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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Request for Re-Consideration

OMAFRA Appeals Tribunal previously decided to summarily dismiss our appeal before it was heard.  We have now filed a written request within the 30 day deadline, asking the Tribunal to re-consider its decision to summarily dismiss our appeal.

This is somewhat of an act of desperation.  It is unclear if a Tribunal is able to self-correct any errors that it may create from time to time.  In this case, that system of correction will be put to the test.

I complain about:
  • The lack of clarity, and the numerous ambiguities throughout the decision.
  • The silence of the Tribunal on the key case law that is relied upon.  Did the Tribunal agree with these relevant case law?  Do they feel bound by it, that their decisions must comply and follow the case law established by higher courts of law, up to and including the Supreme Court of Canada, or can they safely ignore these cases, and strike out on their own path?  I believe the Tribunal should have commented on each case relied upon, saying how the Tribunal interprets that case, and how the Tribunal applies it to this case.  Note that I, as Appellant, was the only one to use and refer to any case law.  Perhaps that is why the Tribunal ignored the case law.
  • Similar to the case law, I made a number of arguments and explanations to explain and justify my positions.  All or most of these were silently ignored by the Tribunal.  I wonder why?  I believe the Tribunal should have provided reasons why they ignored or disagreed with those arguments, or why they were insufficient to convince the Tribunal to adopt my position.
  • The Tribunal is supposed to decide all the issues before it.  There were a number of issues and motions that I made that were not decided.  Some of those motions could have cured the alleged defects that the Tribunal complained about.  Rather than considering those motions, the Tribunal ignored them.  I want to know why those motions were not considered.
  • How the punishment doesn't fit the alleged offense(s).  The Tribunal has used the legal equivalent to the nuclear bomb to swat a pesky fly.  The Tribunal said they feared that I would use this appeal as a toe-hold to attack the entire Supply Management system.  It seems I am punished for what I might do, rather than what I have actually done, or what I should have done in the past.  This is tantamount to thought police, or pre-crime punishment as in the movie Minority Report. The Tribunal says they are in control of their Tribunal.  Then let them control their process during the hearing of my appeal, so their fear isn't realized.  However, let the appeal proceed on the proper hearing about the illegal and unjust  stripping away of the rights and freedoms of Small Flockers by the out-of-control CFO.
  • Reasonable apprehension of bias against one of the Tribunal's panel members, and the acquiescence or abdication or demurring of the other two panel members, instead of stepping in and helping prevent or correct these obvious biases and unfair actions against our appeal.
  • Other issues
So what do you think happens next?  Will the Tribunal be able to self-correct its flawed processes?  Will we have to proceed to the second-last step in this tortuous path to justice?

Read our request for the Tribunal's re-consideration of our valid complaints against CFO and the #ChickenMafia here:

Request for Re-consideration 78.47 kB 14 pages  

For the record, here is our Blog posting on the Tribunal's decision where they refuse to hear our appeal

Case Dismissed: The Appeal Tribunal has Spoken

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Request Tribunal's Reconsideration

I am planning to request the Tribunal to re-consider its decision to dismiss my appeal as frivolous, vexatious, and bad faith.

The Tribunal ruled on Sept. 24th, 2014 that my appeal for the rights and freedoms of Small Flockers would be summarily dismissed before any of the issues could come to trial (see Blog posting  Case Dismissed: The Appeal Tribunal has Spoken).

I have just finished the draft, and look forward to your feedback and suggestions to improve this draft before submission to the OMAFRA Appeals Tribunal.  Here is the draft:

Request for Re-Consideration  16 pages   49.8 kB

I have until close of business on Friday Oct. 24th to get it submitted, so we don't have much time.

I appreciate your effort to find the time to carefully read it and share your ideas.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Trouble with Antibiotics

PBS Frontline has done a hard hitting documentary on the risks and costs associated with excessive and improper use of antibiotics.

