Saturday, December 26, 2015

Chicken Traceability

Traceability for our food is terrible to non-existant.  There is better traceability for auto parts than food.  Small Flock Poultry Farmers of Canada ("SFPFC") leads the way to a new world standard for poultry traceability.  We challenge all other food suppliers to duplicate our solution and follow us, if they dare.

Figure 1:   Label on the chicken sold Farm Gate from my farm.
Click on the image for a full size version.  This label provides consumers full
disclosure on their chicken, from hatching to consumer's fork.  The Internet
link (in this case ) and
the scannable QR Code both give the URL containing all the farmer's info
on these chickens.  Scan the QR code with your Smart Phone, or click
on the link and see how it works; instant disclosure at your fingertips.
If you have a QR code on a food label like that shown in Figure 1 for my farm, you can:
  • Scan the QR code using the camera on your Smart phone using a free App on your phone (eg. a Barcode Scanner from GooglePlay or equivalent), or

  • Use WebQR (using your desktop or laptop webcam); or

  • ZXing (crawls a web page looking for an on-line QR code)
Farmers can also hand out hard copies of the document.  However consumers get to the traceability & disclosure document, they can now get full disclosure on the chicken they are thinking of buying.  If done by the Chicken Mafia, that freedom to choose well can be done right at the grocery store meat counter.

Eventually, consumer advocacy groups may pour over the detailed disclosure documents and rank chicken suppliers (eg. Green, Yellow, Red), or the Top Ten for a region, Province, or Canada overall.  This can help consumers quickly decide if they should buy, or keep walking along the grocery store aisle.

Too Much Information?

Some consumers don't want to know the squishy details of what happens to chickens as they grow, and especially when they go to slaughter.  For their sensitivities, too much info makes the meat impossible to eat.  For them, the funny QR code on the label can be safely ignored and put out of mind.  All they have to do is follow the herd (ie. the rest of their family and neighbours) who have done the detailed research and discovered the best chicken to buy.  The sensibilities of the sensitive are protected.

Farmer's Overhead & Paperwork

 Will this proposed system add unfair burdens to small farmers.  I've done it, and believe it is easily managed by all.  The steps are as follows:

Step #
Step Description
Expenses, $
Total, $
Become a member of SFPFC, and obtain a free copy of SFPFC's disclosure & traceability form, and the MS Publisher meat label template.
Fill in the form &/or customize the form for your farm
Upload the disclosure document to your farm’s website.  If you don’t have your own website, obtain a free account (or equivalent) and upload completed disclosure form.  Get the link to your document to share with the world.
Use http://goog.le to create short URL, then a QR code image to that shortened URL.  Copy the QR code image to your computer.
Place the QR code on the label you will apply to your chickens for sale.  Paste the original URL link into the label.  Print enough labels to apply to all your chickens.

The above costs and steps are in addition to the current chicken labeling system of today.  Assuming $10/hr labor rate, if a farmer is producing 300 chickens per year as a Small Flocker, assuming 2.2 kg birds, this traceability system adds $0.047 per kg to the cost of your chicken.  If you are an Artisanal Chicken farmer under CFO's new program, this disclosure form adds $0.0047 per kg. to your costs. If a chicken factory farmer is producing 200,000 birds per year, the farm gate price must rise by $0.00007 per kg.

Once a farmer has done this for their first flock, it becomes much faster & easier for all subsequent flocks to copy & paste the info.

While I am all for reducing overhead as much as possible, to me, this seems to be a reasonable and affordable cost, with huge benefits for consumers.

Canada's Chicken Mafia

Due to a marketing opportunity, CFC and CFO have adopted a "Canadian grown chicken" trademark, but refuse to provide any additional information.  By carefully reading the package, you can find where the chicken was slaughtered, but that the end of the info consumers are permitted to know.  Big national brands market the chicken, but hide which farms were contracted to grow that chicken.  They pretend that all farms, all farmers, and all chicken are identical; a fungible commodity like salt, sugar, and wheat.

Of course, the fossilized multi-millionaire chicken factory owners currently enjoy their secrecy and information vacuum, and don't want educated consumers.  They buy media time to spew their marketing propaganda.  Generalities and platitudes work well when consumers are sleeping and unduly trust their food suppliers.  That is why they have done nothing ever since I originally proposed improved chicken traceability way back in April 2013 (see Blog Posting Trace Your Chicken ).

While propaganda as summarized by Edward Bernays in 1928 was a powerful tool used by the Nazi's Minister of Propaganda Goebbels, and for other evil purposes, it isn't all powerful.  When given a voice, the truth can expose and destroy any propaganda.  I doubt that the Chicken Mafia is more powerful and devious than the Nazis regime.

False Documents

Just because a document happens to state something, it doesn't make it so.  Fraudsters well understand the power of false documents.  However any document is better for consumers than an information vacuum.  Once a document exists, that document can be checked for ambiguities, comprehensiveness, supporting and collaborating evidence from trusted sources, and other evidence or verification.  If a document is found to be silent, ambiguous, or lack comprehensiveness, consumers can complain or refuse to buy.  The complaints and lost sales can continue increasing until the supplier responds by improving the traceability and disclosure document.  Once started, the document can be improved, and then improved some more as customers compare between their current supplier and a better supplier.

If a supplier dares to issue a false or misleading document, the document (and its issuer) will eventually be found out.  At that point, we have a criminal and/or civil offense that can be prosecuted, initiated by a complaint by a government official, a competitor of the fraudster, or a consumer.  A documented traceability and disclosure system can be self policing.

The current vacuum of information can never self police.

