Friday, September 19, 2014

Militarized Canadian Chicken

BC chicken farms have been militarized as a propaganda tool to distract consumers from the real issues.

BC Chicken Marketing Board and BC Chicken Growers’ Association teamed up to produce this propaganda video Chicken Squad.

With the specially built website for the propaganda video, offering behind the scenes, out-takes, and related clips, we are introduced to real people who starred in the video, people who are just like us, but they just happen to be chicken farmers.  All of them seem like very nice people who would be desirable as friends or neighbours.  At the end of shooting the video, they bring in the public for a chicken BBQ, show them the barns, the cute day-old chicks, and the video.  Nice PR propaganda.  I'm sure everybody took lots of pictures and told all their family and friends about their exciting adventure.  Excellent tool to avoid the truth and re-assure the public.

I'm not totally comfortable with them depicting the militarization of chicken factory farms.  I'm especially upset that they use this powerful tool to deceive and distract the public from the real issues.

Their video is rated as "ST: Shocking Truth", but is it?  BC Chicken Growers assure us time and again that chicken farmers have kept both hormones and steroids out of BC's chicken supply for over 50 years.  Where is the objective proof to back up that statement?

The movie repeats and repeats again that ever since 1963 it has been illegal to use steroids or hormones in growing chickens.  Got it.  I understand.  No steroids or hormones allowed.  However, this begs some questions:
  1. What were the chicken farmers doing before 1963 that instigated the government to ban the use of steroids and hormones?
  2. What is your definition of "steroids" and "hormones"?  How do those definitions match up with reality, or are these definitions used to create a loophole so as to deceive, mislead, and distract?
  3. What about the use of antibiotics, chemical, drugs, and other growth promotants in the chicken's feed and water?  Why aren't you making a video about that?

David Janzen, Chairperson of Chicken Farmers of Canada ("CFC") since 2012, in the role of Mentor for the Chicken Squad, says in the video:
"They're trying to ruin our chicken.  You have to stop them.  Don't forget what I've taught you, how we raise real food, real chicken."
Interviewing David Janzen about the propaganda video, Canadian Poultry wrote:

“The most concerning statistic is how many consumers believe chicken contains hormones and steroids,” Janzen says, noting a recent survey showed 64 per cent of British Columbians believe that. The videos therefore clearly spell out that the use of hormones and steroids to produce chicken in Canada has been banned for 50 years.

Misconceptions are particularly prevalent among the young.

“We looked at the issue of trust between consumers and farmers. Do consumers trust the people who are growing their food?” Janzen asks, adding “there was a direct correlation between age and the level of trust. The younger the consumer, the less the trust.”

#ChickenMafia's survey of BC consumers found that 63% of consumers
believe BC chicken contains steroids and hormones
The propaganda facade constructed by the #ChickenMafia has some serious breaches and holes.  People have looked behind the curtain and don't like what they have seen.  No wonder the #ChickenMafia needed a hot, sexy video on social media to shore up their image and protect their monopoly.

Feeding chickens arsenic, banned antibiotics, antihistamines, Prozac anti-depressants, caffeine, and Tylenol have all been standard practices in the mega chicken factories for decades (see Blog posting Choose: Frankenstein Chicken, or Naturally Raised Chicken?).  For the #ChickenMafia who chose to do so, some or all of these chemicals and drugs are fed to the chicken so as to help the millionaire chicken farmers increase their profits, and reduce their risks.  While the use of drugs and chemicals has been standard practice, there may be a few brave chicken factory farms who minimized the use of these drugs and chemicals, or didn't use them at all.  We don't know for sure, as this is a closely guarded secret of the #ChickenMafia.

Little thought is made about the impact these drugs and chemicals have on the quality of the food produced, or the wishes of the consumer.  If there was full truth in advertising, and the #ChickenMafia was forced to disclose the chemical soup that some regularly feed to their chickens, how many shocked consumers would still buy that chicken?

If Dave Janzen and CFC want to produce "real food, real chicken", do they carefully audit and test chicken samples throughout Canada to ensure nobody is sneaking any of these drugs and chemicals into the chickens so as to enhance their profits and reduce their business risk?  If yes, let them disclose the methods used and the data collected.  If not, this Chicken Squad video is mere propaganda meant to deceive, coverup, distract, and mislead the public.

They say it and write it in the video "Chicken growers have kept steroids and hormones out of BC for about 50 years"

Yes, I agree, it has been illegal to use hormones and steroids.  Unfortunately, there's significant money to be made by using illegal drugs, hormones, and steroids.

Is BC's Chicken Marketing Board inspecting and testing for illegal substances in the chicken?  If not, why not?  If they can't back up their statements with objective facts, they shouldn't be making the statements; neither in their video dramatization, nor their website, nor their literature.  Again, where's the proof for the statements being made by the #ChickenMafia?

The whole premise of the video is the questionable portrayal of the militarization of food and farm.  In case the BC #ChickenMafia forgot, this is Canada, not the United States.  Canadians support neither weapons-grade food, nor militarization of farms.

The BC Chicken Growers received a $15,500 government grant from the BC Buy Local Fund to help fund the video.   It is interesting to see how the government gushes over the#ChickenMafia in their press release about this grantVancouver's Humane Society isn't happy about millionaire chicken farmers getting government grants to create misleading propaganda to hide behind so as to avoid animal rights issues.

I assume the video cost somewhere between $50,000 to $200,000 to make.  Our tax dollars part part of the cost, but who gets to pay the rest?  Obviously, they didn't do a door-to-door charitable collection to fund their fun little video.  They likely took it out of their marketing budget, funding it as a way of promoting chicken.  The cost of that video helped raise the price of chicken in the stores, or prevented the prices from dropping.  Either way, were they properly spending the public's money?  After all, it is consumers who eventually picks up the tab for everything the #ChickenMafia does.

While the chicken farmers have fun pretending they're in Hollywood, we get the bill, we have to explain to our kids and/or grandchildren why there are gunfights and explosions at Canadian chicken farms, and the #ChickenMafia avoid the truth again and again.

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