Wednesday, October 7, 2015

TPP, Agricultural Jobs, & Cellular Farming

Will Trans-Pacific Partnership trade treaty reverse the steady drop in Canada's jobs within the Agricultural sector?  Will TPP provide Canadians with food sovereignty and food security?

I have been a firm philosophical supporter of Free Trade for more than 40 years.  Today, I question the wisdom of that support.  Was I previously duped by the Free Trade propaganda?

In a Nov. 1994 interview of Sir James Goldsmith (1933 - 1997) about his book The Trap, Charlie Rose also interviews Laura d'Andrea Tyson (1947 -   ), the Chairperson of US President's Council of Economic Advisers during the Clinton Administration.  Goldsmith argues that GATT (General Agreement on Tariff & Trade), serves the false god of economic indexes such as GDP, and serves the interests of the 0.1%'ers and corporations, all of which are against what is good for society overall and its people, that this dysfunctional policy will help destroy and accelerate the destruction of Western civilization and its people.

Goldsmith also briefly discusses the error and false economy of intensive agriculture that will displace millions of people around the world, and create huge indirect costs that far exceed the savings created by the search for more food production and cheaper food.

The video is well worth the hour of your time to watch and remember.  It is also a chilling reminder of the risks we now take with TPP.

There is no doubt that the huge multi-national corporations are huge winners under Free Trade.  Free Trade seems to have widened the prosperity gap between the 0.1%'ers and the rest of the people.  I see no reason to assume that TPP will do any different than the previous free trade agreements.  Because TPP involves countries with 40% of the world's GDP, TPP will likely accelerate and magnify the previous effects from 1988 Free Trade Agreement ("FTA") and the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement ("NAFTA").

We still don't have access to the secret TPP agreement, but WikiLeaks offers a draft version of TPP's chapter on Intellectual Property and the Salt Lake summary of negotiations in 2013. The trade deal is composed of a 1,500 page TPP text, plus a number of bilateral letters between 2 or more countries on various aspects of the deal, and side deals in addition or clarification of the main deal.  Trade Minister Ed Fast said the main text is being translated now, and will be released to the public in the next few days.

To better understand TPP, we need to look back at the effects achieved by the FTA and NAFTA.

Canada's Agricultural Jobs

In 1971, there were about 165,367 dairy farms, but by 2011 the dairy farms had dropped to 14,883 farms; a 91% loss of Canada's dairy farms that have closed.  That's a loss of 150,484 dairy farms.

The number of chicken farms has dropped from 176,818 in 1966 to 20,645 in 2011; 156,173 farms disappeared, an 88% drop.

That's a total loss of 306,657 farms for dairy and chicken during the reign of Supply Management ("SM").  It is hard to understand how SM claims to protect the family farm.  Just how stupid do they think we are to blindly believe their SM propaganda?

Beyond SM, between 1988 and Aug. 2015, Statistics Canada reports a loss of 340,658 jobs in Canada's agricultural sector.  That's a 36.67% loss of the jobs that existed in 1987.

If we assume just 1 farmer working on each of these lost dairy and chicken farms that become unemployed after their farm closed (an unrealistic, but simple assumption to make my point), that lost chicken & dairy farms represent 90% of the agricultural job losses.
Figure 1:  Loss of Agricultural Jobs in Canada.  Can the losses of dairy and chicken farms
explain 90% of these job losses?  Why didn't Supply Management save these family farms?

I regularly see pickles from India on the shelves of my local grocery store.  Canadian packing plants for pickles and other agriculture vegetables have been closed.  Are Canadian cucumbers being pickled elsewhere and being placed on grocery store shelves in India?  I doubt it.

Malthusian Catastrophe was described in 1770's as when a nation outgrew its food supply.  Food sovereignty and security has been argued and legislated by governments since the Corn Laws in the 1800's in England.

Scientists have used tree rings in California to study the current drought, as the rings form by the wet & dry seasons that occur every year.  They learned that the current California drought is the worst drought in the last 1,200 years.  California produces about 90% of the fruits and vegetables consumed by Canadians.  California also supplies about 90% of the USA's fruits and vegetables.  California has taken more than 400,000 acres out of food production (or crops are threatened by) due to a lack of available water.  Does this sound like a reliable source of fruits & vegetables for Canadians?  If there is a shortage of fruits & vegetables grown by California, will the few remaining truckloads that are still available come first & foremost to Canada, or stay in the US?  Food security for Canadians is not enhanced nor guaranteed by TPP.

During the Irish Famine (1845 - 1852) absentee Irish landlords and English merchants continued to harvest and ship locally produced crops out of Ireland to feed Europe and England while the Irish starved to death.  If those crops had stayed inside Ireland to feed the local citizens, the Irish Famine would never have occurred.  All of Europe suffered the potato blight, but only Ireland suffered the famine due to the raping of Ireland for the benefit of the 0.1%'ers.  Will the multi-national corporations of today use TPP to maximize their profits in spite of the impact on Canadians?

