Posted: March 28, 2012 in Current Events, Environment, Media Gleanings, Nutrition & Exercise

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.

  1. pwiinholt says:

    It seems that Michigan has a feral pig problem. But if you investigate you find that they have escaped, not from farms, but from hunting ranches. If wild pigs are a problem then legislate the hunting camps. Legislate the farms to meet standards that will prevent livestock from escaping. Impose fines or penalties on farms that allow pigs to escape. That’s what they’d do with other farm species like rabbits or chickens.

  2. pwiinholt says:

    Also seems like a great hunting opportunity. There seem to be only a thousand or so of them. Americans had no trouble wiping out several million buffalo. Why should this be a problem?

  3. Rod says:

    have you read anything about this from another source rather the NaturalNews? NaturalNews is nothing but a bunch of lieing fraudsters and I would never take anything they say at face value.

  4. Rod says:

    yup…of Course Natural news has it all wrong as usual. they are not going after any open range pigs. the law is only in reference to Feral Pigs, the wild ones that are the problem.


  5. pwiinholt says:

    Saw and read that. But what they say they’re doing and what they’re actually doing are different things. I might ask you whether you listened to the interview or watched the video. It seems that a lot of farm animals are being lumped in with the species being declared an invasive species. If they’re the same species and may be dangerous as feral, I still contend that the government is being heavy handed in the way they’re dealing with this, not allowing farmer input into the solution and having a short window. If the animals have been raised for over a decade, they need to provide solid proof that it is the farm animals that are escaping and causing a problem. If it’s not, then there action is unjustified, especially if there is no compensation. And all the reports point to the hunting facilities as the culprits for escaped pigs.

    Rod, skepticism is not the art of questioning everything except the status quo.

  6. pwiinholt says:

    I’ll look at them, but my first impression is that while you asked me whether I saw this story on any source other than Natural News (to which the answer is yes), you’ve given me a list of criticisms of the site that are ALL written by Science Blog. You seem to be guilty of what you originally criticized in my post.
    There are videos and interviews to support this story, but I don’t see a denial anywhere. Usually you at least find contrary information within the comments. It’s not there.

  7. pwiinholt says:

    My God, Rod. THIS is what you’re offering in your defense of skepticism?!

    I read three articles, which took hours because this author has no idea of the concept of “concise”. His common pattern in writing is to spend the first paragraph talking about himself in the usual manner of those writers who see skepticism as a form of intellectual masturbation. The second paragraph is commonly some form of character assassination, complete with highly emotionally charged rhetoric. So far I’m not being won over by this guy’s rationality. In the third paragraph and beyond he takes the point he is criticizing, ignores the original arguments and completely switches the subject in order to attack his victim on a similar but different topic.

    When he finally gets around to talking about the original subject it’s about a thousand words later and most people have given up reading. I didn’t. And what I found was an extremely narrow treatment of the material which ignored all kinds of implications of his own material. For example, he quotes a study where the expectation effect of an analgesic was greater than the the actual effect of the drug vs. a placebo. He wants to use that result to criticize Adams, but totally misses the point of his own data, which is that the mind may be quite capable of producing significant physiological results without the intervention of the actual drug. His data begs that question, …screams for it, and yet he doesn’t touch it. I’m sure that the researchers won’t touch it either, in spite of their own data pointing to the question, because it’s way outside their mental world view, …or perhaps because it doesn’t lead to any marketable and profitable product. A thorough analysis of the articles I read would be as long as they were themselves, but I have other things to do today. I’d love to go through one of them with you paragraph by paragraph.

    I don’t want to defend Adams. From what I’m seeing in both the Natural News and the Science Blog sites Adams has a tendency to exaggerate and oversimplify his stuff. Well, you can’t accuse the Science Blogs guy of oversimplifying, that’s for sure. But he is exaggerating, misdirecting and exposing himself as having the typical blind spots often seen in those rationalists who have a neurotic self interest in wearing blinders. This often leads to throwing the baby out with the bathwater when examining some stories. The Michigan Pig Farming story may be such a baby. My examination of all the information available strongly suggests that these farmers are the victims of, at least, government ignorance, and, at worst, a conspiracy by agribusiness to crush small farms. Honestly, is the last possibility that unlikely???

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