Women in Flagstaff AZ were showing up at Doctor's offices and hospital Emergency Rooms with urinary tract infections ("UTI") that were not easily cured.  The infections were resistant to multiple antibiotics.  When scientists looked at the proximity between those women and CAFO (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations) for pork, they found a significant correlation.

If you lived near a CAFO, you had a high likelihood of developing a drug-resistant UTI.

Drug resistant UTI's take significantly longer to cure.  While searching for the right antibiotic by lab tests, the infection engulfs the bladder, and starts its nasty work on the kidneys.  At the kidneys, the bacteria soon crosses over to the blood, often leading to septicemia.  That's when you have a significant risk of quickly dying.

To confirm the link, raw meat samples were collected from local grocery stores over a 1 year period.  Those samples were tested for bacteria, and identified by their DNA sequencing.  Samples of the UTI infectious agents sampled from the women's UTI's were also sequenced.  The scientists soon discovered more than 100 matches of the DNA fingerprints between the grocery store meats and the women's drug resistant UTI's.

Meat industry spokespersons and lobbyists said this DNA matching between grocery store meat and UTI's was mere coincidence, or suggested that nobody really knows how the women got those infections, nor how the meat came to have similar bacteria, and this was inconclusive evidence.

When PBS put those statements before the scientists who found the correlaation, the lobbyists' propaganda was soundly rejected.  The scientists said all the other possible explanations are vastly improbable.  The women likely shop for the meat, the meat is contaminated with drug-resistant bacteria, the women become contaminated from the meat, and eventually, a UTI occurs.

Pretty simple explanation of the scientists' data.  Occum's Razor seems to apply, and the scientists' explanation seems to pass.

The evidence of the cost and consequences from improper use of antibiotics on farms is growing every day.  How long will the strong farming lobby be able to resist and deny the risks they create for the general public?

In the second part, we see the scary story of a hospital having an outbreak of a Superbug infection at an Intensive Care Unit ("ICU").  Many patients died during the 6 months that they valiantly fought to get rid of their uninvited, deadly guest.

Watch and learn from PBS' documentary:  The Trouble with Antibiotics

SM Screws the Poor

Another study has found that Canada's Supply Management is a regressive policy which hurts the poor significantly more than the rich.  Canadians in major Canadian cities are forced to pay up to 69% more for whole chickens that the nearby US cities.

Canadian Public Policy ("CPP") has accepted the manuscript of Ryan Cardwell, Chad Lawley and Di Xiang; all Professors of Economics, Department of Agribusiness and Agricultural Economics at the University of Manitoba.  That journal is expected to come out in December 2014.  In the interim, the Winnipeg Free Press has summarized the soon to be published paper.

Ontario Farmer added:
"They say the price differences amount to 2.3 per cent of the annual income of Canada’s poor people, but only half of one per cent of annual income for the rich.
This means supply management is what economists call a 'regressive' government policy, hitting the poor harder than the rich."
Whole chickens should be ubiquitous, the lowest common denominator, the primary resource from which all other chicken products are derived.  As such, it should be the cheapest, generic form of chicken.  How do we explain that what should be the cheapest, generic form of chicken has a 69% price differential between Canada and US, just on the other side of the border?

The SM boys are quick to shoot holes in the papers data and arguments.  For example, the #CHickenMafia claim that SM has been unfairly singled out, for no matter what the poor buy, it will consume a larger portion of their available income.

That is the reason I took a different approach.  Rather than comparing the rich to the poor, I compared each strata to themselves over time.  Chicken has become up to 31.7% less affordable for minimum wage earners between 1995 and 2005 (see SFPFC's Blog Posting "Unaffordable Chicken In Ontario" ).  Notice that the SM boys haven't attacked that sad statistic because there is no easy method to dismiss.  I'm sure the #ChickenMafia research labs are toiling night and day to find a propaganda solution to that sad fact that I have uncovered.  In the interim, it exposes the Supply Management System for what it is; a method to make a few millionaires from the price gouging paid by all Canadians.


