Friday, April 17, 2015

Canada's Retail Chicken Price Database

Small Flock Poultry Farmers of Canada ("SFPFC") is collecting price data on chicken meat being sold at retail stores.

All Canadian consumers are encouraged to help collect these data.  These data will enable everybody to have instant information on the current pricing of chicken in Canadian retail stores.

What GasBuddy is for retail gasoline prices, this database will be for retail chicken prices.

Our primary interest is for raw, fresh whole chickens (ie. not cooked, not frozen).  Please concentrate your data collection efforts on raw, fresh, whole chicken, first and foremost.  While this is our primary focus, we welcome prices on all cuts and types of chicken.

The reasons we prefer pricing on raw, whole, fresh chickens is that they are:
  • the most widely available type of chicken that is sold everywhere in Canada; 
  • one of the lowest cost chicken on $/kg basis;
  • perishable, so it has a high price volatility due to efficient retail competition (ie. it matters if fresh chicken sells this week, unlike frozen chicken that can be stored for 6 months or more).
There is a great price differences between various cuts of chicken (eg. drumsticks, thighs, wings, breast, etc.), fresh vs. frozen, seasoned, processed (eg. chicken burgers, chicken fingers, nuggets, etc.).  To ensure consistency in these data, we need accuracy on the exact description of the chicken that is for sale so we can compare price vs. the various features (eg. is the chicken organic, air chilled, Canadian raised, imported, etc.)

SFPFC will use this data to help lobby the Chicken Mafia and all levels of government to ensure fairness for all; and safe, nutritious, & affordable chicken for Canadian consumers.

Figure 1:   Meat Inspection Legend
for Ontario Plant # 6534 (example).
Figure 2:   CFIA Meat Inspection
Legend for Establishment 429
Donald's Fine Foods, Richmond
BC), example
In the Form below, we ask you to collect data on the Chicken Processing Plant that produced this chicken, as identified in the Meat Inspection Legend shown on the package label.

Figure 1 on the left shows an example Meat Inspection Legend ("MIL") for an abattoir meat processing plant that is licensed under Ontario's Meat Regulations as Ontario Processing Plant # 6534.  The MIL for other Provinces will be similar.  In the Form below for Abattoir Establishment # , you would enter "6534" for this MIL.

Figure 2 above on the right shows the Meat Inspection Legend ("MIL") for a Federally Inspected Meat Processing plant that is licensed by CFIA.  If this was the MIL on the chicken meat for sale, you would enter "429" for the Abattoir Establishment # in the Form below.  In the Field for Chicken Processor, you'd enter "Donald's Fine Foods, Richmond BC".

The data entry form can be accessed here:  This link is recommended as a bookmark on your Smart Phone so that you can access this Internet form on your Smart Phone while you are in the grocery store, making data collection fast & simple.  This version of the form will automatically format itself to fit your screen on your Smart Phone.

The data entered so far can be seen here:   SFPFC's Canadian Retail Chicken Price Database

Thursday, April 16, 2015

OMAFRA Joins Internet Age with Google Mapping of Abattoir Data

As of Feb. 19th, 2015 we now have an OMAFRA Google Mapping of all Provincially Licensed Meat Plants in Ontario.

OMAFRA Database of Provincially Licensed Meat Plants

OMAFRA's Google Earth mapping of all Provincially
Licensed Meat Plants (Abattoirs, Slaughter Plants), just
10 months after SFPFC's suggestion.
I had done this same mapping through Google's Fusion Tables Mapping in April 25, 2014 and had sent a detailed implementation method to OMAFRA's Deputy Minister as a suggestion so they could quickly follow Small Flockers' leadership in this area.  While I implemented our map in just 2 hours for SFPFC's Blog, the wheels turn a little slower at OMAFRA.

However, we now have confirmation that OMAFRA's wheels do turn.  Miracle of miracles, 10 months later, OMAFRA has left the Stone Age behind, and joined the Internet World with the rest of us, at least in this small area of excellence.

OMAFRA decided to implement their mapping via Google Earth, rather than my suggestion of Google Fusion Tables, likely so that users can more easily sort and filter the data to just the data records desired (eg. chicken processors, not red meat processors, etc.). 

