) and feed additives (Paylean). It is highly likely that export markets will be closed to GM pigs, reducing Canadian sales and depressing prices.