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Skeptics Live Forever

There are skeptics and deniers of strong scientific evidence located everywhere.  Supply Management ("SM") is no exception.

How long will supporters of Canada's
Supply Management stick their heads
in the sand to avoid hearing and seeing
the truth?
You don't have to be the first person to believe every rumor that comes your way.  That is the definition of being gullible and naive.

However, there comes a time when the evidence mounts and mounts to a point that continuing to deny borders on insanity.  That is what scientists call Cognitive Dissonance:
In psychology, cognitive dissonance is the mental stress or discomfort experienced by an individual who holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values at the same time, or is confronted by new information that conflicts with existing beliefs, ideas, or values.
Leon Festinger's theory of cognitive dissonance focuses on how humans strive for internal consistency. When inconsistency (dissonance) is experienced, individuals tend to become psychologically uncomfortable and are motivated to attempt to reduce this dissonance, as well as actively avoiding situations and information which are likely to increase it.
 How does this apply to Canada's Supply Management System?  It appears that we have not yet reached a state of Cognitive Dissonance for Supply Management in Canada.

Go back to sleep, it's not yet time to wake up!

To prepare for the awakening (or to hasten its arrival), I have presented evidence suggesting there are 2.7 deaths per year of Canadians that are caused by SM chicken contaminated by salmonella that is regularly sold at retail stores in Canada (see SFPFC's Blog Posting 2.7 Canadians Die Each Year from SM's Contaminated Chicken   and discussions about this evidence on Better Farming.

Those 2.7 deaths/yr from Canadian SM chicken was based upon both US and Canadian data.  I have openly declared from the very beginning my use of US data due to the lack of Canadian data.  Not everything is identical in both US and Canada, but they are often similar.  Until we have the necessary data for Canada, the US data can help us estimate the likely effects and risks on a qualitative or approximate basis.

In spite of this, the skeptics have totally rejected all evidence against SM's questionable methods as useless. It appears that the skeptics feel that SM Canadian chicken is perfect, the best in the world, and are unwilling to consider any suggestion to the contrary.

I agree that there is some room for doubt in these food safety risk assessments; there always will be.  However, there is a concept called "Precautionary Principle", first developed in Germany in the 1980's.

As to application of the Precautionary Principle for ensuring the health of Canadians, Health Canada says:
 "The Health Canada Decision Making Framework treats the concept of precaution as pervasive. As such it does not require extremes in the actions taken. Instead, risk management strategies reflect the context and nature of the issue, including the urgency, scope and level of action required."
Shouldn't the Precautionary Principle also be applied to SM's practices?

There is also the principle of Occam's Razor, which says the best answer is usually the simplest answer with the fewest assumptions.

In spite of these two principles, there are those who still assume and believe in geocentrism (ie. the Earth is at the centre of our solar system, not the Sun).  This argument started around 2,000 BC and continues to today, over 4,000 years and counting.

Somehow, I don't think the SM debate will end any time soon.

There are also those skeptics who believe the Earth is flat (ie. not a globe, see Flat Earth Society)

DDT was seen as a wonderful pesticide for the first 14 years (1948 - 1962), but slowly the mounting scientific evidence suggested otherwise.

Other skeptics still insisted in sworn testimony before the US Congress in 1994 that the scientific proof was far from conclusive as to whether cigarette smoking caused lung cancer or addiction.  That was 38 years after Doll & Hill's study of British physicians in 1956 first offered scientific evidence of what was suspected for 400 years before that.

To be a skeptic is every individuals choice, to believe as they will.  Soon, SM Believers may be added to the deniers of other scientific evidence listed above.  We'll have to wait to see for sure.

Do you believe it is OK for the masses being doomed to suffer as long as there is at least one person left who chooses to deny the overwhelming body of evidence against SM?