Of course, my suggest to OMAFRA may have had no effect on this miraculous occurrence.  OMAFRA may have already been working on this project ever since Google Maps was launched in Feb. 2005.  If that is true, then OMAFRA took 15 years to implement what I did in 2 hours work.  I prefer to give OMAFRA the benefit of the doubt, and say they only took 10 months to implement SFPFC's suggestion made in April 25, 2014.

Thank-you and congratulations to OMAFRA for making this significant improvement.

Guilty as Charged: CFO is a Dangerous Hypocrite

In our previous Blog Posting (see CFO Hypocrisy ), we tried to adequately define hypocrisy, and why it is such a threat and disease from which we must be protected.

Today, we will examine a small part of the growing, prima facia evidence that Chicken Farmers of Ontario ("CFO") are guilty of hypocrisy as charged.

The following is taken from CFO's Annual Report 2014.

What CFO says
The Fruits of CFO
p. 5, Message from Henry Zantingh, Chair and Rob Dougans, President & CEO
“…it is critically important that CFO remains very focused, disciplined, effective and  highly relevant to its farmer­-members, to industry stakeholders, to consumers, and to public policy.”
Whether or not CFO adequately works on behalf of their farmer-members, I will leave to those farmer-members to decide.

A Small Flock chicken farmer should be considered an “industry stakeholder”.  As a Small Flocker, I for one see and feel nothing but the exact opposite of what CFO says.

For the others, especially the consumers, I suggest they feel used and abused by CFO as well.  Witness that:

·      30% to 80% of Ontario’s chickens are contaminated by deadly bacteria.  Prima facie evidence of “poor quality chicken”.  See Contaminated Chicken
·      By denying chicken a more natural lifestyle and feed source, CFO causes or contributes to poor nutritional aspect of the chicken meet produced (eg. excess fat, excess processing water sold as chicken, high Omega-6 (bad fat) and low Omega-3 (good fat).  See Animal Fats In Our Diets
·      By CFO allowing the use of questionable drugs, feed supplements, and antibiotics, chickens grow Superbugs that further threaten the health and safety of consumers.  See Choose: Frankenstein Chicken, or Naturally Raised Chicken
·      By CFO allowing their member-farmers to gouge and obtain unjust enrichment from falsified and inflated FCR charges that vacuumed $10 Billion from consumer’s wallets from 2003 to 2013.  See: The Chicken Mafia Exposed
·      Affordability of chicken in retail grocery stores has dropped by as much as 31.7% from 1995-2005. See Unaffordable Chicken In Ontario
·      More and more, consumers want organic, free range, and/or pastured poultry, but CFO refuses to allow a system to fully supply that need.  Consumers are forced to buy CAFO factory farm chicken so that CFO farmer-members receive the profitable monopolistic benefits, at the arrogant detriment of consumers.  See Supply Management Is a Failure

There is a lot more evidence of CFO's hypocrisy, but I think my point is made sufficiently for the conviction of CFO as charged.

CFO is welcome to provide their response to these charges and the evidence.  I will publish CFO's response here in an unedited form.  Somehow, I believe CFO will continue to ignore and stonewall.  If so, then let CFO be convicted by the the Court of Public Opinion in absentia.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Chicken Exporters for the World

Who exports chicken so as to help feed the world?  How does Canada compare?  Since we lost most of our manufacturing jobs and GDP to China et al., agriculture production is the biggest boost for Canadian GDP.  That means jobs.  Canadians need jobs.  Agricultural jobs could be a help to improving prosperity for Canadians.  Unfortunately, we have Supply Management which kills all that potential.

Broiler Chicken Production

US Dept. of Agriculture ("USDA") keeps track of the world's food production.  Index Mundi reports those data as shown below in Figure 1.

We can see that the USA is the world's biggest producer of broiler chicken meat, 17.752 Million metric tonnes per year.  The US is followed by Brazil, Chine, EU-27, India, Russia, and so on, and eventually you find Canada in 16th place.

The US population is 318.9 Million, so that broiler production is 55,666 MT per million population.