Small Flockers Lead The Way

I now have about 400 lbs of chicken, duck, and goose meat for sale to interested persons in my small Northern Ontario community using this traceability system.  With time, I hope other chicken farmers come join me.  If you are a member of SFPFC, you can get a free copy of the form to customize it to your farm.  SFPFC membership has its privileges and advantages!

I believe this proposed traceability is in the best interest of consumers, and is therefore in the long term best interest of chicken producers.

How long will the CFO chicken fossils resist and fight against this trend?

Friday, December 11, 2015


The TPP deal has been signed, but the new Liberal government is still considering if it's a booby trap left behind by the former conservative government.

Western Producer wrote a good article about the milky future of Canada's Supply Management ("SM") system for dairy.  Many economists and Canadian farm leaders (including the Canadian Federation of Agriculture) question the sustainability of SM, and the sanity of continuing in its present form.

Our response to these issues is as follows:

Already, Canadians pay 38% to 300% more than what most of world pays for Supply Management foods (chicken, turkey, eggs, and dairy).

It will soon get worse.

This week, the Food Institute at the University of Guelph announced that food inflation in Canada is the highest in the world, topping 4.1% in 2015. It will be more of the same for the near future (see Agri007's Blog ).

The household savings rate of Canadians has dropped from 30% in 1980 to virtually zero for the last 10 years. In BC. they run at a -7% savings rate.

More and more Canadians have to make the tough choice of starve or freeze, as they can't afford to solve both problems simultaneously.

The 17,000 SM farmers have stolen the rights and freedoms of consumers and all other farmers so that their SM special interest group can become millionaires.

For example, the 60,000 or so small flock poultry farmers in Canada is one group that suffers under the despotic control of the SM system, so that 2,700 SM chicken farmers (just 4.3% of all chicken farmers) can rule the roost. See our Blog for the scary details.

As Canadians are squeezed more and more, do the SM farmers think they will find continued support for their ridiculous price gouging, or the arcane rules of SM?

Between 1990 and 2014, NZ’s non-SM dairy system enjoyed 17 times greater growth than Canada’s SM dairy system, primarily due to the export restrictions attached to our dysfunctional SM system by trade treaties. That has cost Canada and Canadians thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in lost tax revenue.

If Canada's SM system was efficient and effective, it might be worth all these excessive costs. However, SM chronically runs from mediocre to dangerous.

For example, 40% to 80% of Canada's chicken sold at retail stores is contaminated with deadly bacteria, viruses, or other pathogens. Canadian chicken farmers have a feed efficiency 25% behind the world leaders. Somatic cell counts and bacteria in Canadian milk swing wildly from acceptable to terrible, but on average Canadian milk is 21% worse than US milk for somatic cell counts (ie. puss in the milk).

Fortunately for SM farmers (and unfortunate for consumers), few Canadians understand the propaganda and trickery used to keep them asleep and in support of SM.

When some crisis finally wakes them up, Canadians will be shocked at first, then upset that this cheating, corrupt, and dysfunctional SM system was allowed to continue as long as it has.

Glenn Black, President
Small Flock Poultry Farmers of Canada

Will anybody listen before it's too late?

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Excessive Use of Farm Antibiotics

World Health Organization ("WHO") operated by the United Nations, has surveyed 12 countries about the opinions of the general population on farm use of antibiotics and antibiotic resistance.

As a Small Flocker, I rarely use antibiotics to treat any of my animals, mainly because they aren't getting sick and therefore have no need for these dangerous drugs.

Animals, like humans, have all they need to naturally thrive.  If animals (or humans) get chronically sick, this would indicate that the farming system is flawed, and must be improved so that the animals (and farmers) can naturally thrive within that farming system.

It is not sufficient reason to avoid fixing the root cause of the problem (ie. dysfunctional CAFO farming methods), by the use of powerful drugs that force the problem onto everybody else downstream, thereby creating problems which are orders of magnitude larger and more dangerous.

Witness that experts estimate that 75% of all human diseases are caused or contributed to by poor diet or nutrition.  It is today's farming that produces that food raw material. For the most part, it is multi-national huge corporations that process those farmed foods into processed foods that are distributed throughout the world at great profit for a few special interest groups.  If these systems are causing or contributing to 75% of human disease &/or death, is that not reason enough to force change of this dysfunctional system?

Agri007 has provided an excellent review of the survey findings:
"Sixty-four per cent said antibiotic resistance is an issue and 73 per cent said farmers should reduce their use of antibiotics.

“The rise of antibiotic resistance is a global health crisis, and governments now recognize it as one of the greatest challenges for public health today,” says Margaret Chan, director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO).

“It is reaching dangerously high levels in all parts of the world,” she said. “Antibiotic resistance is compromising our ability to treat infectious diseases and undermining many advances in medicine.”

The survey asked 14 questions on the use of antibiotics, knowledge of antibiotics and of antibiotic resistance, and used a mix of online and face-to-face interviews.

It was conducted in Barbados, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria, the Russian Federation, Serbia, South Africa, Sudan and Viet Nam.

While not claiming to be exhaustive, this and other surveys will help WHO and partners to determine the key gaps in public understanding of the problem and misconceptions about how to use antibiotics to be addressed through the campaign.

Some common misconceptions revealed by the survey include:

Three quarters (76 percent) of respondents think that antibiotic resistance happens when the body becomes resistant to antibiotics. In fact bacteria — not humans or animals — become resistant to antibiotics and their spread causes hard-to-treat infections.

