Monday, July 21, 2014

Petition Partners

The appeal paperwork has been filed just before the deadline.  Next, we need Petition Partners to help our cause.

I have drafted up a petition to be delivered to the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Appeals Tribunal, encouraging them to study the available evidence concerning the Small Flock Regulation of Chicken Farmers of Ontario ("CFO"), then have the courage to do what is in the best interest of Ontario.

Petition for Small Flockers Appeal, Rev. 1   
WE the undersigned petition the Tribunal as follows:

Carefully consider all applicable evidence, then improve CFO’s Small Flock Regulation so that:

1) CFO must first serve the greater good of the public, before serving the special interest goals of CFO and its members;

2) Small Flocker’s rights and freedoms are protected;

3) Adequate quota exemption is provided to small flock chicken farmers so they can be a viable alternative to the quota-based mega chicken factory system operated under CFO.

Also, the Tribunal is petitioned to recommend other improvements to Ontario’s Chicken Supply Management System.

That won't be easy for the Tribunal Panel to do.

They need encouragement to make a stand for the greater good, rather than the self-serving prior behaviours of Chicken Farmers of Ontario ("CFO") and the Chicken Mafia.

They need to be reminded that these issues are important to most people in Ontario, not just a lone nut with a Blog.

I had the bravery and empathy to start this issue off.  If I remain a "lone nut", then this issue will die with me, no matter how dedicated I may be.

Followers have an even more important role.  A follower changes a "lone nut" into a "Leader".  Here is a short 3 minute video that explains the concept of Leaders and Followers.

Dare to follow.

What I need are Followers, many Followers, who will download this Petition, print it off, sign it themselves, for it is extremely difficult for the first person to sign a blank Petition, then take it with them everywhere they go.  Explainto your family, friends, neighbours why you decided to be a Follower, and encourage them to follow too.

When you have a full Petition, mail it, scan and email it, or Fax it to me.  I will include it in the package that I send to the Tribunal.  Ten thousand signatures would be nice.  If every Follower did one Petition each, with 39 signatures per Petition, we need 256 Followers.

Will you be one of my Followers?  I need your help.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Appeal #2 Submitted

I finally finished drafting my Notice of Appeal #2, or more correctly, it finished me.  Now the ball is in the court of Chicken Farmers of Ontario, and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Appeals Tribunal.

The Tribunal said the only issue I was allowed to bring up was the small flock regulation.  Today, the average small flock in Ontario is just 57 birds.  That 57 birds will feed one family for a year.  Few small flockers bother growing for their neighbours anymore.  Too many regulations, and at 300 birds maximum, it isn't worth the effort to try and run it as a business for most sane people.

This appeal is about freedom for small flockers.  We want our freedom from CFO, but will settle for 2,000 birds per year limit.

Here are the files:

Notice of Appeal      98 pages, 816 kB, Adobe Acrobat X pdf

Affidavit of Glenn Black      5 pages, 592 kB, Adobe Acrobat X pdf

Notice of Constitutional Questions      6 pages, 26 kB, Adobe Acrobat X pdf

I had 60 days to re-draft all of this.  I invested the first bit of that time to decompress, assess if I was ready to try again, and get some personal stuff done that had been abandoned in favor of this project.

I had limited time, knowledge, and budget, so others may have been able to have done a better job, but I tried my best.  Now we have to wait to see what happens next.

Thanks to all of you that reviewed the previous drafts, and made suggestions to help.  I even received a few links for case law that were included in the final version.

Have a tall cold one on me.  I know I will!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Appeal #2, Version 15


This posting superseded  by the filing of the final version of the appeal.  See Appeal #2 Submitted

* * * * * *

We have just 7 days remaining before the filing deadline for our revised appeal.

Here is Version #15 of our revised Appeal.

Thank-you for your comments and suggestions on the first draft published previously (see Blog posting CFO Chicken Appeal #2 ).

If you have any additional suggestions, please get them to me ASAP, as the final version must be printed and sent soon.

Appeal #2, Version 15      76 pages, 685 kB, Adobe Acrobat X pdf

Friday, July 4, 2014

CFO Chicken Appeal #2

This posting is now obsolete and superceded by Version 15 of the Notice of Appeal.  See Appeal #2, Version 15

Original Posting is Below

It's finally done.  Here is a ROUGH draft of our chicken appeal, Round #2.

