A new roadmap for the future of Manitoba’s pork industry will include major and possibly expensive changes as the Canadian province promises to eliminate sow gestation stalls within the next 15 years.

“Manitoba Pork commits to encouraging producers to phase out by 2025 the style of dry sow stalls currently used. New forms of housing must be practical and provide protection to animals and humans alike,” states a document called Embracing a Sustainable Future.

That is just one of 82 commitments in a strategy aimed at making Manitoba’s 700 hog farmers more sustainable. Besides ecologically stable farming practices, the plan also commits producers to new practices on animal care, odor control, food safety and public awareness.

But the move to gradually eliminate the use of sow stalls poses the biggest financial burden on producers.

Manitoba Pork Council Chairman Karl Kynoch did not specify how producers will pay for the changes, and how they will be enforced, but stressed that producers have no choice but to make them because of public opinion.

“We compete in a world market. Some of these things in here that consumers are demanding, we have to find a way that we can meet these and still stay competitive,” Knoch said in an earlier new conference called to announce launch of the strategy.

“You make a choice at the end of the day. You have to meet a lot of this stuff or you won’t survive,” he said.

Winnipeg Humane Society CEO Bill McDonald called the pork council’s sow stall announcement a “watershed moment, in our mind.”