Québec takes action on pig farming to protect water supplies
The Canadian province has limited production in 165 municipalities following public consultation over worries about water quality.
The announcement by Québec’s Environment Minister André Boisclair and Agriculture Minister Maxime Arseneau has special significance in a province which is one of the world’s top pork producers, but where a rapid increase in facilities in the mid-90’s has led to protests over river quality and smells.
Under the new rule, 165 municipalities considered ‘at risk’ because of being unable to cope with the level of animal waste produced will be subject to strict controls. The communities are situated in three regions, Chaudière-Appalaches, Lanaudière and Montérégie, which are situated near seven important river basins. All existing pig farmers who want to increase their livestock must spread all effluent over their own land. Those wanting to set up business in the affected areas must treat all waste elsewhere, turning it into fertiliser pellets or manure.
“I am serious when I say that I mean to protect our water quality,” Boisclair commented. I have listened to and followed the advice of public health specialists, mayors and environmental groups. It is essential to apply the severest measures as much as in the interests of health as in encouraging sustainable development.”