Please download a copy and give it a quick, and/or intense look.  It is far from perfect, but I am 2 days late getting this to you (by my internal schedule).  I would like to give all of you the next 5 days to submit any comments, questions, or suggestions that might improve it.

The biggest issue is "What am I missing?"

While you are reviewing it, I will be fixing up the remaining pieces.  Where the text says "XXX", I am missing that piece of info, and need to generate it quickly.

After I have your comments (on or before Tuesday July 8th, 2014 at 11:59 PM, I will take a week to put the finishing touches on it, print it and submit it.      48 pages, 333 kB.

Chicken: Gorilla or Guerrilla

There are battle lines forming between the Chicken Guerrillas and the Chicken Gorillas.  You'd better take cover before the battle starts.

I previously Blogged in March 2013 about the hidden Gorillas in Ontario chicken coops (see Blog posting Why are there Gorillas in Ontario Chicken Coops?).  Those are the super huge chicken factories in Ontario, likely owned, controlled, or aligned with the multi-billion agri-food corporations of the world.  I estimated that there are 142 gorillas in Ontario's chicken coops who hold 39% of Ontario's market share, and 69% of the HHI ( Herfindahl–Hirschman Index), a measure of the concentration of control, often used by governments to decide upon anti-trust breakups, or to stop mergers so as to protect consumers from monopolies, oligopolies, and unfair trade practices.

I had to look at the effect of Small Flockers getting relief from the choke hold of the #ChickenMafia, by gaining a 2,0000 bird/yr limit instead of the current 300 birds/yr we are currently limited to.  What impact would that change have on the competitiveness in the Ontario chicken marketplace?  Here's the answer.

Figure 1:   Market share %HHI scores for current situation (57 birds/yr for Small Flockers),
versus the proposed 2,000 birds/yr limit.  The quota-based chicken farmers are sub-divided
into 5 classes based on the size of their quota ownership.  The Small Flockers are added as
the 6th class.
Figure 1 shows the market share %HHI scores for the current situation (57 birds/yr for Small Flockers),
versus the proposed 2,000 birds/yr limit.  The quota-based chicken farmers are sub-divided
into 5 classes based on the size of their quota ownership.  The Small Flockers are added as
the 6th class.  Producing just 57 birds/yr, the Small Flockers are shown to have virtually no impact (ie. 0.01% HHI, the blue curve in Figure 1) on the chicken market in Ontario; exactly what the #ChickenMafia wants.

If you raised all Small Flockers to the current legal maximum of 300 birds/yr, it goes from 0.01% HHI to 0.25% HHI; virtually the same effect:   NONE!

If Small Flockers are allowed up to 2,000 birds per year, then the Small Flocker market impact climbs to a whopping 10.17% HHI (ie. the red coloured curve in Figure 1).  At 2,000 birds/yr, Small Flockers start to have some meaningful impact in the Ontario chicken markets, about the same as the first 5 classes of the quota-based chicken farmers.  Of course, the market share of the 142 gorillas in the Ontario chicken coup drops from 63.84% HHI to 57.34% HHI; an 11.3% drop.  They're still gorillas, and still completely control the Ontario chicken industry, but their power has been slightly reduced.

The 142 chicken coop gorillas are just 14.02% of all quota-based chicken farmers in Ontario, or 0.88% of all chicken farmers when we include Small Flockers.  However, never doubt that these 142 gorillas control the entire chicken industry in Ontario, including the Ontario Chapter of the #ChickenMafia.  I suggest that these gorillas use their power and influence to control the whole system to their personal advantage; feather-bedding their own nest by improper use of the sacred trust powers that were delegated to them by the Ontario and Federal governments.

When these governments were designing the Supply Management system, why didn't they include sufficient checks and balances to protect the public, and all the other chicken farmers, from the birth of these gorillas in Ontario chicken coops?

I suggest it's a good thing for the citizens of Ontario to reduce the strength of these 142 gorillas.  I suggest its good for the 76% of quota-based chicken farmers to put those gorillas into a cage so they can no longer boss around the majority of the quota-based chicken farmers.