Jaguafrangos chicken process plant in Londrina,
Parana, southern Brazil.
Brazil, the world's #2 chicken grower, has a population of 202.034 Million.  With 13,115,000 MT of broiler chicken grown, that a per capita production of 64,914.8 MT/million population, which is 16.61% higher that the US per capita production.  Brazil is a chicken powerhouse!

Economic challenges are affecting Brazil and its chicken industry.  The Brazilian currency (viz. the Brazilian Real, BRL) has been devalued by 28% since Aug. 2014 which helps Brazilian exports, including chicken.

Canada, with 35.345 Million citizens and just 1,100,000 MT of broiler production, has a ratio of 31,121.80 MT per million population; which is just 55.9% of what the USA produces.  Do you think Canada only produces 55.9% of the US per capita broiler production because of our backward Supply Management system?

What is wrong with Canada and our chicken exports?  I previously discussed Canada's chicken exports, as compared to the other OECD nations, and we suck on that basis too (see Blog post "Why not Export Canadian Chicken?" ).

I suggest that exporting is hard work, and takes decades to establish.  Canada's Chicken Supply Management Millionaires would rather sit back, take it easy, and pick off helpless Canadian consumers with the Chicken Mafia's poor quality chicken and price gouging.  This easier work is made foolproof when you have paid lobbyists and friends in high places.

Growth in Canadian Chicken Exports

Figure 2:  Growth Rate in Broiler Chicken Exports, by Country.
Canada had a 2.04% annual growth, putting us in 28th place.
Canada barely beat Guatemala.
Maybe what Canada lacks in volume, we make up for in rate of growth.  Here is the world data from Index Mundi:

Nope, sorry.  Canada  is in 28th place.  No gold, no silver, no bronze medals for us.

However, we did beat small, yet tropical Guatemala, for what its worth.

Chicken Exports

Chicken exports by Canada puts us in 9th place amongst the 28 countries that export chicken into the world, exporting just 155,000 Metric Tonnes per year.  I guess that is better than being dead last amongst the OECD Nations for chicken exports.

Can We Learn From Brazil?

If Brazil can do it, why not Canada?

Brazil started exporting chicken in 1975.  Brazil increased their exports by an average of 12.81%/yr, doubling and re-doubling every 5.5 years.

If Brazil can, why not Canada? All we have to do is get rid of Supply Management.

Figure 4:   Brazil's chicken exports, starting from zero in 1975, has become the largest
chicken exporter in the world.  If Brazil can, why not Canada?

Saturday, April 11, 2015

CFO Hypocrisy

Chicken Farmers of Ontario ("CFO") talk a great game.  Sadly, CFO's actions and their results achieved leave much to be desired.  If CFO was incompetent, we could easily forgive them.  Unfortunately, many feel, as do I, that CFO is a hypocrite, and therefore CFO's sins are unforgivable.

What is a hypocrite?
"a person who claims or pretends to have certain beliefs about what is right but who behaves in a way that disagrees with those beliefs."
A thesaurus gives 39 synonyms for hypocrite, most of which you are likely familiar with.
Why are hypocrites unforgivable?
"The only vice which cannot be forgiven is hypocrisy. The repentance of a hypocrite is itself hypocrisy."
 William Hazlitt (1778 – 1830), English writer & painter, one of the greatest English literary critics.

The 10 Commandments tells us it is a sin to bear false witness.  Consider the hypocrite, who bears false witness against themselves:
"The hypocrite's crime is that he bears false witness against himself. What makes it so plausible to assume that hypocrisy is the vice of vices is that integrity can indeed exist under the cover of all other vices except this one. Only crime and the criminal, it is true, confront us with the perplexity of radical evil; but only the hypocrite is really rotten to the core."
Hannah Arendt (1906-1975),
political theorist and author of On Revolution, 1963

Others offer similar warnings:
"The true hypocrite is the one who ceases to perceive his deception, the one who lies with sincerity."
André Gide (1869-1951), French author, Nobel Prize Laureate for Literature
The Bible cautions us against hypocrites and hypocrisy in 18 different verses, spread through 6 Books:
  • Psalms 26:4;
  • Matthew 6:2, 6:5, 6:16, 7:5, 15:7, 22:18, 23:1, 23:13, 23:15, 23:23, 23:25, 23:27, 23:28, 23:29, 24:51;
  • Mark 7:6, 12:15;
  • Luke 6:42, 12:1, 12:56, 13:15;
  • Galatians 2:13;
  • 1 Peter 2:1
  A hypocrite is like a wolf in sheep's clothing.  The best and most clear reproachment comes to us from the Bible with Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, as re-told in the NIV Bible by Matthew 7:15
15 Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.
18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.
19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
Therefore we can most easily recognize a hypocrite by their fruits, what they have done, the end results of their actions.