The Free Trade Act was signed and started implementation between Canada and USA in January 1988. Mexico was added in 1994, creating NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) for Canada, USA, and Mexico.  Have these free trade agreements made the Ag. job loss better or worse?

What will the TPP free trade agreement do for Canadian agriculture?

The government says TPP will be great for Canadian agriculture.  Why then were they so quick to announce a $4.365 Billion aid package for Supply Management ("SM") farmers?  Obviously the government thinks it's going to be a negative effect.  Will the benefits gained under TPP by Canada's grain, beef, pork, and other farmers fully offset the negative effect from Free Trade?

It's hard to know for sure.  Lets look at some more data that might help.

Canada's Manufacturing Sector

Figure 2:   Canadian Manufacturing jobs in Canada,
a 16.35% loss since the 1988 Free Trade Agreement.

FTA came into effect in Jan. 1988.  Within a year of FTA starting, 200,000 Canadian manufacturing jobs had been lost, hitting a local minimum in 1993; most likely explained by the closing of US branch plants inside Canada that had previously been justified as a solution to avoid high import duties into Canada.

Within 5 years under FTA, the engine of Canada's manufacturing sector was revved up and gaining traction from the FTA opportunity.  We hit a new maximum in 2004 for manufacturing jobs, but jobs have been on a downhill slide until 2009.  In 2009, we entered into a flat plateau going nowhere.

Can this manufacturing job data be explained by a Fortress USA being formed in 2001 due to 9/11, which caused US customers to buy American?  Did this Fortress America effect destroy the FTA & NAFTA benefits previously enjoyed by Canadian manufacturers, and that Fortress America effect started hitting Canadian manufacturing in 2004 to 2009?

The US economy crashed in 2007 from the corruption and financial excesses on Wall Street.  Canada's banks suffered similar problems, but were rescued by the Federal government, and the general economy sailed through until 2009.  Eventually in 2009, Canadian manufacturing was significantly affected as the Great Financial Crisis affected more and more businesses and consumers in the US and around the world.  Orders for Canadian goods have dropped or flatlined ever since.

Overall, Canada's manufacturing has suffered a 16.35% job loss between Jan. 1988 and Aug. 2015, which is an average loss of 0.62%/yr., halfing and re-halfing the Canadian manufacturing jobs every 113 years.  A very slow & steady decline.  Is this the net effect of FTA and NAFTA, in spite of the glowing propaganda of the Canadian governments and their big corporate friends?

Will we soon get even more of the same medicine from TPP?

Have we not yet learned from all of this history?

Cellular Farming

I suggest "Cellular Farming" is the solution, and avoids the "bet the farm" risky bet on global, multi-national free trade agreements for critical food supplies.

Let's look at the analogy of cellular radio systems.  It is theoretically possible to build one huge radio transmitter that will cover all of Canada.  However, you must build a huge radio tower and a huge transmitter that transmits at millions of watts radiated power.  Those who live next to that transmitter will have sparks jumping from farm fences due to the huge power levels.  Those living at the outer edges of Canada will have a weak static-filled signal that can be barely heard.

Instead of this, amateur radio operators with their repeaters, CBC Radio, and our cellular phone system have developed the concept of cellular communications; hundreds to thousands of local towers that broadcast at small power levels in the local vicinity.  This allows the re-use of frequencies so that the limited radio spectrum is used efficiently without jamming the signals from two nearby towers both transmitting on the same frequency.

Figure 3:  One bad cell tower does not disable
the entire system.  Cell service in the zone of
the bad cell tower is somewhat covered by the
6 other cell towers that surround the bad tower.
If a cellular phone system has a bad tower, that bad tower can be easily bypassed and cell service continues through all the good towers that surround the bad tower.

Assuming that a global multi-national doesn't get involved, a corner variety store is too small and too local to become a dangerous force that acts against the best interest of its neighbourhood customers.

For the same reason, assuming no multi-national monopolists get involved, small local farms such as Small Flockers will never be a threat to its customers, and can well serve the needs of their neighbours for safe, nutritious, affordable, locally produced food.

If one neighbourhood farmer dies, goes bankrupt, or becomes corrupt, negligent, or incompetent, that farmer's customers can soon be affected by this tragedy.  However, the 6 cellular farmers in the immediately adjacent cells surrounding the bad farmer can quickly pick up the slack created by the bad farmer, requiring the 6 surrounding farmers to increase their production by 16.7%.  If the 12 cellular farmers in the next ring out from the bad farmer help out, that's a total of 18 cellular farmers to cover for the bad farmer (6 in the first ring, 12 in the second ring, for a total of 18), so these 18 cellular farmers would have to increase their production by 5.6% on average to totally replace the output of the bad farmer.  The bad farmer will eventually disappear and will soon be replaced by an excellent cellular farmer, provided special interest groups have not constructed huge, impossible barriers to entry (ie. there is a free, local market).