Two thirds (66 percent) of respondents believe that individuals are not at risk of a drug-resistant infection if they personally take their antibiotics as prescribed. Nearly half (44 percent) of people surveyed think antibiotic resistance is only a problem for people who take antibiotics regularly. In fact, anyone, of any age, in any country can get an antibiotic-resistant infection.
More than half (57 percent) of respondents feel there is not much they can do to stop antibiotic resistance, while nearly two thirds (64 percent) believe medical experts will solve the problem before it becomes too serious."
Based on these survey results, it is clear that the WHO and governments have some urgent priorities.

Mother Jones suggests that antibiotic resistance and Superbugs kill 700,000 people per year globally, on pace to expand to 10 million deaths per year by 2050.

Don't look to Big Pharma to come to the rescue.  WHO reminded us in 2011 that:
 "Antibiotics…have a poor return on investment because they are taken for a short period of time and cure their target disease.  In contrast, drugs that treat chronic illness, such as high blood pressure, are taken daily for the rest of a patient’s life."
As usual, Big Pharma cares more about their precious profits, not the lives lost.  Since government sides with corporations, not the people, don't expect any help their either.

However, Small Flockers will help.  Here is what SFPFC suggests:
  1. Each government must educate their populations on the scientifically known facts (not speculations, not farm propaganda, nor half baked theories) about farm antibiotics and all forms of antibiotic resistance.

  2. Governments must re-survey their populations to verify and validate their knowledge and opinions on these important issues.

  3. Repeat Steps 1 and 2 until the populations are well informed, and a consensus has developed.  Since 73% are already against excessive use of farm antibiotics, it is doubtful that this sea change will disappear.

  4. Using the newly gained expertise of the public, develop sustainable plans to rapidly improve the situation, ensuring that social, environmental, and financial interests are balanced.
  5. Figure 1:  To be sustainable, all systems must balance the economic, environmental, and social issues.  Of course, that is exactly opposite to what the lobbyists and the special interest groups want to occur, so they spray their propaganda everywhere, and whisper into the ears of the politicians and bureaucrats so they obtain or retain their monopolies and advantages against the best interest of the people and the planet.

.Here is a quote from 1970 that seems like it was said yesterday:

"A society that blindly accepts the decisions of experts is a sick society on its way to death. The time has come when we must produce, alongside specialists, another class of scholars and citizens who have broad familiarity with the facts, methods, and objectives of science and thus are capable of making judgements about scientific policies.  Persons who work at the interface of science and society have become essential simply because almost everything that happens in society is influenced by science."
Scientist-Philosopher Rene DeBos,
Rockerfeller University "Reason Awake:   Science for Man",
Columbia University Institute for the Study of Science in Human Affairs, 1970, 280 pages, P. 227

Monday, November 9, 2015

Flawed CAFO Chicken

The Chicken Mafia promote and use flawed CAFO (Cincentrated Animal Feeding Facilities) as the one and only system for raising chickens.

For example, CAFO methods require or strongly recommend "All In, All Out" methods.  This means than the chicken barns are cleaned, scrubbed, washed, and sanitized so as to remove all microbes from the barn.  The empty barn is then filled with day old chicks.  People coming in are required to wear sterile boot covers and coveralls, some CAFO farms mandate that workers wear surgical masks, ensuring minimal or no chance of introducing microbes (both helpful and pathogenic) to the chicks.  The chicks in this "sterile" environment are raised to full age, then all of the birds are harvested and taken to slaughter.  All the birds move together as one flock.

This concept prohibits the separation of a flock into separate sub-flocks, prohibiting the harvesting of part flocks at separate timing.

The "All in-All Out" concept proposes that biosecurity is optimized under the following scenarios:
  • Preventing new chicks from introducing infections to an existing flock;
  • Existing older flocks likely have disease pathogens, for which the older birds have developed immunity or adequate defenses.  These potential diseases from older birds are prevented from being passed to new day-old chicks who have little or no immunity.
  • Catching a flock introduces pre-used cages into a "sterile" barn; cages that may be disease laden.  Many sub-contractor persons who have just finished catching a flock at another farm and may be carrying pathogens are introduced into a "sterile" barn.  For those birds caught and immediately slaughtered, there is insufficient time for those caught birds to become ill from the catching process, but the stress does taint the resulting meat.  There is also extreme stress to the birds not caught (they see and hear the screams and flapping of the birds that are caught).  They are also exposed to the crates and the catching crew, and have time for those exposures to start incubation.  When stressed, most digestive and other hormonal systems are dramatically changed and disrupted.  Prior medical conditions and pathogens that had been dormant or in remission suddenly come alive with a vengeance (eg. you tend to develop a cold sore on your lip after being emotionally stressed, lack of sleep, or other illness, even though we usually have adaptive immunity and the virus usually lays dormant within our bodies). The catching process significantly exposes the remaining uncaught birds, and they are left to deal with the consequences, often deadly.
If you drink of the CAFO Kool-Aid offered by the Chicken Mafia, all of the above might seem reasonable at first blush.  However, as you dig deeper, the dysfunction and wrong-headed assumptions in the Chicken Mafia's CAFO fairy tale become more and more evident.

Alternatives to CAFO Dysfunction

The alternative viewpoints against "All-In All Out" are as follows:

Chicken eggs are sterile, free from disease, bacteria, or viruses by definition.  If that wasn't true, the eggs would rot and turn bad long before they hatch during a 30 day incubation at warm and moist conditions.

When the fertile & sterile egg eventually hatches, the chick is also free from any microbes.

A "biome" is defined as the complex family of digestive system microbes that live on the feather or skin of the chicken, and/or inside the gut of every member of the flock.  There are more cells within the biome than the cells that make up the chicken (eg. feathers, brain, kidney, skin, etc.).  If it was majority rule, the biome would win, and the chicken would lose.