I believe there is now sufficient scientific evidence to take action to improve SM chicken so as to reduce the risk and cost of this terrible system.

Further denial of the available scientific evidence delays the solution, and increases the risk and suffering for all.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

2.7 Canadians Die Each Year from SM's Contaminated Chicken

Based on scientific, objective evidence, we can reasonably conclude that approximately 2.7 Canadians are killed each year by contaminated chicken purchased in Canada.  Since the Supply Management system has about 99.96% market share, this government regulated, approved system run by the #ChickenMafia can (and should) be held fully responsible for those needless deaths.

This follows on my previous Blog posting "Deadly Canadian Chicken" which explored food-borne illness, and how poultry has been in the top 3 sources of food poisoning for decades.

The calculation of 2.7 Canadian deaths per year from SM poultry is based on the following data from objective scientific sources:

  1. The deaths from foodborne illness are not always the direct cause of death.  Sometimes people die from the complications caused or contributed to by the food poisoning.  For example, one 26 year old man died of a heart attack that resulted from a severe bout of Salmonella Heidelberg food poisoning (Ref. 1).  However, there is no mistaking the signs that this was food poisoning that started the problems.
     
  2. There are 35.54 million Canadians as of 2014 (Ref. 2)
  3. There is no readily available statistics on salmonella foodborne illnesses in Canada, but we can use US data as a proxy until Canada can produce our own data.  The US data says there are 0.9 cases per year of salmonella per 100,000 population, of which 71% are hospitalized and 5% died. (Ref. 3)
     
  4. US Centre of Disease Control has tracked cases of foodborne illness from 1998 to 2008, and found that between 10.1% to 29.2% of all cases of Salmonella poisoning were caused by contaminated poultry (Ref. 4)
  5. The geometric mean of the range 10.1 to 29.2 is 17.17%
  6. The calculation is as follows:   (35.54 Million)/(100,000)*(0.05)*(0.1717)=3.05 Canadians killed each year from poultry contaminated by Salmonella.
  7. Canadians consume 4.2 kg/yr/person of turkey, and 31.2 kg/yr/person of chicken.  Therefore chicken represents 88.14% of the poultry marketshare on a weighted average.  Therefore Canadian chicken is responsible for 2.7 deaths each year from Salmonella poisoning and/or the resulting complications.
  8. Since the SM #ChickenMafia has over 99% marketshare, and their chicken is 10 times more contaminated than the chicken raised by Small Flockers and processed on the farm for personal consumption (see Blog posting Hope for the Mega Meat Manufacturers? where I compare the chicken factory 3,600 CFU vs. the Small Flocker on-farm result of 133 CFU) , it seems reasonable to attribute at least 99% of these deaths to the #ChickenMafia.  On a weighted average CFU count, #ChickenMafia puts out 99.99852% of the total contamination into the marketplace, just 0.001478% by Small Flockers.
  9. Therefore Canada's #ChickenMafia (Chicken Farmers of Canada, Chicken Farmers of Ontario, and all the other provincial boards) are fully responsible for 2.7 deaths per year from chicken contaminated with Salmonella.
  10. Note that chicken is contaminated by many more pathogens than just Salmonella, so the real problem is much worse than what has been calculated here.
So what is the government going to do about an approved, highly regulated system that kills 2.7 Canadians each year?

I previously raised the issue of contaminated food, contrary to Canada's Food & Drug Act, but the Federal bureaucrats ignored the issue (see Blog posting "If It's Contaminated, Is It Food?").

Does it make it any easier or better now that we have reasonably estimated that 2.7 Canadians per year lose their life while both the Federal and Provincial bureaucrats fiddle?

If it was one of your family members killed by contaminated chicken knowingly sold in Canada, would that be OK with you?





Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Deadly Canadian Chicken

Is Canadian chicken safe?  Seems like a simple question, but there is a huge debate about the correct answer to that simple question.

