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From: TSS ()
Subject: CANADIANS RUNNING BUTCHER SHOP OUT OF GARAGE WHILE HOGS FEEDING ON DEAD CATTLE
Date: February 1, 2006 at 10:14 am PST

Farmer fined after hogs found feeding on dead cattle

Judy Monchuk
Canadian Press
Feb. 1, 2006 10:46 AM


CALGARY - An Alberta farmer was fined $2,300 Tuesday for allowing his hogs to feed on the rotting remains of dead cattle.

Rene Liboiron of Torrington, Alta., pleaded guilty Tuesday to the little-used charge under the Livestock Diseases Act.

"The legislation is very clear: if you've got a dead animal you're not supposed to feed it to something else that might end up in the food chain," prosecutor Robert O'Neill said outside provincial court.

Liboiron, 64, was charged after food safety officials received a complaint from the area's chief veterinarian last June.

"They went out and found three rotting cow carcasses in (Liboiron's) field and these hogs just chewing on these carcasses, scavaging and eating the dead cow," said O'Neill.

Tests on the dead cattle for bovine spongiform encephalopathy, the clinical name for mad cow disease, were negative. But O'Neill said it's a basic food safety issue.

"They're laying out in the field rotting away so whatever parasites and bacteria might be present in cattle that's decomposing would be there and could be transferred to the hogs," he said.

All of the Liboiron's hogs - some 70 to 100 animals - were later destroyed and none of the meat allowed to enter the human food chain.

"Alberta Pork Producers stepped forward and paid $18,000 to buy his entire herd so the pork industry wouldn't be impacted," said O'Neill, adding that the animals were slaughtered.

That move was important to retain public confidence in the pork industry.

"People would stop buying bacon, they'd stop buying pork chops," said O'Neill.

Alberta's cattle producers have lost billions of dollars worth of international exports in the mad cow crisis. BSE has been detected in five Alberta-born animals.

Outside court, Liboiron said he was not aware of any regulations governing what should be fed to his hogs until he was charged. He said other farmers are in the same situation and that he is being unfairly punished.

"I wasn't concerned at all because pigs do not catch BSE," said the 64-year-old farmer. "Furthermore, I did not feed the animals to the pigs. The pigs found the animals and ate one particular cow and a calf."

Hogs cannot contract the prion-borne, brain-wasting diseases such as BSE and scrapie, which effects sheep.

But O'Neill said it's hard to believe that anyone involved with livestock would not recognize this as a basic food safety issue.

Liboiron's fine came the same day as an elderly Calgary couple were fined more than $30,000 for illegally operating a butcher shop in their garage.



http://www.azcentral.com/offbeat/articles/0201pigs-cattle01-ON.html




TSS



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