Thursday, March 7, 2013

Trafficking in Contraband Chicken ?

The Federal Government introduced legislation today to create a new crime, trafficking in contraband tobacco.

Agri007 reports that the Ontario Tobacco Marketing Board previously complained for a long time to both  Ontario and Federal governments that the trafficking in contraband tobacco was destroying their market supply and quota system.

With slow or no response for many years, the Tobacco Board eventually collapsed.  After the collapse, the government has finally gotten around to acting.

In July 2006, the Washington  Post reported the trafficking in contraband chicken from China to Viet Nam.  Bird flu caused the preventive slaughter of domestic chickens, resulting in a shortage of chicken meat, dramatically raising the price of locally available chicken.  The smugglers weren't long in filling the public's need for affordable chicken.  China is one of the world's largest producers of chicken.  The chicken traffickers played matchmakers between the producers and the neighbouring customers.

In Nov. 2010, the Canadian government warned everybody to be on the lookout for smuggled birds coming into Canada.  They were mainly worried about bird flu back then, but they acknowledged the risk of  bird smuggling.

On Feb. 5, 2011 Alberta Farmer paper reported that 1,800 lbs of smuggled chicken was found crossing from the US into Canada at Cornwall, believed destined for Quebec.

On Dec. 31, 2012 the International Herald Tribune reported a very profitable business smuggling chickens from Pakistan to Afghanistan, selling them for 4 times what they can get locally.

With a markup of 300% to 800% on the price of chicken between US and Canada, perhaps we had better prepare ourselves for the rising tide of trafficking in contraband chicken across our borders.  I'm sure it already occurs, but it may soon be one of our leading growth industries.

Since the government takes between 5 to 15 years to respond to urgent situations, I think we should put in our request early for action.  That means, feel free to send a copy of this post to your friendly neighbourhood Chicken Marketing Board, your Supervisory Supply Management Commission, and your provincial government.  Take a number, sit down, and patiently wait for action.

It shouldn't be any longer than the 15 years the Tobacco boys had to wait.

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