Friday, January 4, 2013

Heritage Pig Farm Embargoed, USDA and DNR Close In

Heather Callaghan
Activist Post

"Our farm is basically embargoed. We can raise all the pigs we want, but can not move them out to our market. That cuts off cash flow, effectively starving the farm financially and the pigs practically." - Jill Baker

Bakers Green Acres made the news last spring as the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) went on a mission to eradicate heritage pigs, calling them a feral invasive species. This move would wipe out the entire small-scale farm whose animals pose no threat to typical hog species. New blockages from multiple government agencies are making it impossible to run the farm.

Mark and Jill Baker of Marion, Michigan decided to fight the Invasive Species Order but have not been allowed to have a hearing, and it's been a year. So, after feeding all the Russian boar and Mangalitsa pigs ($200-300 per day) to keep them alive while in limbo, they decided to take them to slaughter.  Isn't that what the State wanted - wouldn't that make them happy?

But when they went to take some to the USDA slaughterhouse, they were blocked right before Christmas by an issue from the USDA who is supporting the DNR move.

The MUST WATCH video below illustrates a dire situation that affects all of our food freedom. Many of us don't hear what goes on with victimized farmers after the initial news hits - makes one wonder if these court cases are dragged out on purpose. But Mark lets us know in his Situation Report with rousing, patriotic words about our food and farming rights. He aptly compares these government actions to, as Jill said:
the Soviet blockade of Berlin post-WWII. They attempted to gain control of the entire strategic city forcibly by controlling the food and fuel the people could have...

Here are some points to know about Baker's Green Acres' situation compiled from their blog:
  • These pigs needed to go to a USDA slaughter facility (unlike game hunting) and be certified healthy by an accredited veterinarian.
  • Once in the kill facility, they cannot be released back to the farm - if unacceptable, they get disposed or transferred to another USDA facility.
  • Michigan had recently rejected health paperwork for a fellow farmer and even threatened the license of the vet who certified the animals as healthy.
  • This facility had processed the Bakers' mangalitsas before, but now their name would be flagged because of the pending lawsuit.
  • As the Bakers suspected, the USDA inspector had photos and forms flagging the outlaw characteristics.
  • The Bakers wanted to avoid the possibility of the pigs being simply disposed of AND the family actually being charged a "disposal fee" as they would be deemed "feral."
  • Having them "tagged" on the kill floor would cost time, money and problems for both the Bakers and the plant.
  • The inspector wasn't unreasonable - he was practical and caught in the middle.
  • In both cases, the State is making our veterinarians the enforcers by threatening their license to practice if they break rank.
  • This isn't just a move from the rogue DNR (allegedly working in tandem with Michigan's corporate Pork Producers) - it involves agencies that deal with farms that raise animals for USDA slaughter like the Michigan Department of Agriculture (MDA) and USDA - but the DNR, that is supposed to oversee hunting preserves, public parks, and hunting operations has manipulated farm processing facilities, blurring the lines of authority significantly.
  • "Our farm is basically embargoed. We can raise all the pigs we want, but can not move them out to our market. That cuts off cash flow, effectively starving the farm financially and the pigs practically." Jill Baker
In the Situation Report, Mark thought that just maybe the pigs could make it until spring and have a hearing, but according to their Facebook page, they asked for volunteers to help butcher some sows on their property and gave away the meat to those in need.

You can still petition Governor Snyder here, but as Mark states in this short film: "dollars and cents are the real bullets" of this war in the right to access and farm the foods of our choice. And, state politicians can easily ignore pleas in reverence to state agencies. Time is running out as government agencies and corporate influence close in on small fresh farms, unbeknownst to a vast sleeping public.

From Jill:
We, the citizens of this country must stand up and stand together. The purposes of this government are in defiance of the people’s expressed will. This administration seems to go that way more often than not (reference the Canada to Detroit bridge issue and the handling of the 'right to work' legislation). This has all sparked a lot of discussion about what to do with the pigs, examination of any possible options, and several sleepless nights for the feeder of the pigs. Not exactly 'holiday spirit' stuff.
More details on the pending case:

Donate to help save the pigs and the family farm:

Read other articles by Heather Callaghan Here


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PJ London said...

"A feral organism is one that has changed from being domesticated to being wild or untamed. "
(Surely this is an apt description of the [USA - UK] politicians)
"As with any introduced species, the introduction of feral animals or plants to non-native regions may disrupt ecosystems and has, in some cases, contributed to extinction of indigenous species. "
(Yep, we, the ethical, moral members of the species, are likely to become extinct.)
Get rid of all Feral species, there is no need to use "humane" methods.

Anonymous said...

to pj london you are uninformed we need to keep the old lines of dna of these pigs

Anonymous said...

NYS has similar "invasive species" policies in the working. not sure what the status is, but i do know feral hogs and goats are on the list. I do know in cases of actual feral animals there are plenty of hunters willing to take care of these problem animals who detroy crops (no more than legal wild deer mind you) and share the meat with the property owners. (postings all the time on craigslist) But that being said- beware to NY farmers. although the policies may seem benign- what is being played out in MI is a sure sign as to what NYers will be faced with. Be prepared to stand for your rights to raise endangered healthy heritage breed animals. Don't roll over as too many michigan farmers did, which is what leaves these folks fighting an uphill battle alone.

Anonymous said...

there is a market for you animals. contact aajonus vonderplanitz.

Anonymous said...