Better Farming posted a story in June 2014 on the increasing market share of chicken, consumer's desire to buy Canadian chicken, and the affordable chicken prices.  I found that posting recently, and added some comments about "affordable chicken" being #ChickenMafia propaganda.  An anonymous poster questioned my concerns about retail chicken prices, as they felt that CFO doesn't control retail prices.  I responded and again with some facts, trying to show that CFO had absolute power to ensure affordable chicken if they chose to exercise that power. Stephen Thompson jumped into the conversation in support of my position that Supply Management ("SM") regularly takes advantage of the Canadian consumer. I decided to add some objective evidence previously researched for this Blog on the unaffordability of chicken in Canada when compared to LICO (Low Income Cut-off poverty level) and Ontario's Minimum Wage. An anonymous poster complained about the use of minimum wage.  I responded with justification of the use of Minimum Wage as a benchmark, and reminded people that the unaffordable and poor quality chicken in Canada was causing or contributing to Canadians are dying every day.  Of course, those statements were jumped and resisted here and here, supported hereResponding to the Cost of Production ("COP") issue, I shared the secrecy that CFO uses for setting the farm gate price for chicken.  Raube Beuerman reminds the previous poster that the issue was chicken feed costs, not all costs nor all animals.  Then, the worm on the hook is dropped into the stream of questions, asking for me to justify my statement that poor quality, high priced chicken was causing and/or contributing to deaths in Canada.

With all these postings, it's a wonder any farming is getting done in Canada.

Having had the door opened, I shared the source of the disease and death from Canadian chicken.  I told them about the 4 million cases of foodborne illness in Canada, the chronic contamination of chicken with deadly pathogens, the chemical soup that is fed to the chickens so as to reduce the risk and costs of the #ChickenMafia, and the Frankenstein meat that results, with high Omega-6:Omega-3 ratios worse than slow grow and pastured poultry.

Stephen Thompson replied  that there was only weak, circumstantial, or no proven relation between Canadian chicken and disease or death.

In response to Stephen's doubt about cause-effect for deaths from Canadian chicken, I supplied the following (the central theme of this Blog posting):
The cause-effect data for Canada is not readily available at this time. CFIA has started  a Pathogen Reduction Initiative (PRI) for chicken, and is studying the baseline contamination level.
This Canadian program started in 2012, and follows the same format as what the USDA completed in 2008.  The USDA study showed a major problem for raw chicken, mainly from salmonella and campylobacter.  Unfortunately, Canada is 4 yrs behind times.

CDC estimates that 22% of all foodborne illness and 29% of foodborne deaths come from contaminated meats.

Chicken is chronically contaminated, while pork and beef are usually periodically contaminated.

CDC estimates that poultry caused somewhere between 5% to 20.6% of all foodborne illnesses in the USA between 1998 to 2008 (see Table 3 ).  That analysis is based on 4,589 illnesses during that period.

Poultry is blamed for 9.8% of all foodborne outbreaks and illnesses, 11.5% of all foodborne illnesses that required hospitalizations, and 19.1% of all foodborne diseases that resulted in death.

Until Canada catches up on solving the lousy Canadian chicken issue, I suggest that these US percentages are applicable for Canada, until proven otherwise.  Do you agree?  If not, why not?

Do you still insist that my previous posting was "overly dramatic"?

Is my previous posting so easily dismissed as exaggeration and hyperbole?

If you base your opinion on other data that conflicts with this data, please provide the links and explain further so we can all better understand the source and justification for your jaded doubts.

Have I convinced you that we have a problem with poor quality chicken in Canada?

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Near Death Experience for Supply Management

Upstarts in the Conservative Party of Canada ("CPC") tried to upend the dogmatic support of Supply Management, a new first.  The motion to change policy was defeated for now, but the voices for change are growing, both with the party, as well as outside.  It is unknown where the growth of Anti-SM will advance the fastest, to first hit critical mass; whether within or outside the CPC.
Does the Conservative Party of Canada have a
"Fear of Change" for Supply Management?

