Later, over lunch, the 49-year-old Ma€™Garry illustrates the problem with a bizarre (and repellent) anecdote.
A A A  According to the report, a pig farmer named Raymond Rammeloo was fined $10,000 for the improper spreading of liquefied swine excrement, which found its way into a nearby well and from there into the unfortunate womana€™s shower. The governmenta€™s solution is the Nutrient Management Act, which sets out manure rules for farmers. After lunch, from the picture window of Ma€™Garrya€™s 25th floor office building in London (known to locals as a€?the Forest Citya€?) pastel fall trees can be seen glowing red, orange and gold in the afternoon sun. If a€?dolphin friendlya€? tuna was a hit with shoppers, why not a€?environmentally friendlya€? pork? On her desk is small glass pig a€” a gift from a client a€” and its amber tones match the autumnal tints outside. Whether shea€™s standing at a podium, or meeting a group of lawyers in a hotel lounge, she isna€™t afraid to use it.
One can easily imagine her as the sort of person who, on occasion, finds herself laughing through tears. As well as discussing legal strategies, she is compiling her research about the dire health risks and sharing it with the complainants.
The purpose is to reduce odors and keep water quality safe, says George Garland, an engineer and nutrient management expert with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food.
If youa€™d asked her 20 years ago if shea€™d ever be inclined to read such a publication, shea€™d have looked at you funny. After all, there are million of gallons of the stuff produced each year, and it has to go somewhere (such as on farmland where crops are grown), and by golly it is a fertilizer.
Her healthy sense of humour provides much-needed comic relief from the stressful and revolting subject matter that makes up such a large chunk of her practice. And shea€™s hoping to overcome the setback that occurred in one of her early cases,A Burns v.
And while they cana€™t eliminate risk a€” if that were societya€™s goal, the aviation industry would have to be shut down, as would the automotive industry, etc.


Indeed, there have been a number of cases where tax assessments have been reduced anywhere from 10 to 50 percent for properties that are within smelling distance of pig barns.
She has become something of a crusader in the pig world, and has fought long and hard a€” oftenA pro bonoA a€” with only limited success. And the fact that the province, following the lead of Alberta, has recently passed the Nutrient Management Act, which will supersede any municipal manure rules, means future litigation will take place on a new playing field. Manure is not liquefied but rather ita€™s mixed with straw and returned to the soil naturally, thereby avoiding environmental problems.
The same is true of many other areas in Canada, and the United States, and the entire world. The company says its methods produce little or no odor, help preserve water supplies, and sustain the land and community for future generations. At one point a a€?stinky land deala€? a€” the stench was from corruption, not manure a€” took her all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada, where she won. The farmer, out of self-interest, is going to put the thing as far away from his own house as possible. Or, at any rate, it has seen itself moving uncomfortably in that direction, so much so that it has created strict manure laws and bought out many of its farmers (who then emigrate to places like Ontario where, comparatively speaking, ita€™s a manure free-for-all). Theya€™re giant metal hangars filled-to-bursting with thousands of desperate pigs who never see the light of day. Their pig system is based on humane treatment of animals and environmentally friendly manure management that uses a patented composting technology. Researchers are even working on the genetically engineered a€?Enviropiga€? whose dung has less phosphorus. The animals just stand in one confined spot, and pretty much all they do is eat and defecate. The European Union is in the process of banning these battery-pig operations, on animal-welfare grounds. Starting with muscle cells from a€?animal donors,a€? he believes hea€™ll be able to grow lumps of meat a€” pork, beef, chicken, even kangaroo a€” weighing up to 50 kilos in large containers.


It was the Escherichia coli bacterium from cow manure that got into the drinking water supply of Walkerton, Ont. This is an interesting point when it comes to the issue of governmental water quality regulations.
And he doesna€™t think drinking water safety is the real issue, although the battleground has shifted there because ita€™s a such a hot button for the anti-pig barn camp to push. She cites numerous studies suggesting that this practice encourages the evolution of deadly, antibiotic-resistant a€?superbugsa€? in the world at large. Profit margins in the pig industry are already ridiculously thin, and adding extra costs might well drive operators out of business and thus threaten an industry that is worth an estimated $11.5 billion a year nationwide. For example, Ontarioa€™s brand new Safe Drinking Water Act, which is designed to prevent future Walkerton tragedies, sets out safeguards to make sure water treatment workers actuallyA treatA the water. Ita€™s an industry that has propelled Canada to first place among the worlda€™s pork exporters, an industry that has seen Canada become known internationally for its excellent export piglets.
Leta€™s take all that money and back it up, so we dona€™t have to treat the shit out of our water a€” if youa€™ll pardon my turn of phrase a€” in the first place. We can either spend an awful lot of money cleaning it up once wea€™ve polluted it, or we can stop polluting it. The culprit seems to be enigmatic Stan Koebel, the water-treatment guy who didna€™t treat the water.
When it tested positive for lethal contamination he lied and told everyone it was fine, and he himself continued to drink it. 14(1) provides that a€?despite any other provision of this Act or the regulations, no person shall discharge a contaminant or cause or permit the discharge of a contaminant into the natural environment that causes or is likely to cause an adverse effect,a€? the very next section, s. After all, the barn itself wona€™t contaminate the environment, even if subsequent manure disposal would do so.



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