Monday, September 16, 2013

Ontario's Chicken Rebellion, 2014

It's always good to be wary of feisty farmers.  Is this the beginning of the end for the Chicken Mafia?
Concord Hymn
By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood,
And fired the shot heard round the world.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 - 1882),
written for the 1837 celebration of the
battle at Concord, Massachusetts in April 1775;
the battle which launched the US American Revolution
Due to irresponsible and non-democratic governments, there was the American Revolutionary war in 1776, the French Revolution of 1789–1799, the Haitian Revolution of 1791-1804, the Irish Rebellion of 1798, the independence struggles of Spanish America (1810–1825), Upper Canada Rebellion (1837), and the Chartists in England (1838-1848).

The Upper Canada Rebellion was another bunch of feisty farmers, just like at Concord Mass. 62 years earlier.  The rebels were soon defeated by the much more powerful government forces, and many were exiled to Tasmania or hung for treason.

However, the government of Upper Canada and England were both shocked that their nice, peaceful Canadians would rebel.

There is a direct connection in time and circumstance between this 1837 rebellion and the recalling of the Lt. Governor Sir Francis Bond Head in late 1837, the Crown sending Lord Durham as the new Governor-in-Chief in Jan. 1838, with the added mission to also report on the grievances of the people, and his proposed solutions.  Lord Durham's report resulted in significant changes to the previously corrupt form of government, and the joining of Upper & Lower Canada in 1840, which in turn eventually leading to the formation of Canada in 1867.

The shot heard 'round the world.

It seems each of these irresponsible governments saw themselves as immune, arrogant, and special; that the laws and rights that apply to others don't apply to them.  They learned differently soon enough.

If the government created the monster that runs rough shod over Canadians today, helping the chosen few at the expense of millions of citizens, shouldn't the government be held accountable for its actions, and tame the monster they created?

Today, we have another feisty farmer willing to take on the battle cry.  Today it's about the Chicken Mafia, the henchmen of the irresponsible governments of today.

Sean McGivern
Leader of Ontario Chicken Rebellion, 2014
Sean McGivern is a farmer, President of the Practical Farmers of Ontario ("PFO"), and one of the leaders of the Ontario Chicken Rebellion of 2014.  PFO has collected thousands of signatures on their petition to reform Ontario's chicken oppression, and free the people.

Sean is now ready to do battle with the Chicken Mafia.  Sean, the PFO, and many others have asked nicely for responsible government, positive change, and the civil rights for himself and all other Ontario citizens.  His pleas have fallen on deaf ears, just like in all of the other rebellions mentioned above.  Having no other choice, he has drawn up his battle plan and declared war on CFO, the Ontario Don of the Chicken Mafia.

William Lyon MacKenzie (1795 - 1861) was the recognized leader of the Upper Canada Rebellion 176 years ago.  Will history remember Sean McGivern as the leader of the Ontario Chicken War of 2014?  Time will tell.

In a letter Sean sent to CFO on Aug. 14th, 2013 Sean put  his cause before the Chicken Mafia, informing them of their illegitimate powers, and Sean's plan to proceed on with what is right.

It took CFO only 20 days to respond to Sean's letter, claiming unlimited rights and powers over chicken in Ontario, and warning Sean of the threatened consequences for his refusing to bow to the false god of chicken in Ontario.

In 6 days, Sean was back after the CFO to further explain and justify its claimed authority.  So far, there has been no response from the Ontario Don of the Chicken Mafia (ie. the CFO).  If a response occurs, I hope Sean will share that with everybody as well.

Participants in the Upper Canada Rebellion of 1837 paid a very stiff price.  Michael Schmidt has had a similar battle with the government over raw milk, and paid a high price for his rebellion against the rights of adults to choose raw milk for themselves, and his right to produce it for them.

Will Sean suffer a similar fate as other leaders of rebellions against irresponsible and non-democratic governments?

Will there be others who choose to follow Sean's lead?

Time will tell.


  1. Hello there! This is my first comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and say I really enjoy reading through your articles. Can you suggest any other blogs/websites/forums that deal with the same subjects? Appreciate it!

    1. Thanks, I appreciate the feedback. We're kind of unique and narrowly focused. Another good Blog on agricultural issues is

      Enjoy, and come back soon. Even better, bring your friends with you to visit us.

  2. Good day! This post could not be written any better! Reading
    this post reminds me of my good old room mate! He always kept talking about this.

    I will forward this write-up to him. Fairly certain he will have a good read.
    Thank you for sharing!

  3. To Sean McGivern It's obvious you weren't around in the pre marketing board days. You don't know what it's like to sell chickens at a loss or what it's like to grow chickens for nine weeks and have a processor tell you he can't take your chickens at the previously agreed price. We have been growing chickens since nineteen fifty two and know what it's like to lose twenty five hundred dollars on a crop and not be able to pay your bills. If it wasn't for the wisdom of former Ontario Agric Minister Bill Stewart and people like Eugene Whalen and many others we wouldn't have marketing boards and it wouldn't be worthwhile for you to grow any chickens because you would be selling at a loss. You appear to be the tools of big business such as Tyson foods and KFC and retailers. If you succeed in destroying our marketing boards you will impoverish your fellow farmers, Canadian agriculture, and open the border to foreign food dependency. To extend your logic why don't you ask your farmer neighbour to share with you at no cost some of his land. It's only fair that he should not control that land and prevent you from using a small portion just because he paid for it. Also why don't you ask the guys in GM in Oshawa to share some of their union controlled higher wages with you. You should also have part of teachers union controlled salaries. It's not fair that you should be excluded. In reality all you'll be doing is hurting your fellow farmers. Be like the rest of us and earn it instead of taking from those that have spent their lives earning it. We also grow chickens under strict sanitation and disease control measures which requires constant monitoring, cleaning and auditing. This requires considerable record keeping and reporting. Thank you. Rod McLean

    1. Thank-you very much for fully expressing your ideas. Sean McGivern, to whom you address your comments, is equally welcome to post his comments here too.