In natural chicken life, chickens normally eat chicken poo; their own, their parent's poo, or that of siblings or neighbours.  This especially occurs is CAFO chicken factory barns, as the chickens live on top of the poo for their entire life.  You may feel that is gross, but that is the life of chickens, and exists for good reasons.  It's not only chickens.  Dogs will naturally eat horse manure, and sometimes chicken manure.  Pigs will eat chicken manure, or cow dung.  On feedlots of today, 25% to 75% of a steer's diet is chicken manure or litter (manure and wood shavings scraped from a chicken coop).

On the first pass through the digestive system, only about 33% of the nutrients from the food have been extracted by a chicken's digestive system.  The first pass frees up and makes more nutrients bioavailable.  Re-eating chicken manure ensures a flock extracts maximum value from the available food.

When a chicken eats chicken poo, this also inoculates every bird's digestive systems, helping share and re-invigorate their digestive systems (ie. thing probiotic, similar to eating yogurt with an active bacterial culture),keeping all members of the flock "normalized".  If anybody is exposed to a new microbe, they are all soon exposed to it, so they all develop a shared biome of gut bacteria.

By chicks living under the wing of Mom, they are exposed to the biome on Mom's feathers.

By a chick eating a little of Mom's poo soon after birth (a natural and "planned" occurrence), the chick's digestive system is welcomed to the flock, sharing in the wealth of microbes that the flock has developed over the years.

Flocks with bad or inefficient digestive biomes tend to die off, and are replaced by other flocks with better biomes. Darwin's Law of Natural Selection.

When fertilized eggs are snatched from Mom, and incubated in "sterile" environments, there is no biome available to these chicks.  When the day-old chicks are placed in "sterile" barns, they are again denied a natural biome.

The more perfect the hatchery and the CAFO system enforces their biohazard prevention protocols, the more severe and longer in duration is the chick's denial of their biome birthright.
Figure 1: Image from the movie based upon the life of
David Vetter, the "Boy In A Bubble".  David suffered
from severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID),  and had
no viable alternative to his bubble.  Unfortunately, CAFO
chicken farmers choose this type of "biohazard bubble
technology", a questionable approach when many
better alternatives exist for biohazard risks.

Do you remember David Vetter (1971-1984), better known as the "Boy In The Bubble".  David had a congenital disease (SCID) where he had to be protected from every microbe, or die; for David had no immune system.

Why does CAFO chicken technology try to raise millions of chickens inside a biohazard bubble suit?

Would it not be better for all chicks to be allowed to spend some time with their parents, enabling them to receive their birthright biome system from their parents and relatives?

Alternatively, that birthright biome could be cultivated and standardized in the same way that yeast is developed and grown for the bread, beer, yogurt, cheese, and other fermented foods, which is then fed to the chicks soon after they hatch.

Another alternative is the free range or pastured poultry system where the biome is naturally accepted, and shared from one generation to the next by shunning the misguided and dysfunctional systems proposed by CAFO chicken factories.

Dr. Martin Blaser wrote the book Missing Microbes which discusses the growing evidence that modern food and medicine have destroyed the human biome for millions of people, causing or contributing to the growing epidemics of auto-immune diseases (eg. such as Addison's Celiac, Dermatomyositis, Graves', Hashimoto's thyroiditis, Multiple sclerosis, Myasthenia gravis, Pernicious anemia, Reactive arthritis, Rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren syndrome, Systemic lupus erythematosus, Type I diabetes, etc.), obesity, asthma, cancer, allergies, and possibly many others.

Dr. Blaser discusses the questionable practice of agricultural antibiotic use, and the terrible consequences for humans.  It isn't difficult to extrapolate from biome deprived human diseases in his book, to the CAFO chickens who suffer similar fates in CAFO factory barns.

The biome depletion theory (a.k.a. The Hygiene Hypothesis) for humans has been around since 1989 formally, but has been anecdotally discussed for decades before that.  The Hygiene Hypothesis has been independently studied and judged to be statistically credible based on known evidence of allergies and morbidity in humans.  It is suggested a similar effect can be demonstrated in chickens. 

I am not suggesting that farmers should be lazy and leave their animals ankle deep in manure.  If the pads on the chicken's feet are ulcerated from standing in manure all day, that is not what I'm suggesting, and is unacceptable conditions that should not occur.

For example, Merck Vererinary Manual states:

 "True age-immunity does not occur, but older birds are usually more resistant than young birds because of earlier exposure to infection."
"A species-specific immunity develops after natural infection, the degree of which largely depends on the extent of infection and the number of reinfections. Protective immunity is primarily a T-cell response."
However, if CAFO "Bubble Boy" biohazardous isolation techniques are done in a half baked, slipshod, lackadaisical manner, it might achieve acceptable results; as this would approach what I am suggesting is natural.  The more a farmer perfects and is in full compliance with CAFO "Bubble Boy" biohazardous techniques, the greater the risk to humans, and the greater the risk of catastrophic death rates to the chickens if there is one slip-up by the farmer.  Hence we see HPAI (Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza) that kills one third of the US layers flock across hundreds of CAFO farms.

Doesn't seem like CAFO "Bubble Boy" biohazardous isolation techniques can work too well in the real world.

While the chickens are raised inside their biohazard isolation bubble, they must be fed massive doses of antibiotics on a regular basis to help ensure the profits of the CAFO farmer and better "seal" the biohazard isolation bubble around the chicken factories.  Those antibiotics often create Superbugs, and infect people, often fatally; for the retail customers cannot and will not live in a bubble.  Sooner or later, consumers pay the price for this CAFO Craziness.

Dr. Mercola seems to agree, recommending against CAFO chicken.

Why does CAFO chicken factories insist this flawed approach must be used and further perfected?