I learned of this news item from the Chicken Farmers of Canada ("CFC") in their Annual Report for 2013, on page 39.  Therefore I'll let the CFC tell their story first, before I give my 2 cents worth.

"Chicken Farmers of Canada Chairman Dave Janzen and staff attended the 2013 Conservative Policy Convention held in Calgary from October 31st to November 2nd.

A contentious policy motion on Supply Management was brought forward in the economic policy session by the Electoral District Associations of Medicine Hat, Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont, Calgary Southeast, and Calgary—Nose Hill.  It recommended a change in wording (and policy) that would move Conservative Party support away from supply management and towards a transition to something new. The motion was opposed by the Minister of Agriculture, Gerry Ritz, and a group of Ontario MPs, including Gary Schellenberger.  Minister Ritz was the first to speak and came out very strongly against the motion.  He defended supply management and stated that it does not stifle innovation, is not a barrier to trade, and is not responsible for inflated prices.  Many other MPs also spoke in support of supply management and voted against the motion, including the Minister of International Trade, Ed Fast.  In the end, the motion was voted down 182 to 42, dying in the economic session before it could make it to the Policy Plenary Floor."
 Well!  Wouldn't that have plucked the chicken had that proposal passed.

Assuming everybody voted, there were 224 delegates in total.  If only 42 voted in favor, that's just 18.75% of them in favor of moving away from Supply Management ("SM").  Sounds like the lunatic fringe, but wait, there's more to this than meets the eye.

In reality, they are just about ready to be winners of their motion.  Here's why.

Defeat, or Almost Victory?

All great ideas start with one lunatic who asks why, then doesn't like the answer received.  That lunatic pesters and bugs, and asks more foolish questions, until somebody else sees the light of day.  Now we have a movement, for we have a leader and a follower.  When we have gained our first follower, the movement has doubled in size.  Doubling is what all great movements are all about.

The leader and follower of their movement keep pressing their issues.  Eventually, they get 2 additional followers.  They just doubled in size again.

For the CPC, they had 42 people convinced on the evils of SM in spite of the biggest guns the party coming to bear at point blank range to support SM in its moment of need.

42 votes in favor is equivalent to 6.39 doublings (eg. 1,2,4,8,16,32,64,...).  To get 50%+1 vote so as to have a majority, they need 7.8 doublings.  Therefore, in terms of doublings, which is the correct measurement for all movements that must grow exponentially or die, these lunatic upstarts are already 81.9% towards their goal.  If these lunatic upstarts tripped and fell over in the right direction, they'd be across the finish line with their majority.

Does the #ChickenMafia realize how narrowly they dodged the bullet?  No wonder they sent their biggest gun, David Janzen, CFC Chairman to the PC Convention for 3 days of schmoozing with their political masters.

Champagne Time, CFC?


While the CFC and all SM people can dismiss these people as lunatic upstarts, I'm not so quick to dismiss them.  CFC said,

"Since 2011, there has been an increasing amount of sustained and largely negative attention to Canada's supply Management System on a scale to which we are unaccustomed."
-


Maybe CFC is ready to pop the champagne corks to celebrate their defeat of the lunatic fringe.  Maybe that's why the CFC and most of the provincial SM boards have teamed up to respond to the growing tsunami against SM in Canada.  You know they're worried when CFC:
  • Hire a media consultant;
  • Get busy on the social media portals of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterist, and others; and
  • Install a full-time person as Public Relations Officer.
Don't give up now, you 4 Alberta CPC Riding Associations, for the fight has just begun.  Those 4 upstart CPC riding associations in Alberta need to be congratulated for their effort and fortitude to go against the current policy because it's the right thing to do.

You can send these 4 lunatic CPC Riding Associations your heart-felt thanks for trying to improve things for Canadians:

CPC Electoral District Associations who lead Anti-SM Campaign