For this reason, I suggest that cellular farming is better, safer, and more responsive than farmers aligned or controlled by SM or multi-national corporations.

Cellular farming is defined as a small, local farmer who supplies their immediate community or neighbourhood for 1 or more foods (eg. chicken, eggs, vegetables, etc.) for all or part of their customer's annual or seasonal consumption.  This could be a small flock poultry farmer, beef farmer, vegetable or market gardener, etc.  They could do this on a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), roadside stand, farm gate sales, Farmer's Market, custom contract growing, spot market (ie. telephone call "Do you have some carrots for sale? ... Yes? That's great, I'll be right over...") or similar methods.

Huge regional farms that are aligned, controlled, or influenced by multi-national Big Ag. corporations, or Supply Management systems are too risky, too expensive, and less responsive to the consumers' needs.  We saw that risk first hand in 2012 when 1/3 of the beef slaughter capacity in Canada was suddenly lost due to contaminated meat shipped by XL Foods in Alberta that poisoned 10 people.  It nearly destroyed the Canadian beef industry.

Cellular farming and cellular processing avoids the need to "bet the farm" on huge free trade deals for agricultural products.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

World's Best Lobbyists

The Trans Pacific Partnership ("TPP") trade deal has been finalized.  Canada's Supply Management ("SM") System for dairy, chicken, turkey, and eggs has dodged the bullet again.

The TPP deal will cover trade with Australia, Brunei, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam, and USA; all of which generate 40% of the world's GDP, and have 800 Million consumers (11.4% of the world's population).

Under TPP, Canada's SM industry will give up 3.25% of the Canadian dairy market to additional imports, 2.3% for eggs, 2.1% for chicken, 2.0% for turkey, and 1.5% for hatching eggs.  Truly trivial.

Canada's entire economy is just 3% of the world's economy, so these SM trade shifts disappear as a rounding error.

The government also negotiated the CETA trade agreement with Europe.

The EU says:
"The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) is a freshly negotiated EU-Canada treaty. Once applied, it will offer EU firms more and better business opportunities in Canada and support jobs in Europe."
CETA "removes 99% of customs duties & many other obstacles for business"
The EU Summary says:

Canada will eliminate duties for 90.9% of all its agricultural tariff lines upon entry into force of CETA.  After 7 years, the tariffs for 91.7% of agricultural lines will be eliminated.  The remainder are sensitive products, which will either be offered as a TRQ (dairy) or excluded altogether from liberalisation commitments (chicken and turkey meat, eggs and egg products). The Canadian offer on processed agricultural products (PAPs) -for example wines and spirits, soft drinks, confectionery, cereals-based  products like pasta or biscuits, fruit and vegetable preparations is of particular relevance because PAPs are among the main export interests of the EU and further market opening was one of the main EU negotiating objectives.  With all but a very limited number of the Canadian tariff lines for PAPs now to be liberalised, the EU PAPs industry is expected to gain considerably from CETA.
So what about the remaining 1% of goods that will still have custom duties & other obstacles?  My guess is this refers to the SM products of dairy, chicken, turkey, and eggs.  So close to 100% free trade, but SM wins again.

SM gave up virtually nothing for both of these trade deals, but did they get anything in return for this small concession?

Oh, YES!

The Federal Government had a solution for the SM beneficiaries even before they had a TPP deal.  As soon as the TPP deal was announced, the SM benefit package was announced, even though we are supposed to be in a "caretaker" mode due to the Federal election.  Canada's SM compensation package fully protects SM beneficiaries from any impact from both the TPP and CETA deal.

SM gets the following generous gifts from Canada:
  • $2.4 Billion to 100% protect SM farm income for the next 10 years of TPP coming into effect, and partially compensate for the following 5 years, for a total of 15 years of protection.
  • $1.5 Billion to protect the value of SM farmer's quota (the same quota that was given to SM farmers for free)
  • $450 Million for upgrading SM processing plants
  • $15 Million market development fund to develop export markets for SM goods
That's a total of $4.365 Billion to be shared by 17,000 SM farmers, so we calculate an average gift of $257,000 per SM farmer.  SM farmers are just 8% of all Canadian farmers, and 0.05% of Canadian citizens.  In spite of that, they now have guaranteed income and guaranteed investments for the next 15 years.

How many other Canadians have similar guarantees in their jobs or businesses?

The details of these two deals are yet to be released.  Some will be winners, while others will struggle under an increased burden.  Many feel (me included) that these deals will be especially beneficial for the multi-national corporations who have little or no allegiance to Canada or Canadians.  For example, starting from the signing of the Free Trade Agreement in Jan. 1988, then NAFTA in 1994, up until Aug. 2015, Canada's manufacturing sector has lost 503,000 jobs, a 25% loss in this important sector of our economy.  In our agriculture sector for the same time period, Canada has lost 340,658 jobs, which is  36.7% of all the jobs in this important sector of our economy.

