This is an open letter to all the members of Chicken Farmers of Ontario
November 5, 2013 11:45 PM
RE: Call For Change
Dear Sir or Madam:
I write to you today so that we can be crystal clear about our thoughts, feelings, and plans towards you and the other members of Chicken Farmers of Ontario ("CFO"). You are the quota-bearing chicken farmers who must care for your thousands of chickens every day, during every quota period
Small Flock Poultry Farmers of Canada ("SFPFC") is a not-for-profit group representing the rights of all small flock poultry farmers in Canada; members and non-members alike. Our Blog seeks to communicate, discuss, and advocate for the civil rights and important role Small Flock Poultry Farmers can play (and should play) in Canadian Society. SFPFC and this Blog have existed for eight months now. We felt it was time to take stock of our actions of the past, and our plans for the future.
Obviously, the members of CFO are directly and/or indirectly affected by our plans, actions, and inactions; willingly or inadvertently. Therefore, by definition, you, and the other members of CFO are one of SFPFC's many stakeholders. SFPFC wishes to communicate, consult, and reassure you, one of our many stakeholders.
SFPFC seeks the restoration of our inalienable rights under Canadian, international, and common law. We understand what it's like to be stripped of our rights, then subjected to oppression and tyranny by a bureaucratic system. We do not seek to exchange places with you. In other words, we do not wish to prescribe you some of your own medicine. We assume you wish to retain your freedoms, and exercise your rights equal to ours.
Most likely, you were not directly involved in setting up Canada's Supply Management system, and are therefore not directly responsible for its shortcomings. However, you reap many benefits from this system. Those benefits that you receive from Supply Management are extracted out of the pocketbooks and lives of your fellow Canadians. While you deserve reasonable compensation for the work you do, and the risks you take on behalf of your career, I trust you are aware that taking more than your fair share is not fair to all the other Canadians you are supposed to be serving.
CFO was given an almost total monopoly on chicken in Ontario. It is our belief that this monopolistic benefit is inseparable from the corresponding responsibility to serve the greater good of all Canadians. Having this monopoly does not mean that the CFO and its members serve themselves first and foremost, and all other Canadians get what's left over.
A recent Health Canada study showed that 7.6% of all Canadian families cannot afford the food they need to feed their families; as high as 28% in Nunavut. Poultry meat has historically been the cheapest available meat, and was therefore the most affordable source of dietary meat protein and fat. By conscious design, CFO has rapidly increased the farm gate price of chicken by 3.54%/yr from 1995 to 2012, thereby increasing prices by 195% over this 17 year period. With a 254.72% overall markup through the slaughter, wholesale, and retail supply chain steps, that 195% increase claimed by CFO at farm gate becomes a 496.7% increase at the retail meat counter; all paid for by the Canadian consumer. Because of this, chicken is now twice as expensive as turkey, and unaffordable for millions of Canadians.
Other industries, acting through continuous improvement and other techniques, have achieved more than 10% per year improvement (ie. price reductions) for more than 10 years, for a total of 65.9% reduction over 10 years. We believe that if CFO had exercised effective leadership, your organization could have helped decrease the price of chicken each and every year while all chicken farmers retained a reasonable profit margin. That would have been serving the greater good of all Canadians.
We do not see quota-based chicken farmers as evil people. We trust that most of you treat your family members, staff, neighbours, and animals with kindness and respect. However, CFO as an organization, and the entire Supply Management system has obviously lost it way. While Supply Management may have been a useful tool when it was first created, it has devolved and spun out of control, taken on a life of its own, and no longer serves you, nor the Canadian people.
In SFPFC's Blog, we have attempted to explain the main problems from our point of view, but wish to remind you that there are many more problems not yet fully described. The current system took a significant period of time to reach its current poor state, and will most likely take considerable effort and time to restore it to its proper place. The people of Canada cannot, and will not, wait much longer for government and/or the Supply Management system to recognize the issues, and make public commitments to rapidly fix the system.
If those admissions are not announced soon, I fear that the system will soon become irreparable, and/or intolerable. If that point is reached, there will be sudden and drastic consequence for the entire system, and many people and organizations will be critically damaged. If this were to occur, the CFO members would likely suffer the greatest losses and damages.
You can choose to change now in a controllable manner, or you can wait, and then eventually be forced to change later.
In closing, I want to refer you to the fitting words of others:
"An invasion of armies can be resisted, but not an idea whose time has come.
"The penalty good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men."
Jesus said, "For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?"
All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.
Small Flock Poultry Farmers of Canada