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#5215: Pig irradication and repopulation project of the late 1970s and early 1980s
>From Bob Corbett:
The recent discussion and inquiry about the pig irradication and
repopulation project of the late 1970s and early 1980s brought back lots
of memories. I often have the sense that discussion on this list is often
talk about political stuff with less serious knowledge of the factual
issues OUTSIDE the political sphere, and I have always had this feeling
about the talk of pigs.
Back in 1989 I was still publishing the magazine STRETCH which some of
you old-timers will remember. It was a 40 page quarterly magazine on
Haiti which I published in hard copy before giving it up in 1994
in order to start this e-mail list to replace it. (Now I often send out
more than 40 pages of material A DAY!!).
There was a great deal of talk about the politics of the pig irradication
and repopulation program at this time in Haiti. But the talk was just
that: talk of politics by people who seemed to know a great deal about
politics, but whose talk often seemed dreadfully lacking in knowledge
My friend, Phillip Gaertner was living in Haiti then (he still lives there
today) and he was doing simple farming in a remote area of the southern
peninsula. I knew Phillip didn't give a hang about politics, but was very
interested in pigs, and quite a learned fellow. I wrote him about doing
an article for STRETCH on the pigs. Little did I realize what I was
getting myself in for. Letters started pouring in from Phillip requesting
me to xerox this or that article, these pages from such and such a book,
arrange an agreed upon phone discussion time with this or that scholar
(since Phillip had to journey to Okay to make a phone call) and on topics
which embarrased me to call people about since I couldn't even pronounce
all the words in Phillip's requests. I never worked so hard in my life
on a paper, and especially a paper which I didn't even write!!
Finally, after nearly a year, Phillip produced a 40 paged single spaced
tiny margins, tiny type paper. Even though my magazine was 40 pages, this
would have filled 4 of my magazines. I edited with
a heavy hand. I had gotten my technical treatment of pigs in spades and
notes and bibliography and all.
I MUST have that original somewhere in my papers, but I can't find it just
At anyrate, I had the paper scanned last week and just marked it up for my
web site. It is there for you to read. This is the EDITED version I
actually published, not the "dissertation" which I do hope still exists
somewhere in my files.
Phillip is a very non-political person, and one extremely interested in
farm animals of Haiti. Today he helps with a goat raising project in a
mountain village and takes care of animals for peasant groups.
His paper is non-political in the extreme, yet he takes a position so very
opposed to the standard wisdom of the political liberal position, but
again, one that in all I have ever read on it, never really talks about
the PIGS except for the most superficial and unevidenced claims.
Phillip details the lives of the pigs, the nature of the swine flu and on
and on. He argues that there was indeed a deep crisis with the pig
population of Haiti; that the irridacation program was essential and even
that the repopulation efforts were (even today) a success and that the
replaced pigs are in fact superior to the black Creole pig.
Below is Phillip's LONG paper (but this is the drastically shorted version
which I edited to the bare bones). If you prefer to read it on-line in a
nicer format it may be found at:
Be sure to note that the address ends in
htm and not in html
Whoops, sorry, the paper was so long it simply would not load up on
my e-mail. You'll have to go to the web to read it. Sorry.