I suggest that CFO be given a Directive, from either OFPMC (Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission), or the new Ontario Minister of Agriculture Jeff Leal that the concentration of market power by the gorillas, as measures by % HHI or some other similar basis, be systematically reduced by limitation on ownership of quota.  For example, when new quota is being given out, everybody by the gorillas should get some.  A new Regulation is needed to prevent another chicken farmer from becoming the next gorilla by accumulating additional quota in the marketplace.

Will the government act to allow Small Flockers to become a "wild card" in the chicken marketplace?  Will they take the necessary steps to cage the gorillas running loose in Ontario's chicken coops?

Only time will tell.

Attacking a gorilla head-on risks life and limb.  Fortunately, a Canadian, Bert "Yank" Levy (1897 – 1965) tells us how to train as a guerrilla, and be effective at limiting or removing these oppressive invaders from within our midst.  Bert wrote the book on Guerilla Warfare

, and has appeared on the cover of LIFE Magazine (see pages 40 - 45 for his story).

If the government is unwilling or unable to protect the public from these gorillas in Ontario chicken coop, does the public need to learn and apply Bert's methods as Chicken Guerrillas?


Friday, June 27, 2014

Cracks in #ChickenMafia's Wall

There are cracks in the wall surrounding the #ChickenMafia.  Big cracks.  Fortunately the inner circle of the #ChickenMafia don't realize they exist.

I have delayed writing this post in case I was followed.  I didn't want the #ChickenMafia spies and Intelligence Officers to know who I was speaking to about the current status inside the #ChickenMafia castle.

Sometime between 72 hrs ago and 6 weeks ago, I had an opportunity to speak to three different members of Chicken Farmers of Ontario; chicken quota holders all.

I boldly and randomly chose them for a visit, drove up to their house or barn (as the case may be), gave them my Small Flocker's business card, introduced myself, and asked if they knew who I was.  They said "Yes", "Oh yes!", and "I sure do".

I told them I came to listen, and asked what they would like to tell me.

There was a long uncomfortable silence.

I waited patiently, but it was really getting difficult to hear the long silence.

In some cases, they eventually started talking.  In other cases, I finally broke the silence.  I explained my concerns and purpose for doing what I have been doing.

All three of these quota-based chicken farmers said they had no problem with the small flockers being able to grow 2,000 birds per year per farm.

Some expressed a fear of the level of greed that has grown amongst their fellow quota chicken farmers.  "They never seem to be satisfied, they gotta keep having more and more, just like ******** down the road.", pointing along the highway.  Later, I drove down the road in the direction he had indicated.  Sure enough, huge poultry barns, one after another.  All of it looked very neat, and expensive.  This was obviously one of the Gorillas in the Chicken Coop of which I had previously blogged.

I shared the info I had learned about FCC and their huge loans to farmers of all description, and the risk when interest rates go up and business grows hard, just like in the early 1980's when FCC's predecessor went bankrupt from thousands of bad farm debts.

I want to publicly thank my three chicken farmers who acted as gracious hosts to my unannounced visit.  I told them that our visit and conversation, and their identities would remain confidential.

Not all members of CFO are #ChickenMafia.  There are some good, normal people who are forced to follow the fanatic core who run things day-to-day.

Sometime in the future, that silent few will become the silent majority.  Next, the silent majority will become the vocal majority.  Then there will be change.  CFO will eventually realize that the greatest danger does not arise from outside the #ChickenMafia's castle walls.  The risk and the rot is occurring inside the CFO castle walls.  The #ChickenMafia will implode from within, or it will be dismantled from the outside.  It's hard to predict which one will get them first.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Backyard Chicken: Win in Whitehorse

Keeping up to 6 female chickens in an urban backyards of Whitehorse, Yukon is now legal.

CBC News and others report that Kristina Calhoun has spent the last 3 years on a long, painful saga:
CKRW Radio did an interview of Kristina as well.

Kristina also happens to be the leader of the Green Party in Yukon.  In the Green Party's policies, they clearly support sustainable, affordable, nutritious food for Canadians.

It is interesting that when City Council was debating the current and proposed By-law, some felt that the permission of neighbours should be obtained before someone is allowed to have chickens within city suburbs.  Kristina rightfully responded:
"That's unrealistic and unfair.  I just think, you know, nobody had to come to me and ask if they could have a dog, nobody had to come to me and ask if they could have a cat, tune up their ATV in their yard and have exhaust and noise - nobody comes and knocks on my door and asks 'Oh, is it okay if I start up my leaf blower now?' It just seems a little bit much."
In the Yukon-News coverage of this victory, Kristina reminds people what happens when food trucks can't make it up the Yukon Highway due to weather or other issues.  Food security for Kristina and her family is important.  She said,
 "I think its really important that municipal, federal, and territorial governments remove as many boundaries as they can to allow people to be as self-sufficient as they can, especially in an isolated community like this.”

