Ontario wild boar ban makes no sense: farmer
Fred de Martines runs one of Ontario’s largest and longest running wild boar farms. The Perth County, Ont. farmer has spent nearly 30 years selling his rare meat to butcher shops and restaurants in the Greater Toronto Area, but that will all come to an end in two years' time.
“I don’t want it to come to an end, but the government of Ontario has decided that in order to fight the wild pigs that are out there, we have to get rid of all the responsible wild boar farmers in the province first. It makes no sense,” he says, while looking over his herd of 150 wild boars.
This October, the provincial government announced the ban on raising wild boars, in response to sightings of wild pigs in parts of the province.
Officials think the wild boars are escaping from farms and multiplying once back out in nature. A pack of 10 or more wild boars were recently spotted near Pickering, rooting up people’s lawns and fields.
“They also spread diseases, so they carry a number of pathogens and they can spread this to other livestock, native wildlife and in some cases, even humans,” says Erin Keon, a research scientist with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.
De Martines says he doesn’t want wild boars roaming the province either, but his family farm, Perth Pork Products, is not to blame.
“We’ve had the odd one get out, but we solve that problem, right away. There are no animals out there in the wild that came from this farm. The ministry has a map of wild boar sightings in the province. You can draw a wide circle around Perth Pork Products farm and will not see any sightings because we are not part of the problem."
Because there are so few few wild boar producers in Ontario, fewer than 10 says de Martines, producers have very little clout to try and change the government’s mind.
The province is offering $200 compensation per wild boar, but de Martines says that doesn’t come close to covering his cost of production.
He’s beyond frustrated that a business he’s spent half his life building will come to a conclusion at the end of 2023.
“We are producing a legal product, in a legal and responsible way, and all of a sudden it’s made illegal. And not because of us, we haven’t done anything wrong. It’s beyond frustrating,” he says.
De Martines says in Quebec and Manitoba, they allow people to hunt the wild boars. Instead of shutting down his business, that’s an approach he’d like to see implemented in Ontario.