Like Canada's Supply Management system, CAFO chicken factories are based on flawed, dysfunctional, and dangerous technologies.

Most small flock farms do not attempt to put chicks into biohazard bubbles.  Our chicks get the biome inheritance of their ancestors.  Small flocks live clean and healthy lives.  There is rarely a need to medicate any individual.  There is never a need for massive, continuous dosing with antibiotics.  There is no need for a sterile biohazard bubble around free range or pastured poultry.

Friday, November 6, 2015

HPAI Ban Impact on Broiler Chicken

Canada can, and should learn some lessons from the 2015 HPAI (Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza) infection in the North American poultry industry.  Will we?  That remains a big, important question without a good answer.

What is the impact, on US and Canada, from HPAI and the resulting bans on US chicken by CFIA?

Numerous reports show a devastating impact on the US poultry industry.  One third of US egg layers were lost to HPAI, by either disease or culling to stop the spread of the disease.  Meatingplace reports that 5 major broiler chick hatcheries are breaking eggs (ie. destroying their eggs) rather than hatching them for a market that no longer exists.

At the height of the HPAI outbreak, 57% of US broiler production was banned from Canada due to HPAI.
As of Sept. 1st, 2015 CFIA updated its ban on all chicken associated with 8 remaining US States, removing California, Idaho, Oregon and Washington as being clear of HPAI (Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza).  Today, 34.6% of the US broiler production remains banned from Canada.

It's not just Canada that has banned US chicken.

The export market for US broiler chickens has disappeared due to HPAI bans on US chicken exports. reports that 20% of the prior US broiler chicken export market has disappeared, mainly due to HPAI.  Global Meat News reports that this loss is worth $390 million per year.  Ouch!

Businesss Insider reports that total bans of US chicken (whether the State was HPAI infected or not) have been imposed by China, South Korea and Angola, whose markets were valued at nearly $700 million last year.  Double Ouch!

All it takes is one HPAI biohazardous-ignorant idiot to cause a total ban for the entire nation.  Triple Ouch!

Canada is part of that ban on US chicken.  Table 1 shows 2014 data for the US broiler industry, and the impact of the ongoing Canadian ban.

Table 1:  Broiler chicken production and processing by US States
under HPAI ban by CFIA.  Banned US States (red coloured)
represent 34.6% of US broiler production, 6.2% of US broiler chicken
processing, for a total impact of 9.1% of the US broiler industry.  The States
newly released from the CFIA ban (green coloured) had 23% of the US chicken
production and 4% of the US chicken processing, for a total of 27% of the
total US broiler chicken industry.  HPAI affected States (currently banned and
previously banned) had 57% of US broiler production, 10% of the broiler
processing, for a total of 36% of the total US broiler $ economic impact.  How
will the US broiler industry respond to this ongoing broiler ban by CFIA?
In Table 1, banned US States (red coloured) represent 34.6% of US broiler production, 6.2% of US broiler chicken processing, for a total impact of 9.1% of the US broiler industry total economic impact.  The States newly released from the CFIA ban (green coloured) had 23% of the US chicken production and 4% of the US chicken processing, for a total of 27% of the total US broiler chicken industry.  HPAI affected States (currently banned and previously banned) had 57% of US broiler production, 10% of the broiler processing, for a total of 36% of the total US broiler $ economic impact.

The CFIA ban includes eggs, live birds, meat, feathers, and all non-cooked or non-commercially sterilized chicken products that originate or are processed in the banned US States.  That's pretty comprehensive.  How will the US broiler industry respond to this ongoing US ban by CFIA?

Figure 1:   Map showing the CFIA ban on US chicken due to HPAI.  Green States have been removed
from ban as of 2015-09-01 as they are now HPAI-free.  The red States are still banned as of 2015-09-01.
 The infected States can't ship to non-infected States, and can't export out of the US, so they are left with the consumers and processors within their own State as their only available customers.  The non-banned States can export to Canada, but it's likely a longer way to the Canadian market (likely at a higher cost), but an opportunity to establish a relationship with Canadian customers who lost access to their normal chicken supplier due to the HPAI import ban.

NRDC reports that ten large companies, referred to as "Integrators" (eg. Tyson, Perdue, Pilgrim, etc.), produce more than 90 percent of the USA poultry.  The individual farmers enter into a contract with one Integrator to supply them full grown chickens ready for slaughter.  The Integrator supplies to each farmer the day old chicks, feed, medicine, and expertise; and audits the farmer's performance to ensure it meets the Integrator's contractual requirements.

This Blog previously reported that 85% of all HPAI infections in the USA occurred at CAFO chicken factories, in spite of the vast majority of chicken flocks being small non-CAFO producers (ie. Small Flockers).  I also previously reported that there are strong reasons to believe that CAFO chicken farmers are shooting themselves in the foot, causing or contributing to their HPAI infections due to poor biohazardous protocols by CAFO chicken factories.

Therefore I suggest the following lessons for Canada's Chicken Mafia:

  1. Biohazardous risks have severe economic impacts that go way beyond just the few who become infected.  Everybody suffers, even the nation as a whole.

  2. Canada's CAFO-based Chicken Mafia is its own worst enemy.  CAFO chicken factory technology is significantly flawed for biohazardous risks, and many other reasons.  CAFO needs to be abandoned, or dramatically improved.

  3. Since Canada's Chicken Mafia is content to rape the Canadian public on an ongoing basis, and mostly ignores world export opportunities, the impact of HPAI infections today is mostly limited to the farms that become HPAI infected.  If Canada, through TPP or otherwise, starts to export considerable quantities of chicken, the risk exposure for Provinces (or all of Canada) dramatically increases due to the resulting export ban for an entire region, Province, or Canada-wide.