Kristina eventually wants to be able to raise meat birds during the summer, and layers year-round.  That will require another By-law change.

Kristina waxes on about the mini local food economy that has flowered and flourished in the neighbourhood.  One neighbour bakes bread, which are exchanged for eggs.  Backyard vegetables could also come into the mix soon enough from another neighbour's backyard greenhouse.

The Yukon has a portable abattoir for processing chickens in all the remote communities.  Kristina helped process 220 chickens in a Saturday afternoon; now food in citizen's freezers, ready for winter.

Ontario, as a "Have-Not" province, doesn't have portable abattoirs to service its Small Flockers in remote and Northern communities.  Hopefully we can soon be successful enough as a Province so we can afford portable abattoirs too.

In a previous post (see Health Consequences of Food Monopolies ), I Blogged about the 28% food insecurity in Nunavut, a neighbouring territory to Yukon.  In Nunavut, 75% of pre-school children don't get to eat on any particular day due to food insecurity.

Backyard chicken could help make those sad statistics a thing of the past.

A tip of the hat to Kristina and all others like her who struggle on for years, fighting for their rights, and the greater good of the people.  It isn't an easy battle, but it's worthwhile.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Hatchery Infects 126 Small Flockers

Unsafe Practice:  Infant kissing chick, risk of salmonella poisoning or other disease causing severe illness or death
Unsafe Practice:  Image of infant kissing chick
at encouragement of adult.  This is a really bad
idea that could make the child seriously ill, leave
them chronically ill, or kill the child.
A mail-order hatchery that supplies chicks and ducklings has been identified by CDC as the source of the infection.  CDC states that this hatchery has been the source of previous outbreaks in the past, and has done it again, this time with salmonella (Strains Infantis and/or Newport).

US Government's Centres for Disease Control and Prevention report that a total of 126 people have been infected, 35% of those have been hospitalized, across 26 States, starting in Feb. 2014, and continuing till May 27th.  More cases may still be coming, as it takes 2 to 4 weeks for new cases to be reported.

Mt. Healthy Hatcheries, the hatchery fingered by CDC as the source of the outbreak, has been in business for 80 years.  They produce up to 200,000 chicks per week.  When the lawyers get done with them for this last outbreak, they might not be in business for much longer.

Mt. Healthy has published an explanation on their website, stating that they have suspended purchasing poultry chicks from one of its sub-contractor suppliers. Mt. Healthy claims they meet USDA Best Practices for controlling or preventing salmonella in hatcheries.  We might not know the true culprit for 10 years or more, possibly never.

It would be impossible for anybody, Small Flocker or otherwise, to determine if this was a "reputable dealer" for chicks, as suggested by CDC.  Therefore, Small Flockers should presume all chicks purchased are contaminated until proven otherwise.

Nobody, especially not children, should be allowed to nuzzle or kiss farm animals, chicken, or other poultry.  For safe handling of chicken and eggs, see here and here.

  1. To protect your farm animals, you and any visitors (if you allow any) should wash your hands prior to going to see the animals, and wash again between different pens/barns of the same species, and/or between different species.
  2. You should re-wash immediately after leaving the livestock area.
  3. Nobody should be allowed on a farm tour or visit unless they have been warned about biosecurity in general, and these recommendations in specific, and they can control themselves so as not to touch any surfaces unless told it's OK to do so, and can avoid touching their face with their hands until after they have left the farm and re-washed their hands.
  4. Small Flockers should only buy chicks from hatcheries that can prove they meet the USDA Best Management Practices Handbook A Guide to the Mitigation of Salmonella Contamination at Poultry Hatcheries, March 2014 version.
  5. If you sell eggs or meat to others, your customers should be clearly and plainly warned of the risks, and precautions they should take to avoid becoming infected.
Perhaps Small Flockers can demonstrate how biosecurity excellence is achieved, something that the big factory farmers do not yet understand, and are far from achieving.