My complements to SM's Mafia Dons for finding and hiring the world's best lobbyists to protect their interest by whispering in the ear of all politicians and bureaucrats.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Backyard Chicken Hearing for Minto Ontario

Connie is hoping to save her 3 chickens from the municipal bureaucratic steamroller.  The public input meet was held on Tuesday Sept. 15th 2015 in Clifford ON, and now we wait for Council's decision.

We previously described Connie's struggle to have a fresh, healthy supply of chicken eggs for her family, and SFPFC's attempt to help her efforts (see Backyard Eggs for Minto and Backyard Chickens for Canadian Municipalities ).

Connie reported that more than 40 people attended the public meeting.  People attended from as far away as Kincardine, Owen Sound, and Brantford.  Most people were there to observe the proceedings, and didn't reveal their leanings, neither pro nor con.

One lady did speak against the proposal for legal backyard chicken for Minto.  This contrarian lady lives in another community within the Minto municipality limits, but is not anywhere near Connie.  This lady explained that she objects to backyard chickens as she doesn't want to be sitting in her backyard and be overwhelmed by chickens in a neighbour's yard.  She fears she will be bombarded by chicken manure flying over the shared fence, landing into her yard, offensive odors, screaming rooster calls, the continuous cackle from a multitude of chickens, or the health risk and nuisance from chicken predators.

If those fears were realistic, I don't know many people who would welcome chickens in neighbour's yards; all problems, with no benefits.  However, what needs to be decided is whether these fears are realistic.  Assuming a 5 ft. high fence separates the neighbours, it is hard to imagine how chicken manure would come flying over the fence into a neighbour's yard.

Is she assuming that her neighbour will be using a chicken manure catapult to get rid of this valuable fertilizer?  Is this of any greater risk or hazard of a neighbour tossing all the rotting windfall fruit that fell from a neighbour's fruit tree? Why does one risk need a By-law but the other does not?

What about the noise from a flock of chickens?  Surely there is a different between a neighbour's fruit tree vs. a flock of chickens?

I have 100 layers in a coop located a dozen or so yards from my house. Assuming that the chickens aren't screaming for their life as they are chased by a fox or other predator, I find it difficult to imagine how the usual flock noise from would be offensive to a neighbour who would likely be 50 ft. away, or more.

Urban, at night sound levels are typically 12 to 52 dB.  Chickens are typically locked up inside their coop at night so as to protect them from from predators.  Add to this the chickens are typically sleeping at night.  These important factors would tend to significantly reduce any noise produced during the nightly quiet time.

Table 1:  Chicken Noise
Vs. Flock Size
If we assume that 1 chicken produced 30 dB of noise, what will the total noise level be for a flock of varying sizes?

Noise does not have a linear additive effect.  Sound power levels are logarithmic.

Engineering Toolbox provides a handy calculator for adding the noise from similar sound sources, from which we get Table 1 on the right.

Connie currently has 3 chickens.  The By-law may be considering a maximum of  5 backyard chickens.  According to this analysis, 5 chickens would be just 23% louder (37 dB vs. 30 dB) than a single chicken.

Even at a flock size of 100 birds, we would have a noise level of 50 dB, which is 67% louder than just 1 chicken.  A flock of chickens of 100 birds, the maximum non-quota flock permitted in Ontario, would be just 50 dB, which would be in the typical range of urban nighttime noise levels (12 to 52 dB).

Therefore any reasonable size flock should not overwhelm other urban noises that might disturb neighbours.

Hopefully Minto Council can see the difference from unreal fears and reality.

A second issue raised was the risk of Bird Flu (ie. HPAI:   Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza), supported by the local Public Health Unit.  It is unfortunate that the Health Unit raised the question, but failed to provide an answer to their question for Minto Council.

I have previously examined the risk of Bird Flu (see Blog Postings:
CAFO chicken factories tend to be associated with 85% of all outbreaks of Bird Flu, while small flocks have about 15% of all Bird Flu outbreaks.  This ratio is true in spite of small flocks being the vast majority of all flocks.  Based on a rough risk analysis I performed, CAFO chicken factories are 77 times riskier than a backyard flock for Bird Flu.  That risk cloud continues for 20 miles or more downwind of a CAFO chicken factory as the huge exhaust fans spew chicken dust, feathers, manure, and infectious bacteria & viruses downwind to unsuspecting victims.

If the Public Health Unit isn't banning CAFO chicken factories for this reason, then they shouldn't be raising Bird Flu as an objection for 3 backyard chickens.  That is clearly scare mongering and a red herring by the Public Health Unit.