  4. .Biohazard risks (ie. HPAI infections and all similar incidents) cause an entire industry to be no better than its weakest link.  That means Canadian governments (both Federal and Provincial) and the Chicken Mafia SM bureaucracy need to focus their efforts first and foremost on the weakest links, identifying them, helping them improve, or mitigating their threats to the entire industry by weeding them out of the industry.
  5. Spent chicken importers who cheat on the SM system (ie. pretend it's spent fowl when they're really broilers, to save the 285% import duties) don't play by the rules, they are motivated by the almighty dollar.  If they are willing to mis-label chicken as spent fowl, they are likely willing to mis-label as to the State of origin or processing; thereby bypassing CFIA's HPAI ban. If a producer is in a banned area, they may be willing to take a significant price cut if someone is able to spirit away his banned chicken in the middle of the night; thereby adding additional economic incentive to the Chicken Cheater.  This cheating puts everybody at risk, but Canada's Chicken Mafia and their friends are not concerned about the risk, as the profits are too great, and their personal risk exposure is significantly compensated by the Federal Government, the Chicken Mafia, and/or others.  We can therefore expect to see some significant movements and possibly some significant "incidents" on spent fowl and IREP (Import for Re-Export) chicken while this CFIA ban is in place for US chicken from these 8 remaining States.
Please leave your comments on my five points of learning, and any additional learning points that you think are important.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

CFO's Stonewalling of Artisanal Chicken Answers

Artisanal Chicken:   It's been more than two months since we asked some respectful yet tough questions on of Chicken Farmers of Ontario ("CFO"), and still no answers.

I previously posted about our questions to CFO on their new Artisanal Chicken program (see Blog posting
For more info on CFO's Artisanal Chicken, see here, here, here, and here.
Time is running out.  If Small Flockers don't get CFO's answers, they will soon be forced to make a decision about joining Artisanal Chicken while kept in an information vacuum by CFO.
If we assume that CFO is suddenly and inexplicably acting in the best interest of Small Flockers, why would CFO ignore these valid and reasonable questions, stonewalling, and refusing to answer?  At best, CFO might be too busy on more pressing issues for the Artisanal Chicken launch.  In this is true, how long does it take for CFO to say "CFO received your questions, and will fully answer as soon as possible, but no later than what applicants will need to make an informed decision to join Artisanal Chicken without delay".  If that is the case, why didn't CFO respond in that way in a timely manner?  If the questions inadvertently fell through cracks in CFO's bureaucracy, why didn't CFO respond and fix the oversight when I reminded them at the one month delay point?  I can think of no other method to explain and justify these slim possibilities.  I therefore suggest these and all other assumptions that view CFO's actions (and inactions) through rose coloured glasses are ridiculous and unlikely possibility, and therefore I reject all of these from further consideration.
We are therefore left with the distinct possibility that CFO's Artisanal Chicken is designed to enhance and defend CFO's self serving and dysfunctional position. 

Most Small Flockers must make capital purchases in excess of $5,000 to be ready for Artisanal Chicken.  Should they proceed, hoping and blindly trusting in CFO, that none of the risks materialize?  An un-necessarily risky approach for a Small Flocker.  Alternatively do we shun the Artisanal Chicken opportunity until CFO decides, or is forced, to answer all reasonable questions?

If somebody is a traditional Small Flocker, and considering becoming an Artisanal Chicken Farmer, they need to make an informed decision about the risks and benefits associated with this big decision.

If you decide to go forward, and later learn some critical, hidden consequence, the retreat back to Small Flocker (now Family Food) will be fraught with costs, traps, consequences.  CFO could even decide to arbitrarily bar re-entry into Small Flocker status (now Family Food).  There is no limit to CFO's powers, nor their desire to monopolize the chicken market.

CFO may have designed Artisanal Chicken as a honey pot to attract CFO's enemies and advocates for Small Flockers' rights & freedoms (us and others like us) within the Small Flocker's rank and file.

Stonewalling may indicate that if it isn't CFO's plot to kill off CFO's critics, then it is likely that CFO launched Artisanal Chicken because CFO had their arm twisted by Ontario's Farm Products Marketing Commission, who may have been silently and secretly ordered by Ontario's Ministry of Agriculture, who may have been pushed by Ontario's Cabinet.

It is doubtful that CFO launched Artisanal Chicken on their own volition because they suddenly realized the previous unfairness they caused to Small Flockers and the Ontario public.

Has CFO acted like a petulant teenager who is forced to do some task by their parents?  Will that misguided teenager purposely misinterpret, and do the task in a way that nefariously interprets the parent's instructions; Is CFO's Artisanal Chicken program designed like a teenager's passive aggressive attack against the parent's imposition of a family duty on the teenager?  When the Artisanal Chicken program is eventually exposed for the dead end, dysfunctional trap will CFO say "We were against this Artisanal Chicken idea, we warned them this would occur, so don't blame CFO now that these risks have arrived on your doorstep."

Never forget that this Artisanal Chicken program is likely designed to help CFO's condition, not that of consumers, nor the life of Small Flockers.  It is likely designed to divide & conquer, to douse the flames on the greatest critics of CFO and Supply Management ("SM") in general.  By separating critics into two smaller groups, CFO divides the critical voices, separates the critics on a few key issues, and this can do nothing but strengthen the position of CFO.

Why would CFO want to answer questions that expose their diabolic plan?  It is far better to delay, stonewall, and ignore any questions that might tip your hand and expose CFO's self serving agenda.

And that is what CFO has done.

Until proven otherwise, I suggest all Small Flockers, and all those Artisanal Chicken applicants be wary of CFO's other shoe that will be suddenly dropped at the most dangerous time for the Small Flocker who trusted in the good faith, competence, and purpose of CFO.

