Sunday, June 1, 2014

Which is Worse: US or Canadian Chicken Production ?

On Better Farming, an anonymous poster provided a link that described the challenges in the US chicken industry.

My response to his posting is as follows:

In your posting "US Style Chicken Production" ( see ), you posted a valuable link that discusses the current plight of US chicken farmers.

Many of the Supply Management ("SM") supporters might read that link and say, "US chicken farming in 2014 sounds like the 1960's in Canada.  Thank goodness Canadian chicken farmers had the sense to lobby for Supply Management from 1920's to the 1970's, and not stop until we got the government to act."

As I previously posted, I am somewhat aware of the difficulties faced by US chicken farmers (see ).

I propose to you that before SM arrived in Canada, both the Canadian consumers and the Canadian chicken farmers were being abused by "Corporate Agribusinesses".  The farmers fought back against this tyranny and oppression by "Corporate Agribusiness", eventually receiving SM to protect the Canadian chicken farmer.

When SM got established, "Corporate Agribusiness" was very upset with the government.  "Corporate Agribusiness" had fought a long, steady, and expensive lobbying of the government, but failed when SM got passed in Dec. 1971.

What was "Corporate Agribusiness" to do next, after SM was passed into law?

"Corporate Agribusiness" swallowed hard, and started courting the newly empowered Canadian chicken farmer.  The previous animosity between these two factions slowly dissipated (ie. the hatchet eventually got buried, though not too deeply, as we see now and again).  "Corporate Agribusiness" was crafty, and the chicken farmers were enticed more and more by the trinkets given and enjoyed by "Corporate Agribusiness".  Soon, the chicken farmers were infected by a rising tide of greed, grandeur, and arrogance.

"He prompts you what to say, and then listens to you, and praises you, and encourages you. He bids you mount aloft. He shows you how to become as gods. Then he laughs and jokes with you, and gets intimate with you; he takes your hand, and gets his fingers between yours, and grasps them, and then you are his."
Blessed Cardinal John Henry Newman (1801-1890)

Through all of that, what became of the Canadian consumer and the Small Flockers who were left behind in the pit of oppression?

In the 1950's, both the chicken farmers and consumers were equally abused.  One select sub-group managed to climb up out of the pit of oppression, then turned their back on the consumer and small flockers.  Those who were freshly set free were soon helping the "Corporate Agribusiness" continue abusing all those still left in the pit, if not making the severity and frequency of the abuse even worse. Perhaps it was the Stockholm Syndrome at work, perhaps not.

Either way, how soon the newly powerful chicken farmers forget who was suffering equally with them, suffered beside them, and continues to suffer at the hands of the new master and his whip.

Today, the consumers and small flockers in Canada have virtually no voice whatsoever.  A huge bureaucracy has been created around CFC, CFO, OFPMC, etc., but consumers and small flockers are shunned and cannot participate, nor complain. Neither consumers nor small flockers get to sit at the table when discussions are held on chicken prices, proposing and passing oppressive regulations, or who will receive another gift of free quota.

I wonder why.

The same ugly power, "Corporate Agribusiness", holds all the cards, both in the US and Canada.

In Canada, "Corporate Agribusiness" has a pseudonym, which is "Supply Management".  It's merely a different cut from the same cloth.

If SM-supporters, SM-reformers, and SM-abolitionists can all see the problems in the US, why can't all of them see the same problems under their very noses here in Canada?

Glenn Black
Small Flock Poultry Farmers of Canada

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