Now, Connie has to wait a week to get Minto Council's answer on her flock of 3 chickens.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Chicken Slaughter Plant Allegations of Animal Abuse

Undercover investigators for animal welfare have published another video on conditions inside the Carthage Texas USA slaughter plant of Tyson, taken during the Summer of 2015.

Tyson Foods is one of the world's largest processors and marketers of chicken, beef and pork.

Fox BusinessNews investigated the video and allegations made by the Animal Legal Defense Fund, and reported as follows:

In an email to, Tyson Foods says they’re still reviewing the video but want consumers to know that they are committed to proper animal handling and workplace safety.

“Everyone who works with live animals in our plants – including the person who secretly shot this video – is trained in proper animal handling and instructed to report anything they believe is inappropriate. They can report to their supervisor, the Tyson Foods compliance and ethics hotline and even one of the USDA inspectors who have access to all parts of the plant, including live animal handling areas. During the timeframe we believe this video was shot, we have no record of any employees reporting claims of animal handling violations,” the company said via email to

Tyson says in addition to training, they regularly conduct internal animal handling audits and they’re also subjected to third party audits as well.

“The USDA has authority over production rates. We operate our plants – including the one in Carthage, Texas – well within the limits set by the USDA. The safety of our Team Members is very important to us,” the company adds.

In an e-mail to, the USDA gave the following statement.

"We are looking into the allegations of humane handling abuse at the Texas facility. FSIS (Food Safety and Inspection Service) is dedicated to ensuring that all animals presented for slaughter at FSIS-inspected facilities are treated humanely."
Mother Jones and Food Safety News provide additional information on these allegations.

Tyson is usually seen as a leader in the US chicken industry by the USDA, consumers, and Tyson's peers.

The equipment, chemicals, methods, and training used by Tyson are likely the same or similar to the ones currently used in Canadian slaughter plants, or the Canadian plants would like to upgrade their "inferior and antequated" chicken slaughter plants so they are more like Tyson and its leading competitors.

Until undercover documentation of Canadian chicken slaughter plants occurs, we really don't know for sure what is occurring.  Alternatively, we can wait for Canada's chicken slaughter plants to be fully open, transparent, co-operative, and responsible to consumers.  That may take a while under the top secret Supply Management system of Canada.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Backyard Chickens for Canada's Municipalities

Connie Murray's 3 backyard chickens are threatened by the powerful Municipality of Minto (see Blog "Backyard Eggs for Minto").

This scene has repeated itself all across Canada.  Fortunately, some enlightened Municipalities have allowed backyard chickens to exist again, as they have for the last 350 years in Canada.

Gord Hume, former Mayor of London ON said in his book 10 Trends For Smarter Communities

"Municipalities have this tsunami of change coming at them, yet we have Councillors fretting about chickens in backyards."

Today, we present a draft Municipal By-law that Connie and all others can use to help their Municipality to also see the light.

SFPFC's Draft Municipal By-law for Backyard Chickens (MS Word Version)

SFPFC's Draft Municipal By-law for Backyard Chickens (Adobe Acrobat pdf Version)

I have also sent a link for this Blog posting to Municipal World, a magazine and reference source for all Canadian municipalities, including providing most municipalities with draft By-laws.

Hopefully Municipal World will help you and your Municipality to better understand the terrible squeeze that Canadians suffer for safe, nutritious, sustainable, self-enabling, & affordable food.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Worst Case Scenario for CFO's Artisanal Chicken

In the game of chess, each player gets 8 pawns to play with.  While they have limited powers individually, when worked in unison, they can be powerful.  Unfortunately for pawns, they are usually sacrificed at the convenience of the player.  Does CFO plan to use, abuse, then sacrifice Artisanal Chicken growers, similar to the lowly, yet loyal pawn?

In previous postings (see 3000 chickens for Ontario's Small Flockers, Caveat Emptor of Artisanal Chicken, and CFO's Artisanal Chicken: Conflict of Interest, Question the Artisanal Chicken Program of CFO) we'd discussed CFO's new Artisanal Chicken Program, and some of its potential risks or ambiguities.

It takes a lot of hard work, long hours, ingenuity, and resources to build a new business.  I know, I've done it.  In other words, it isn't easy.

Thieves and fraudsters hoodwink and scam people, lulling them into a false sense of security, getting others to do all of the dirty work for them, then suddenly confiscate (ie. steal) the proceeds of the victim's hard work.  Thieves and fraudsters allow their victims to work hard for decades, accumulate their personal property and wealth, then quickly steal it all away in just a few hours of the thieves' effort.

I used to have a cherry tree in my backyard that I pruned and sprayed to keep bountiful harvests of cherries.  The wild birds never seemed to touch the cherries, until the cherries were ready for eating. Once ripe, within 4 hours, the tree was stripped clean by the wild birds.  My only defenses were to pick unripe cherries, or put a bird net over top of the cherry tree.  I installed the net, and our family enjoyed our cherry harvest the next year.