My latest email to CFO again requesting answers to critical questions about CFO's Artisanal Chicken program.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Protect the Guilty, or the Innocent?

The Municipality of Abbotsford BC bought chicken manure, then used that manure to attack the homeless persons in their city.  After the public outrage occurred, the City refuses to disclose the identity of the supplier who sold them the manure.  Is this refusal designed to protect the guilty, or the innocent?

I previously posted about this dysfunctional, disgraceful, and disgusting use of chicken manure (see here and here).

4 BC Cities Alleged to Attack the Homeless with Weaponized Chicken Manure

Previously, I reported that 3 different cities had used the disgusting and disrespectful chicken manure against the homeless.  Today, I learned from CBC News that Port Moody was also involved in this terrible scheme.  It is amazing how quickly a bad idea can spread like an epidemic.

Life Cycle Responsibility

CBC News also reports:
In one email, dated June 3, Eric Fong, a City of Abbotsford forestry official, refers to an agreement between officials from Abbotsford's bylaws and roads departments "to spread the chicken manure around [a] tree to deter homeless encampments being set up under it."

He emailed the city's acting director of parks services, James Arden, for approval to go ahead with "the manure dump" the following morning.

Arden approved the request within minutes, noting: "I am glad that we were able to get the product for free and avoid cutting down a healthy trees [sic] to see if that resolves the issue," he added."
One interpretation is that the city received the chicken manure for free, and tried to construct a smoke screen that the use of the chicken manure to get rid of the homeless was better than cutting down the "Honey Tree".

CAFO chicken farms usually have way too much chicken manure, more than they can possibly use as fertilizer on their crop fields.  That sad evidence of unsustainability of CAFO chicken factories has prompted many CAFO chicken farmers to pay cities to landfill the excess manure, often causing toxic concentrated runoff that pollutes groundwater and surface waters.  Does this explain why a CAFO SM chicken farmer "gifted" the manure to the city (whether for horticulture use, or as a weapon against the homeless), glad to get rid of it, thereby saving money for the landfilling of this excess manure?

I suggest that whether the city received it for free, or paid for it, this doesn't absolve the chicken farmer of any responsibility.  I also suggest that wherever the farmer's chicken manure goes, or how it gets there, the farmer has a duty, responsibility, and stewardship as originator and trustee to ensure that manure is used properly, cradle to grave, source to final use, the manure's entire life cycle.

For an example of life cycle stewardship, the Responsible Care Codes of Chemistry Industry Association of Canada state:
"Under the Stewardship Code, companies must regularly review the value, impact and safety of the products that they make, and the services and technologies that they use. They must also work with their business partners – suppliers, distributors and customers – to ensure the stewardship and security of their products over their entire life cycle."
As a specific case example, cancer causing PCB oils will burn and produce heat (as well as toxic smoke).  A chemical company pays some poor person to haul away PCB oils, knowing that these toxic wastes will likely be used as a cheap source of fuel for these poor people's home furnace, thereby placing that poor family and all those downwind at significant risk.  Is that chemical company acting in a socially acceptable manner?

Does it matter if the chemical company writes on the Bill of Sale:
 "Buyer assumes all responsibility for meeting all environmental laws and the safe disposal of these PCB oils hereby sold."
I suggest that the poor person doesn't care what is written on the bill of sale, they just want the oil as an affordable source of heat; even better when the chemical company pays them to take it away.  The poor person just doesn't want to freeze to death in the cold winter, and needs some pocket money too.  The poor person solves two problems all at once.

I suggest the same answer for PCB oil sales to the poor should apply to chicken manure that is likely to be weaponized and used against the homeless.

Source of the Chicken Manure

Yesterday, I found an interview of Mr. George Murray ("GM"), Abbotsford's City Manager.  In that June 10, 2013 interview with the online newspaper Abbotsford Today ("AT"), the  following Q & A occurred:

AT: From what company did the City purchase the chicken feces used to chase the homeless from in front of the Salvation Army?

GM: The City uses chicken manure for horticulture work and went to a local supplier that we have used in the past. I don’t believe it would be fair to the company to name them as they merely provided us product and did not participate in the decision or actions of the City.
Was the "local supplier" a chicken farmer operating under BC's Supply Management rules & regulations, or some intermediary organization (eg. a garden supply, nursery, horticultural store, or someone else)?

George Martin claims that the supplier didn't participate in the city's decision, but did the supplier know what the City intended to do with that chicken manure they bought?

To clarify the morals of this situation, let's consider a hypothetical example.

If someone comes into a sporting goods store wanting to buy a hunting knife, and that customer happens to mention their plan to use that newly purchased knife to stab & kill somebody, what does society expect that shop keeper to do?

Is it any different for a knife or chicken manure, either one usable as a weapon?

If it was you or one of your loved ones who were subsequently attacked by this newly purchased knife, would you be upset with the store that sold your attacker the knife?  Would you have grounds to seek damages against the store clerk and the store that sold the attacker the knife?

It is unlikely that the chicken manure used against the homeless had been purchased weeks or months before.  Chicken manure naturally starts to compost as soon as it leaves the back end of the chicken.  After a few weeks or month, aged chicken manure doesn't stink as bad as when it's fresh.  Therefore the city wouldn't be interested in aged chicken manure.  The city's evil plan required the maximum levels of stink and gross-out capabilities.  That's the role of fresh chicken manure.  By definition, fresh chicken manure is biohazardous.