I hope that I have adequately proven the dangers of hypocrisy.

Tomorrow, let's follow Jesus' recommendations, and review CFO's results by using CFO's own words, according to CFO's Annual Report 2014.

We will see if we can make the accusation of CFO's hypocracy stick, and find them guilty as charged.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Small Flock Exemption Q&A

Anna, a wanna-be Small Flocker has some questions, and isn't getting the answers from the Chicken Mafia.  Finally, she contacted somebody who cares and answers promptly to the best of their knowledge.  Here is Anna's question:
Good Morning,

I've been trying to email the Ontario Agricultural Ministry but they're not really getting back to me with a question I had and I was hoping that maybe you could help clarify.

 I know the limit if 300 meat chickens per farm per year, but my question is what qualifies as a 'farm'? Does this mean your are limited to 300 birds per farmer or individual adult, or per physical address? Can you have two separate operations leasing land on the same physical address with 300 birds each? (Taxes and operations completely separate) Or can I act as manager for 3 different farms at separate physical locations with 300 birds each?

Thanks so much for all of your help!

My understanding of the important & relevant parts of CFO's (Chicken Farmers of Ontario) Small Flock Regulation are as follows:

Section 1.f says:

“Premises” means  a  parcel  or  lot  of  real  property  as  identified  by  a Property Identification  Number or, in the absence thereof, by another legal description by lot and/or   parcel   number   or   similar legal description   or   by   other   appropriate description using metes and bounds coordinates including the buildings existing on such  real property upon  which  chicken  is  produced  and  from  which  chicken is marketed by a Small Flock Grower;

Section 1.j says:

“Small Flock Grower” means a person registered with the Board and permitted by the Board to produce and market no more than 300 chickens on an annual basis while being exempted from the requirement of being allotted a quota by the Board for the producing and marketing of chicken;

Section 8 says:

"No more than 300 chickens may be produced by the Small Flock Grower in each calendar year."

Section 9 says:

"Once a premises has been utilized for the production of chicken in accordance with this regulation in  a  calendar  year,  it  may  not  be used  again for  such  purpose  by  the Small Flock Grower or any other person until the following calendar year."

CFO are the ones who passed this regulation, and are the ones who define, interpret it, and if they so choose, lay charges under that regulation.  The Courts will then decide if CFO's interpretation is the correct one.  CFO decides if you will be hassled, so in the frustration factor, their opinion, whether dysfunctional or not, is important to understand.

Therefore there seems to be two (2) limitations:

  • the Small Flock Grower
  • the Premises used
Each Small Flock Grower is limited to 300 birds per year.  Each Premise is limited to 300 birds.  Since CFO controls their database, they can choose who and how a "person" is defined.

For example:

  1. A corporation is generally defined as a legal "person".  Does CFO follow this definition?  If you incorporate a company under Ontario law (eg. 123456 Ontario Ltd.) and you are the sole owner of that corporation, can that corporation have 300 birds/yr, and you personally have 300 birds/yr too if you and the corporation use separate premises?

  2. Under Ontario's Planning Act, real property lots adjacent to each other will automatically merge to one property when the ownersof the two lots are the same person.  That owner must get special permission to subsequently separate those lots back into two separate lots.  This doesn't happen if Lot 1 (adjacent to both Lot 1 and Lot 2) is owned by "Bill Smith", Lot 2 (adjacent to both Lot 1 and Lot 3) is owned by "Bill and Mary Smith", and Lot 3 (adjacent to both Lot 1 and 2) is owned by "Mary Smith"; whether or not Bill and Mary are spouses, brother & sister, or total strangers.  Can this legal concept be used for "Small Flock Grower" definition, and Premises ownership?
The answers to these specific situations for CFO and their Small Flock Regulation is unclear in the regulation.