While my cherries were a renewing resource each year, AC chicken under CFO's byzantine rules may not give second chances. 

If I choose to be an Artisanal Chicken Farmer, will I need some type of bird net to protect me from the predatory CFO taking all my ripe AC "cherries" before I can enjoy any of the fruits of my labour?  

Could Artisanal Chicken ("AC") be a diabolic plan of Chicken Farmers of Ontario ("CFO")?

When you're a multi-millionaire CAFO factory chicken farmer, you are guaranteed a "reasonable return" on you assets and investments in chicken.  Since you have no worry about the financial return you receive on your investments, your biggest worry is losing your investment (ie. chicken quota or Supply Management is weakened or destroyed), the chickens that lay the golden eggs forever.  The other major risk is to make a bad investment in a new opportunity, and that bad investments kills your chickens that lay golden eggs for you.

At this point in time, we have:
  • Chronically weak and volatile world economy;
  • A weak Canadian economy, rising food costs; collapsing dollar; quivering real estate bubble values; weak retail sector; falling commodity prices for crude oil, natural gas, minerals, softwood, and many more.
  • Ontario following Greece's example of excessive debt, deficit, and piece-meal selling off of public assets;
  • Animal welfare advocates questioning the CAFO chicken factory system
  • Public and government forces pushing for the banning of wholesale use of antibiotics in animal's feed and water.
It's nice for CAFO chicken factory farmers can ignore all the above, because no matter what, they are guaranteed a handsome profit no matter how many times Canadians get flushed down the toilet.  CFO quota farmers want others to take all the risks.

It is unclear what will be the optimum choices for AC genetics, growing method, marketing, and processing.  What better way than to open up AC to 100 volunteers, allow them to try all the different permutations and combinations.  If 99% of the AC farmers fail due to their non-optimum choices or circumstances, that is one less risk for CFO and its members to face.

Once all of the rough edges have been knocked off, and many AC pioneers have proven it works first time, every time, that is when the AC farmers can expect CFO to pounce; similar to the wild birds patiently waiting for my cherries to ripen.

If the AC system becomes a success, all CFO has to do is change the rules, AC chicken farmers are out, and the CFO members can step right in to steal the proven AC system.

CFO's Policies Foreshadow CFO's Future Plans

CFO's Artisanal Chicken Policy 212-2015 says:
6.07   Artisanal Production Licences to Artisanal Chicken Farmers are subject to change and do not convey any property rights.
That means CFO can do as it pleases with any or all AC licenses, or the AC program overall.  They can suddenly cancel the program without warning the day after an AC farmer receives their 3,000 chicks, leaving the AC farmers stranded with birds they cannot own nor sell under CFO's whimsical and arbitrary rules.  Since there are no property rights, nothing was taken away by CFO by the sudden cancelation.

The Canadian Bill of Rights says we all have the human rights and fundamental freedoms, namely:
1. (a) the right of the individual to life, liberty, security of the person and enjoyment of property, and the right not to be deprived thereof except by due process of law;
As soon as CFO changes a policy, and its rubber stampers at  OFPMC, the government's powers delegated to CFO make it law.  If CFO suddenly decides to treat AC farmers unfairly or unjustly, who will stand up and stop CFO?  Will Geri Kamenz and his merry band of rubber stampers at OFPMC stand up against their CFO friends so as to protect the AC farmers from CFO's tyranny and despotism?

I doubt it.

Only the Canadian Constitution, Charter of Rights & Freedoms, and Canadian Bill of Rights limit the government's powers, and hence limit the delegated powers enjoyed by CFO.
Since CFO's Policy specifically grants an AC license which is not property, the Canadian Bill of Rights does not apply, and CFO is free to treat all AC farmers as their slavish property, pawn, or cannon fodder; as CFO pleases.

Not since the Divine Right of Kings has anybody or any group enjoyed such unrestricted, absolute power awarded to the small, privileged minority of Supply Management (just 8% of all farmers in Canada).

CFO's Artisanal Chicken Policy 212-2015 also says:
9.02   The Artisanal Production Licence is specific to the particular artisanal chicken farmer, in support of the business proposition advanced in application, to whom it is issued and is not tradable, transferable, rentable and may not be pledged as security for indebtedness, and has no monetary value attributed to it.
Note that this clause further restricts the use and value of the AC License issued by CFO as ill-liquid and non-fungible.  All of which is to CFO's eventual advantage, otherwise why would they be doing this?