If the supplier had been a long term supplier of fresh chicken manure for city flower gardens, and it was Abbotsford who routinely composted that manure before use on the city's flowers, then this is a different scenario.  In that case, the city may have secretly planned to buy an extra load to attack the homeless, and diverted that fresh load, bypassing the usual composting, sending it directly to the homeless encampment so as to maximize the effect of this biohazardous weapon.  In that case, assuming the supplier had no way of knowing the evil that the city intended, I don't think the supplier is to blame.

However, if the supplier of the chicken manure knew, or ought to have known what the city intended to do, then there is a conspiracy.  In that case, when George Martin refuses to name the supplier of the chicken manure, he is protecting a con-conspirator.

Why would George Martin protect a co-conspirator?  Perhaps the co-conspirator knows too much, and if the city rats him out, the co-conspirator has no further reason to remain silent, and might tell all the gruesome details to the authorities.  In that case, it could become much worse for George Martin, and/or the city.  Perhaps George Martin decided (or was pushed) to fall on his sword so as to protect all the other guilty parties.

Is it more probable that the chicken manure supplier is an innocent party, or a co-conspirator.  I believe  it is more likely the supplier is a co-conspirator.

Anyone using chicken manure will soon learn that fresh manure is very "hot", meaning it will burn the plants, killing them due to the highly concentrated nutrients present in fresh manure.  Chicken manure must be composted for 1 to 6 months before it can be used as a horticultural fertilizer.  Alternatively, fresh chicken manure can be roto-tilled into a flower bed and it can compost in the bed for 1 to 6 months before the flower beds are planted.

If the city was buying chicken manure for horticultural purposes, somebody (eg. either the city, or the supplier) was composting the manure before it could be used as a fertilizer.  As it composts, the level of stink drops significantly, making it better as a fertilizer, but worse for the city's new found nefarious purposes.

Therefore, if the city was looking for a disgusting and stinky weapon for use against the homeless, the city wanted extremely fresh manure, not composted.

If the city had been buying composted manure for years, then suddenly showed up wanting the freshest, most stinky manure possible, wouldn't you be curious as to why the sudden change?  If the supplier asked, the city might have told the supplier "Don't ask, you don't want to know".  Perhaps the city told the supplier all about the city's evil plan, and they all had an evil laugh about it together.  Whether the supplier knew, or turned a blind eye so they wouldn't know the details, either way, there seems to be culpability there.

However, if the city was secretive about their evil plans, and the supplier truly didn't know, and the supplier had no reasonable means to know, then perhaps the identity of that supplier should be protected.  In that case, it would be prudent and proper for someone other than the guilty city from making that determination and decision.

So who should be investigating the involvement of the supplier of the chicken manure?

I notifed BC's Fraser Health, Ministry of Environment, and Ministry of Agriculture about my concerns about biohazardous chicken manure being used as a weapon against the homeless.

On 2015/10/27 (just 2 days after my first contact), Rebecca Middleton of Fraser Health informed me:
 "If you have concerns that chicken manure is being used outside of common agricultural practice, the Ministries of Agriculture and the Environment should be alerted. They will be able to address your concerns best."
 My response:
Thank-you for your prompt response.
My purpose is to ensure that this (and all similar risks) never happen again.

I have already contacted BC's Ag and Environment ministries, and await their reply.  My concern is that all three of you may point to the other as the one who is responsible, thereby ensuring that nobody is responsible to investigate.

There seems to be reasonable & probable grounds for believing the chicken manure used was infectious and biohazardous (see link to Blog, previously provided).  Does Fraser Health have other evidence that contradicts this prima facie evidence?  If so, please disclose it.

Assuming Fraser Health does not have other evidence to the contrary, could you please explain why Fraser Health is unwilling or unable to investigate the use of a weaponized infectious material against humans?
On 2015-11-12, I received the following response from Public Health Agency of Canada:
"Although we appreciate being made aware of this matter, it does not come under our purview. The Agency is a federal government department responsible for promoting and protecting the health of Canadians at the national level. We suggest that you contact Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada at this link:"
To me, it seems the homeless are Canadians, and the weaponized chicken manure put their health at risk.  If someone is threatened by a biohazardous substance used as a weapon, I assume that is something that falls under the purview of an agency charged with the responsibility of protecting the health of Canadians.  Since this disgraceful conduct has happened not once, not twice, not three times, but a full four incidents that were separate and apart, that seems to be more than a fluke.

Does weaponized chicken manure have to be used a few thousand times, or a dozen people die before some governmental agency adds it to their priority list?

Around in a circle we go, everybody pointing at the next as the one to contact about this disgraceful use of chicken manure as a weapon.  Nobody sticks up their hand, nobody says we are responsible to ensure these terrible incidents never happen again.  Unfortunately, everybody looks the other way.

Hopefully we will soon receive the responses of the other bureaucracies.

Solving Homelessness

Rather than attacking the homeless with weaponized chicken manure, why can't municipalities sole the homelessness problem?

Medicine Hat, Alberta was the first Canadian city to do just that.

What about the extreme cost of giving every homeless person a place to stay?  How could a city afford to do that?

A homeless person causes about $100,000 per year in additional costs to society (police, shelter, food banks, health care, dysfunctional behaviours associated with living on the streets such as drugs, crime, etc.).  Once a homeless person has a place of their own, the costs to society drop to just $20,000 per year, one fifth the cost of living on the street.

Save the chicken manure for use as fertilizer, and save $80,000 per year per homeless person.

What a deal!

Unfortunately, there is significant stigma attached to homeless persons.  Recently a charity pretended they were going to install a new shelter in Leaside (a suburb of Toronto, on Eglington Ave E, NE of the downtown, one of the oldest and most popular suburbs).  Hidden cameras and messages left at the hotline showed how upset the neighbourhood became.