      I hope it is OK for me to post my comments as well.

      I assume from your post that you are an active quota-bearing chicken farmer, part of the chicken Supply Management ("SM") system. I am glad to have you here so we can have some fruitful discussions between the two sides of the same coin.

      I assume and accept that you and your family are hard working farmers, and that you have a great amount of your time and money invested in your chicken farm. It's only natural that you want to minimize the risks to your life and livelihood, and you see Small Flock Poultry Farmers of Canada ("SFPFC") as a growing threat.

      I encourage you to read SFPFC's Mission, Vision, and Principles here: I believe you will find many things there that both SFPFC and quota-bearing farmers like yourself can share and agree upon. I would be interested in hearing your side of anything there that you find objectionable. Perhaps there is something you can suggest to add, or change the wording on.

      I don't think anybody wants to go back to the 1950's, nor the boom-bust cycles similar to what the pork industry is currently suffering through. I assume that Supply Management was the best available solution at the time it was created. However, like the glow-in-the-dark fish in the waters off the crippled Fukishima nuclear power plant in Japan, in the last 50 years Supply Management has mutated into some awful Godzilla-like creature that eats people alive.

      There are viable win-win-win alternatives. Nobody credible wants the win-lose of no marketing board and dismantling the lives of all quota-bearing chicken farmers, nor do they want the continuation of the Chicken Mafia tyranny of today.

      I for one, am willing to work with anybody who is willing to listen to all sides of the issue, listen to all stakeholders, and help craft a solution that works for everybody.

      I started this quest by asking for explanations and request to improve the Canadian chicken system. I received 100% rejection and/or stonewalling (ie. refusing to answer my civil questions) from the Ontario government, Federal Government, Chicken Farmers of Ontario, and Chicken Farmers of Canada.

      [End of Part 1. Comments continued in following comment, Part 2]

    2. [Part 2, continuing from Part 1 above]

      After more than 6 attempts on my part with nothing but denial and stonewalling in response, I had to decide on one of two available options:

      A) Drop it, and accept what the "powers that be" 1% minority had decided for themselves and everybody else in Canada (the other 99% of citizens); or

      B) Choose to object, and fight for what I believed was in the best interest of all; the greater good.

      As you now know, I chose "B".

      SInce then, I have expressed growing concern about how this situation is becoming more and more polarized. The "Chicken Mafia" still refuses to talk. They have the lid screwed on tight to their chicken pot. There is a lot of heat on that pot, not just from SFPFC, but from everywhere all across Canada. Witness local food movements, animal rights movements against battery cages, organic pasture raised chickens, right to food movements, poverty groups, social justice groups, church groups, sub-therapeutic drug usage protesters, and many more. SFPFC has been adding lots of heat too. I assume that heat is what brought you here today.

      With the burner on high, and the lid screwed down tight, the pressure inside the pot is rising exponentially fast. The pot is only so strong. Soon, if nothing changes, the lid will blow off, and there will be much damage, and many people will be hurt.

      Does that mean that all of the above dissidents need to back off, turn off the burner, and let the Chicken Mafia continue in their total control of the chicken system and their unfair treatment of Small Flockers and the public in general?

      I don't think so. I have been at this quest for 8 months now. I for one, am not going to quit until I die, or significant improvements are made to the chicken supply management system. I probably have another 20 years left of my life. If that is what it takes, so be it. Eventually, I believe there will be either the total destruction of the SM system, or significant changes for the better. It won't be me who ends up making the decision as to which option occurs. Perhaps nobody will make a decision, and things will just spiral out of control into total chaos. Good luck to us all if that is allowed to occur by default.

      However, you, and other quota-bearing chicken farmers can decide that, or significantly influence that decision.

      Do you support CFO and CFC to continue to deny, stonewall, and oppress? If yes, I believe that maximizes the risk for you, me, all other quota-bearing chicken farmers, Small Flockers, and the public in general.

      Do you choose to make your voice heard here, and to CFO and CFC? Do you encourage all other stakeholder that discussions need to occur, and changes to the system need to be contemplated so it is better and sustainable for all?

      This evolving situation will not continue in its current state much longer. Before the pot blows itself up into deadly shrapnel, I encourage you to decide what is in your best interest, talk to other quota-bearing chicken farmers, talk to Small Flockers, and let's get this problem resolved.

      Glenn Black
      Small Flock Poultry Farmers of Canada


Off-topic commercial spam that's posted so as to help sell your wares will be deleted.

On-topic comments, where you behave yourself and play nicely, will remain posted; whether they are pro or con. Everybody needs to fully understand all points of view so that we can find a solution that encompasses everybody's concerns. Give it your best shot.

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