Letters to the Editor

No one will stand up to blueberry industry

Re: Andrew Holota’s column, “Quiet in the fields.”

Thank you, thank you, thank you for your editorial about blueberry cannons.

After 10 years of repeatedly meeting with civic politicians, provincial MLAs,  various ministers of agriculture and the blueberry council, I’ve learned that not one of them has the balls to stand up to the blueberry industry and say “no more.”

It all about votes and money.

They shake your hand, tell you something must be done, they’ll look into it, the poor blueberry farmer, pat you on the head, nice to meet you, and send you on your way.

The ministry will pay for study after study which they blatantly ignore when it concludes cannons aren’t an effective bird deterrent.

Which they aren’t. After the initial couple of weeks of  cannons blasting, starlings very quickly get used to the noise and are back full force.

Since last year, blueberry farmers are supposed to only use cannons if they actually see, and record, flocks of birds present in their fields, not just set them up to blast all day long.

Some do, some don’t.  Your word against theirs as to whether the birds are there.

One farmer said, as his cannons were blasting, you couldn’t see the birds because they were all down in the bushes.  I was so busy trying to conceal my laughter and astonishment that I couldn’t ask why the birds were still in the bushes if the cannons were so effective.

My husband and I, and other farm neighbours, are continually amazed that it’s allowed for someone to set up a blueberry farm in an established farming community and just start blasting away.

At 120 decibels these are not just little pops.

As you said in your editorial, this kind of noise would not be tolerated in virtually any other setting.

This is definitely not a “normal farm practice”  like all other farming activities.

This is an  “intrusive, inconsiderate, drive-your-neighbour-crazy practice.”

C. Groves

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