If you are a small, family farm, pig raiser in Michigan it will be hard for you to accept any government party claims which assert that the U.S. is the land of the free. In a country that constantly praises itself for respecting individual rights and small government, April 1st will see a small army of state officials descend upon family farms to systematically murder pigs that are the wrong colour. Farm owners who still have these pigs also face being charged and arrested. This new policy was announced several months ago without any consultation or questioning allowed by the farmers, and will be instituted in several days. No this isn’t an April Fools joke. Check out the interview.
The Michigan DNR have defined a certain species of open range pigs, which have been raised in the state for decades, as being an “invasive species”. It just so happens that the farms and pigs in question do not belong to the Michigan Pork Grower’s Association and are clearly in competition with the big business.
Big Agribusiness like Monsanto wants a monopoly on food production, using government restrictions and patents to corner the industry. Independent food production is becoming criminalized. We see it here in Ontario with the raw milk controversy. In Michigan there was recently a case of a woman who was charged with growing tomatoes in her yard.
If there is an argument for classifying some farm animals as invasive species, I’m not finding it in my research. Really, when you think about it, most animal and plant products on farms are probably invasive species. What this government initiative seems to do is redefine the word “invasive” to mean, not a species which is foreign to a natural environment, but rather a species which is contrary to the dominant species used in the conventional industries. Local food initiatives and specialty farming is in competition with big agribusiness, and it seems that government may be being used to intimidate these small businesses.
The argument around agribusiness may be debatable, but what is undeniable is that a government that is supposed to trumpet individual freedom is invading small farms and telling them what kind of animals they can raise. Be clear, there is no question of quality control here, in fact the small farm animals are probably far more healthy than conventional animals, and are treated in a far more humane way. There are no practical reasons for culling these animals. The issue seems only to be one of economics and business politics. Agribusiness will ruthlessly destroy small family farms, using the government as their tool.
This in a state where 60% of the state legislature controlled by Republicans, the party that cries and whines about the evils of big government and the decline of individual freedom.
UPDATE: Doing some more intensive research, it seems that Michigan does in fact have a minor feral pig problem. After reading the material is seems that the do have to do something about the problem, but the action which is being proposed is still kind of like killing a fly with a sledge hammer. I’ve posted some of the feral pig information in the comments.