CFO (Chicken Farmers of Ontario) are the ones who passed this regulation, and are the ones who define, interpret it, and if they so choose, lay charges under that regulation.  The Courts will then decide if CFO's interpretation is the correct one.

CFO decides if a Small Flocker will be hassled, so the Small Flocker's frustration factor is highly dependent upon the mindset of CFO, regardless of CFO being right or wrong.

That is a clear sign of arbitrary law, and bad regulation.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Chicken Factory Farm CAFO

A contract poultry farmer, Craig Watts, has turned his back on his Chicken Overlords, disclosing the inside view of his USDA Process Verified Chicken Factory Farm, also known as a Chicken CAFO (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation). 

Craig said, "There are a lot of flaws in the system.  The consumer is being hoodwinked.  The farmers is being jerked around" (Timestamp 0:30 ).

Craig's wife said, "Craig and I realized we want the same thing.  We want to reform the industry, and we're going to have to stand shoulder to shoulder to do that."  (Timestamp 3:57)

There is a reasonable basis to assume that Canada's Chicken CAFO's are the same or similar to Craig's US factory farm that he operates for Purdue Farms, the third biggest chicken producer in the US.

PBS' series on Food has added additional coverage in its Dirty Birds:  A Story of Chickens in America

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Roundtable for non-SM Stakeholders of CFO?

Sustain Ontario is seeking to hold a Roundtable feedback session for all non-SM stakeholders of CFO on the allocation of Ontario's chicken quota.

In previous Blog postings (see Hidden & Stacked Meetings Not Fair to Ontario Stakeholders and Rearranging the Titanic's Deck Chairs ), I discussed the lack of meetings, hastily organized meetings, stacking of meetings with pro-SM attendees, and the hiding of meetings from Stakeholders, all so Chicken Farmers of Ontario ("CFO") gets the results they need to continue their oppressive chicken dynasty forever.

While ever so polite to the Supply Management Overlords so as to not ruffle their feathers, Sustain Ontario has carefully and politely proposed holding a Roundtable discussion of the issues surrounding the Small Flockers alternatives, affordable food, and locally produced food.  In their recent email to me and others, they stated:
Hi All,
I am writing to you because I know that you represent an interest group that has a stake in the issue of chicken quota. 

A few of us have attended the consultation meetings and are excited by the openness that we are seeing from the CFO, AOCP and the farm products marketing board for the first time. 

However, we were disappointed with the promotion and turn out we saw at the consultations and felt that there should be a "roundtable" conversation where each association is represented and has a chance to speak with Ministry representatives, Farm Products Marketing Commission and the CFO/AOCP in the room. 
We would like to hold this meeting before the end of March at OMAFRA so that there is a final chance to speak on this issue before any actions are taken.  We would like to ensure that all relevant stakeholders participate but are reaching out to allies first. 
The vision for the day would be to allow everyone to have 10-15 minutes to speak to their own perspective and the solutions they could see working. 

Please indicate your interest in participating by filling in the doodle poll below.  If you would like to suggest a group that I have missed, please feel free to email me.  Once we have a date, we will send out a more formal invitation.

I would hope that the agenda would be on the entire concept of Ontario's Supply Management System for chicken, rather than the artificially constructed "safe" topic of just the incremental allocation of future quota increases.

The email  was copied to Mr. Marc LeBerge, a Senior Policy Advisor, Economic Development Policy Branch, OMAFRA.  I assume Marc was chosen as he is the point man on Ontario's Local Food Strategy.  Marc previously did a 10 slide presentation to the Eastern Ontario Local Food Conference on Dec. 3, 2013, which is available on Slideshare.

Ontario's Local Food Act became law on Nov. 6, 2013 so that Slideshare was very freshly minted as of Dec. 2013.

Sustain Ontario is focused by building consensus by all Stakeholders, whenever possible.  Hopefully that philosophy will not be abused by the Chicken Mafia during these Roundtable discussions, if and when they occur.