CFO's Artisanal Chicken Policy 212-2015 also says:
11.02   The Artisanal Chicken Policy will be reviewed on an annual basis, and determined whether to vary or amend it. CFO may also review the status of any artisanal chicken farmer, their artisanal chicken business community partner(s), and applied for business proposition and issue such orders and directions as it may deem appropriate to give effect to this Policy.  
I am surprised to see that CFO didn't expressly grant themselves the power to cancel the AC program all together.  Of course, CFO could add the power to cancel AC to this policy the day before they exercise that power to terminate AC.  In the alternative, they could suddenly declare that AC licenses have become very valuable, and hence AC farmers will be charged $1 Million per year for their license.  While AC is still officially operational, nobody is stupid enough to pay that extortion money to CFO.  The AC game is effectively finished.

Worst Case Scenario

Here is what I fear most for any Small Flocker considering joining CFO's AC program.

About 100 or so Small Flockers get duped by CFO into joining AC, 99% of them subsequently die due to CFO's wacky rules, delays, or difficulties in startup.  More Small Flockers, those who were on the AC waiting list, and without any warning or disclosure by CFO that their AC predecessors crashed & burned, step up to replace the fallen AC pioneers.  Eventually in 5 to 10 years, the AC bugs are all worked out, and an AC farmer can start to make a reasonable income, or perhaps a fantastic income, perhaps even better than CAFO chicken factory income.  The bigger the AC advantage, the sooner CFO will strike.  The AC pioneers will be shot in the back by using the 3 clauses listed above, or by CFO changing its regulations for AC.  Preference will then be given to quota-bearing CFO members to confiscate the AC market, and these CFO members will be powerful blood sucking leaches who will step into the fertile ground prepared by the blood, sweat, & tears of the pioneering AC farmers.

CFO's Response to the Worst Case Scenario?

Perhaps all of the above shocks the conscience of CFO that someone would suspect that CFO might not have the best of intentions toward all AC farmers.  Perhaps CFO never intended to do any of the nasty and immoral acts listed above.

Perhaps CFO has nothing but rainbows, sunshine, & trotting unicorns in their hearts & minds.

In that case, CFO should have no problems with the revision of their policy now, so that AC farmers are adequately protected from the arbitrary, whimsical, despotic, and unlimited powers of CFO.

Divine Right of King CFO?

Not in my world.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Question the Artisanal Chicken Program of CFO

In previous postings (see 3000 chickens for Ontario's Small Flockers, Caveat Emptor of Artisanal Chicken, and CFO's Artisanal Chicken: Conflict of Interest) we had discussed CFO's new Artisanal Chicken Program, and some of its potential risks or ambiguities.

Today, we have finished our detailed review of Artisanal Chicken, and have sent our questions & concerns to CFO for answers.  Here is our email:

SFPFC's Questions for CFO   Adobe Acrobat pdf file, 12 pages, 211 kB
It will be interesting to receive CFO's response.  In the past, I usually receive nothing whatsoever from CFO to any of my concerns or inquiries.  Up till now, there has been no politeness, no openness, no transparency, no accountability.

Hopefully, the time for change is now.

On 2015-08-06, Sustain Ontario submitted a number of questions & concerns to CFO about Artisanal Chicken.  In their case, they received a nice response letter from CFO in 6 days.  So far, Sustain Ontario hasn't received any answers from CFO about Sustain Ontario's questions, but at least they received a letter from CFO acknowledging that some questions were asked.

It's a start.

Let's see where it goes.

I encourage all readers to submit their comments here on the Artisanal Chicken program, or pose their questions & concerns directly to CFO.

Submit a question or comment to CFO on their Artisanal Chicken Program

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Ag Fair Enlightenment

Yesterday, having my animals on display at the Providence Bay Fair and talking to the public lead me to another enlightenment.  Many people still have no clue about food, farm animals, and farming.  We can soon change that.

This year is the 132 nd. continuous year of expositions and celebrations at the  Providence Bay Agricultural Fair in Northern Ontario.

My goats, geese, ducks, and chickens were entered in 10 categories, winning 7 First, 1 Second, and 2 no-show.  The newly hatched drake duck and aged cock are receiving psychological counseling to help them through their loss at the fair.

While I can't speak for the animals whom I mandated to attend, the ribbons don’t motivate me to invest the 10 hours capturing & hauling animals, and attending the fair.

I do it for the opportunity to talk to the people attracted by up-close exposure to these farm animals destined for food production.  The people attending the Fair my come primarily for the cotton candy and midway rides, but they're also curious and draw near to the farm animals; drawn by some latent, deep, and ancient human drive that they likely don't fully understand.

Four years ago, before I started farming, I was one of them; totally ignorant about that side of life.

So that you fully understand what I experienced at my local Agricultural Fair, I'll share three stories.

Chicken Vs. Egg

Soon after placing the chicken and her rooster in the cage, she laid an egg.

When people walked by the cages peering in at the animals, it was easy to spot the egg sitting there.  Almost everybody remarked about the juxtaposition of the egg.  It was an unexpected occurrence.  Most would say, "There's an egg in there!, or "Look at that!"

One boy of 8 or 10 blurted out what many appeared to be thinking, but never said, "What's that egg doing in there?"  At least he recognized it as an egg.

