When Charles Dickens wrote "It is the best of times. It is the worst of times." in A Tale of Two Cities, he was speaking about Paris France and London England during the French Revolution. Today, we are at a similar crisis in chickens on both sides of the US-Canadian border.
Both Canada and the USA started with virtually the same systems for chicken, small independent farms run by a family. CAFO chicken farms for meat only began in the 1940's. Both of those systems have spiraled out of control to form two different systems of oppression and tyranny. The main difference in these two dysfunctional systems is the identity of the victim. In the US, the victim is the chicken farmer. In Canada, the victims are the consumers and the small flock farmers.
These two dysfunctional systems of chicken meat production use similar technologies (eg. hatcheries, breeds, feed, barns, medicines, etc.). These two national and proximate systems for chicken also share similar types of tyranny, oppression, and abuse inflicted on the weak by the hands of rich, omnipotent corporations and individuals.
In the USA around the 1950, 95% of U.S. broiler production was by independent farmers. Just 10 years later, 90 percent of the US industry was under contracts for national or state-wide "integrators". Today in the USA, the Integrators run the show (eg. Pilgrim's, Tyson, Sanderson Farms, Perdue, etc.). In the US, 97% of US chickens raised in 2001 are done under contract farming. Any remaining chickens are raised on farms owned and operated by the processors, or by smaller independents providing chicken to local markets.
In Canada, the rich and powerful Local Boards of the Chicken Supply Management System (ie. the Chicken Mafia) who run the show (eg. Chicken Farmers of Ontario, and their counterpart in each of the 10 Provinces).
Do the Canadian Chicken Mafia realize how good they have it with the government's gift of monopoly? Are the multi-millionaire Canadian Chicken Farmers aware of the plight of the poor, indebted, and abused US chicken farmers? Do the Canadian CAFO chicken farmers have any empathy for the plight suffered by their US counterparts?
The situation for US chicken farmers has gotten so bad, John Oliver, a comedian who does a weekly comedy show Last Week Tonight with John Oliver on news and current affairs has taken up their cause by his satirical look at the bad situation, titled Chickens.
John Oliver shows clips from a number of documentaries:
- The Sharecroppers (2010)
- Under Contract (2015)
- Farmageddon The truth about the food & dairy industry
- Farmaggedon The True Cost of Cheap Meat, Compassion in World Farming
- The True Cost of Cheap Food Food Inc.
- Cock Fight (2015), Cock Fight Act 1: One Man's Battle Against The Chicken Industry
Act 2, Act 3, Act 4, Act 5, Act 6.
and to which we add:
- Under Contract: Farmers in Fine Print
- The Serfs of Arkansas
- Rural Advancement Foundation International-USA ("RAFI") Contract Agriculture Reform
- The Meat Racket and The Chain, introduced by an excellent video
The Big Question
So where do Canadian chicken farmers stand on the plight of their American brothers?
Does CFO, CFC, or any of the other provincial bodies take a stand, and speak out on behalf of their US peers? I haven't heard a peep out of them on this important issue. I wonder why?
If any of you are aware of any Canadian chicken farmer or organization who has directly supported or aided US chicken farmer(s) in either word or deed, please post the details below so we can correct the record. If there are no comments to the contrary, it seems reasonable to assume that none exist until proven otherwise.
Mark Twain write about the "silent lie" or lie of omission, and how it ensured the continuation of slavery in the US for almost 100 years. Is that similar silent lie at work by Canadian chicken farmers, against the US chicken farmers?
Is it because the Canadian chicken farmers are callously indifferent to the terrible conditions their US counterparts suffer through each day? Perhaps the Canadian farmers are too busy counting their money.
Perhaps the Canadian chicken farmers, their trade associations (CFO, CFC and the others) are too busy plotting their next scheme to make even more money off the backs of Canadians.
Perhaps some are narcissistic psychopaths who only care about themselves, and enjoy watching the suffering of others.
The Plight of Canadian Consumers & Small FlockersIf the Chicken Mafia cannot bother speaking out or supporting their American peers, is their any hope in appealing to their sense of fair play, or empathy for the plight of Canadian consumers or Small Flockers?
I think not.
Any empathy that the Chicken Mafia show towards the US chicken farmers would expose their hypocrisy to the suffering they directly inflict on Canadian consumers and Small Flockers.
The Chicken Supply Management System will therefore require changes imposed upon the Chicken Mafia, likely requiring riding rough shod over the dead, cold, rotting corpse of the Canadian Supply Management System.