Over the last few years, Manitoba Pork has been making increased efforts in doing municipal outreach and meeting with rural municipalities across the province.  

Last week, Manitoba Pork presented in front of La Broquerie council.

Grant Melnychuk says they have met with about 45 municipalities across the southern end of the province. 

Grant Melnychuk, Director of Sustainable Development, Research, and Data Management with Manitoba Pork.Grant Melnychuk, Director of Sustainable Development, Research, and Data Management with Manitoba Pork.

“The main goal is simply to provide councils and their administrators with a point of contact with our organization, and also provide a bit of a snapshot of the hog sector in Manitoba and answer any questions they might have about the sector.” 

Melnychuk says one of the key goals of these meetings is to raise awareness about the negative impacts of invasive wild pigs.

Last year, they launched their Squeal on Pigs Campaign to help spot, locate, and eradicate wild pigs in Manitoba.  

“We've been asking municipalities that we’ve been meeting with to help distribute promotional materials that we have, and to relay our contact information to residents who might contact them about wild pig sightings in the area.” 

Squeal on Pigs Campaign info.

He says wild pigs are very dangerous for several reasons.  

“They're an invasive species, they're capable of reproducing very rapidly, there's no natural predators for them, they destroy crops, pastures, golf courses, yards, you name it.” 

Melnychuk says they also endanger other species, as they eat waterfowl and small mammals. 

“They are also dangerous to people too. They're big, they're aggressive, they could charge at you.” 

He adds that on top of that, one of the big concerns for the hog sector is that wild hogs are a disease vector. 

“There's been cases where wild pigs have spread foreign animal diseases such as African Swine Fever that have decimated commercial pork industries in a number of countries in Europe and Asia. So we are trying to eradicate these things before they can do, worst case scenario, something similar in Canada or the United States.” 

Manitoba Pork represents all hog farms in Manitoba producing 8 million pigs annually. 

Each year, they contribute roughly $300,000 to $400,000 toward swine research focusing on key priority areas such as environmental sustainability and animal care. 

"The point is to continue to raise that bar with respect to ensuring that hog production is environmentally sustainable.” 

Melnychuk says studies have shown that the hog sector’s environmental footprint has decreased significantly in the past 50 years. 

“There's fewer emissions, there's less water being used, the land-based requirements have decreased. As well with respect to animal care, research focuses on ensuring that hogs are raised in the most safe and caring environment possible, and looking for best management practices that can both benefit our producers but also the animals that they're raising.”