I said, "The hen laid the egg shortly after I put her in the cage."

His eyebrows went to maximum height as he voiced his astonishment, "Eggs that we buy in the store, the one in the carton, that we eat, they come from chickens?"

"Yes", I said, "they pop out of the butt end of chickens."

"Gross!", he said.

And so we have it.  We may have lost another egg customer in the short term through the sudden, shocking truth of where eggs really come from.

Goat Vs. Lawnmower

People peered in at my Billy Goat and his three nanny goats on display (the rest of the herd were back at the pasture purposefully selecting the morsels of grass to be eaten next).  That's when I'd say, "You're looking at the latest and best available technology for lawn care."

Most would laugh, or at least smile, in recognition of what was about to bombard them.

Entry level gasoline powered lawnmower for $179.99 at your nearby
Canadian Tire store, assembly required, gasoline, oil changes,
and regular engine maintenance required to retain OEM warranty.
A brand new, entry level lawnmower at Canadian Tire is $179.99 plus 13% HST, is $203.39 plus the ongoing costs of periodic engine maintenance, gasoline, and oil changes; all of which add to the depletion of our non-renewable energy sources and Climate Change gas emissions.

Alternatively, you can buy a high quality goat for about $75.00 to $150.00

For natural lawn care, the goat has the following Features, Advantages, & Benefits:
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Self powered,
  • Self steering,
  • Automatically fertilizes and waters the lawn as it trims the grass
  • You can enjoy watching your favorite TV show from your favorite chair while the lawn is being expertly trimmed by your hard working goat.
  • No goat maintenance required
  • No fossil fuels required by goat
  • Goat automatically produces new baby lawnmowers each year which can be sold or kept for even faster lawn maintenance for you and your neighbours.
  • Your old goat lawnmower can be traded in at the end of the lawn care season for about 75 lbs of goat meat for your family freezer, to feed you through the winter.
 Which seems like the better deal to you:  Lawnmower or Goat?

Free Chickens for Belgiums

In Joel Salatin's book, "Folks This Ain't Normal" on pg. 78 of the paperback version of the Chapter "Lawn Farms and Kitchen Chickens", Joel describes how the Belgium government tried to help their citizens, and helped the environment too:
"In her great book City Chicks, Pat Foreman tells about a town in Belgium that offered three chickens to any household that wanted them.  Two thousand families signed up for the birds.  Those six thousand hens, in the first month of the program, dropped compostable biomass to the landfill by 100 tonnes.  This was the ultimate recycling program."

"If every kitchen in America had enough chickens attached to it to eat all of the scraps coming out of that kitchen, no egg industry or commerce would be necessary in the whole country.  Imagine shutting down the entire egg industry.  Greenies and animal welfarists decry battery cages and industrial chicken conditions, and I agree they are deplorable."
In a April 12, 2010 article in UK's The Independent newspaper:
"In the region of Limburg, near the Dutch border, more than 2,500 families adopted hens just last year, a 306 per cent rise on the previous year. There have been similar successes in other parts of the country."

Moral of the Story

We are headed into tough times, especially in Canada.  The current Federal government of Canada and all the wannabe opposition parties are "generously" bribing us selling themselves to Canadians with our own money earmarked for this special interest group, or our money promised for that project if only we should vote for their party.
"I just got adopted as one of 3 family chickens by a Canadian family.
I have a clear Mission and Purpose in my life!

As an alternative to this wanton excess of government bribery using other people's money (ie. our taxpayer money), consider that every Canadian has to eat three times per day (if they can still afford it).

I suggest that helping Canadians eat better helps all Canadians.

The only ones against this proposal will be those entrenched multi-millionaire SM farmers who depend on the continued chronic dependency of all Canadians to their SM monopoly.  That negativity is less than 8% of all Canadian farmers, and less than 0.048% of all Canadians; therefore this proposal will be welcome help for 99.952% of all Canadians.  That seems to be as close to “everybody” as we can possibly get.

Isn't government supposed to be all about helping Canadians by working for the greater good of all Canadians?

What tax money bribery pronouncement made so far in this 2015 Federal election will have a greater impact on more Canadians?

Why can't Canada's Federal government grant 3 free chickens to every family that is willing to keep them and properly care for them as a family egg production source for at least 2 years?  What kind of mini-building boom will that create as 8.5 million backyard or roof top chicken coops get quickly constructed?

Prerequisite training courses, whether delivered by Internet or local Community Centre, will describe the program, train the willing, and help ensure the success of the program.  The program will not be available anywhere local zoning does not allow urban chickens; a simple method to encourage local government to reconsider their dogmatic and misguided attempt to save us all.

Of course, we'd welcome all of these newly egg self-sufficient families as members to Small Flock Poultry Farmers of Canada as $1.00 per year new members of SFPFC.