Saturday, April 21, 2012

Martin Grenier & the ever-ridiculous world of pork production in this godforsaken world

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

 Man under livestock ban hires hog-barn manager
 By: Alexandra Paul

 A southern Manitoba farmer, under a lifelong ban from owning or caring for livestock, burst into tears Friday after being questioned about an ad with his name and phone number seeking a new hog-barn manager. Martin Grenier admitted he'd hired a hog manager, who'd answered the ad published in the weekly Treherne Times, the newspaper that serves Notre Dame de Lourdes and the RM of Lorne, where the operation is located. Grenier did not say if the barn was up and running, but he said it belonged to his father and is located in the same area where he lived. Last July, Grenier pleaded guilty to more than a dozen charges under the province's Animal Care Act for causing the deaths of more than 1,200 pigs in the summer of 2010.

 It remains the province's worst case of animal cruelty on record. The conviction, which involved a deal between Crown and defence lawyers for a near-maximum $60,000 fine, was more than twice the highest financial penalty ever handed out in Manitoba. Coverage of the case landed the man's operation on YouTube, with gruesome shots of pig carcasses after the barn was shut down, set against dramatic narration and funeral music.
 Then, this week, the advertisement appeared. Calls to the number on the ad were picked up by Grenier. He said the ad was successful and he'd hired a manager for the hog barn.
 The phone number on the ad is listed in his name in Notre Dame de Lourdes. Pressed for details, Grenier said Friday he'd run the ad for his father, Fred Grenier, and he said he did not know how big the operation was or how many hogs it contained. "I don't have any pigs," he said. He paused, adding "Where's this going?" Told the issue of his hiring a livestock manager for hogs raised questions given the lifetime ban he is under, he replied, "That's not good."

 His voice broke over the line and he could be heard stifling sobs before he abruptly hung up. A spokesman from the province said the province's chief veterinarian officer is looking into the matter.

 They want to make sure Grenier is complying with his court-ordered ban. "The province takes all matters involving animal care very seriously," the spokesman said in a statement Friday. The defence lawyer who represented Grenier in the livestock cruelty case did not return a call Friday. Grenier was arrested in the summer of 2010 following a police investigation into a hog barn he was operating with his wife near Notre Dame de Lourdes. Investigators discovered a horrific scene, court was told a year later.

 There were 225 dead pigs, 168 in severe distress that had to be euthanized and skull fragments and bones of 636 others that had been consumed by many of the 2,272 starving pigs that had survived at the site. Grenier said in court severe depression had left him unable to cope with his business. Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 21, 2012 A5

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