The hog in that picture looks nothing like the pictures of feral hogs all over the internet. You know you can sue the shorts off of public servants who bend the meaning of the laws to profit themselves or their friends.

I often wonder how long they can keep a person locked up for beating the dog sxxt out of some of these public servants. Hope they never catch the guy who finally does it.

Anonymous said...

You are also up against GMO's who just got their first grants towards work with pigs. When Big Aggie is involves genetic diversity is a no-no. They would patent the air we breathe if they could.

Anonymous said...

Frankenfish are what I call invasive

Anonymous said...

Jumpin JEsus, it's MEAT! They're willing to throw away meat just to keep it off of people's plates because it's of an older bloodline?! The DNR is just fucked up, man. We eat all sorts of invasive species down here in Florida. Yeah, we bitch about em' but we sure do like eating them. lol

Anonymous said...

In Cuba you can buy a pig off your neighbor and keep it in your yard to eat garbage until you decide to eat him, or sell him or trade parts of his meat for other kinds of food. Whatever.

Cubans don't have to endure any of this American Gestapo shit. But then again, Cuba is a free country where food and farming are they should be.

jerry saylor said...

WTF do they consider GMOs to be .... bastards they are

PJ London said...

To Anonymous 1:14
OK, here is the Noddy version.
The politicians have gone Feral (wild and uncontrolled).
They will make indigenous people (ethical and moral) extinct.
We need to get rid of them.
In future, I will not use sarcasm, metaphors or analogies as they are too complicated for you.

Anonymous said...

I know that times are tough now, with all the tyranny and stuff. But just wait. Soon the good ole USA will start some shit with some country somewhere that they can’t handle. This country will have had enough of our governments crap and unlike us they will do something about it. They will hit us with an EMP nuke, dead center over the middle of the USA, and we will be transported via the time tunnel back to the 1800’s. It will be years before we see electricity or telecommunications again, if ever. Within a month people would just love to try a tasty Russian Boar sandwich. Within a year they would settle for Rat tartar. And if some DNR agent says “You can’t eat that pork its illegal!” Well, guess what is probably going to happen to that nice Mr. DNR officer.

steadcore said...

What a sham. I wish I could help with some money. I would love to raise chickens in my city and he is right. There should be chickens and pigs everywhere just to shut these nazi's up.

Anonymous said...

its still pork under that hide, this is messed up

John Proestakes said...

it's crazy that you cant even slaughter these animals..

GregB said...

If you follow the DNRs line of thinking far enough then all non-native humans should be banned.

Anonymous said...

I don't get it. Are any farm pigs actually natural to North America? Shouldn't all farm pigs be considered invasive species? As well as cows, chickens, and humans?

Anonymous said...

The farmer should start an "adopt-a-pig" program, and get people who wish to save these pigs and support their legal battle to pay for the pig feed. Maybe you could get a picture of your adopted pig? I will gladly pay for the feed of one of those pigs until this is resolved. Maybe to program will create additional publicity. Maybe you could get some famous hollywood star to adopt one and publish a picture of herself with it. Maybe you could build awareness for this on Care2, where there are a lot of animal loving activists.

Stacy Martin said...

As a fellow farmer, this is disgusting to me. Mark we wlll spread the word. You are a strong man and I know you will not give up. Wait them out and get your day in court.

Anonymous said...

I raise sheep and I have been fighting the powers to be since 2005,because they are trying to shut me down.Ive been to court every year and the jury finds me not much for double jeperdy.If you use thier way of thinking the president is a feral species.

nightskyfarm said...

Sell pig shares on subscription basis. Folks buy live pigs and contract the farmer to raise and a separate contract to slaughter and process, no USDA. I do this on my farm. I do contract an inspected, custom butcher to cut up, wrap and freeze to my shareholer's specifications. The meat is awesome because the pigs are not stressed being slaughtered on farm.

Anonymous said...

What's next? Heritage breed turkeys because they 'might" have a feral turkey trait?Obviously the USDA does not understand the concept of Heritage breeds. Many of the older breeds of pigs, poultry, sheep, cattle, horses are dying out and it's small farmers like this man that is trying to keep these breeds from becoming extinct. The EPA spends a lot of taxpayer's money to preserve 'endangered' species in the wild, but there seems to be a war on the small farmer that tries to preserve our domestic breeds. Many of these heritage breeds are down to a few hundred or thousand breeding pairs and it is the small family farmer or the backyard hobby farmer that is making the effort to keep these breeds going. What wew have her is an absolute4 abuse of power.

Anonymous said...

It is actually the small independent farmer they wish to eradicate. Perhaps we have become 'feral' by not marching to their tune.

Anonymous said...

Okay, people. I've been following this for the past couple of years now. Let me ask everyone this: What Is Being Done About it? Are the Baker's taking the Michigan DNR to court over this? If so, what court? If USDA is also involved, then it may be wise to prove a State/Federal Conspiracy (even if only Circumstancial Evidence) and have the courts look at that angle.

One thing that seems to me to be at issue: Fences. If a free-range-pig farm has properly installed fences where the animals can't get out--and is properly inspected--then the animals contained within that fenced-in area, it seems to me, *MUST BE CONSIDERED LIVESTOCK AND NOT FERAL*.

I think that a good does of Common Sense needs to be injected into the Michigan Legislature, with a Rather Large Lawsuit form more independent farmers and other agricultural centers.

Everyone doesn't live in the Detroit metroplex or Grand Rapids, after all!

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