There was a recent posting in Better Farming that questioned the principles of Small Flockers on this important issue.
Here is my response, with a few added ideas:
You raise an excellent point about how someone can hate SM farmers, yet be filled with compassion for all Canadians who are adversely affected by SM's monopoly and price gouging.
I would suggest that it is more frustration than hate.
For example, in 1980 Mothers Against Drunk Driving ("MADD") was started in California by Candice Lightner after her 13-year-old daughter was killed by a drunk driver. Before MADD started, most everybody laughed about "Joe" or "Jill" tying one on last night, and the crazy results that occurred. It has taken great effort to re-educate chronic drinkers, governments, judges, police, etc. MADD claims that drunk driving has been cut in half since their founding. So in 34 years, we only have 50% of drunk drivers convinced and converted to a new way of thinking.
Today, drunk drivers are no longer seen as the life of the party. Few drunk drivers get nominated as Citizen of the Year. There is growing frustration and intolerance towards their continued anti-social behaviour. In some cases, especially when a love one is killed or maimed by a unrepentant drunk driver, it goes as far as hate.
Is that where SM farmers want to go in the near future, where they are seen in their community as an unacceptable, anti-social person because they're a member of SM that preys upon the weak and poor?
For the first 530 years (ie. 1500 to 1930), tobacco was a pillar of all communities, and provided great wealth creation. Around the 1930's, we started to realize the risks and costs of smoking, and that the tobacco industry was a parasite on society. This realization has been steadily growing for more than 80 years and counting. During that time of growing awareness, Big Tobacco continuously denied the health and financial impact of smoking, justifying themselves every which way they could imagine. In spite of this resistance, we have dropped from 42% smokers in 1965 to 16.1% as of 2012.
Today, many smokers feel like second class citizens when they want to practice their smoking habit. Working for Big Tobacco, in spite of the higher than average wages they pay to try and attract good people to these marginalized employers, is no longer seen as a plum job.
Is that where SM farmers and others in the SM industry want to go, where sometime in the near future they'll be ashamed to honestly answer when somebody asks them, "So, what do you do for a living?"
I can understand that SM farmers will fight tooth and claw to hold on to such a sweet deal for themselves. That's just human nature.
I accept and admit that if I were in their SM shoes, I would likely fight hard to carry on in my beneficial, social parasite manner just as they do today. As such, I therefore assume I am no better or worse as a person than anybody else in SM. We're just starting from different sides of the same issue. We need to listen and understand each other's point of view.
I hope that everybody on the SM side of the issue will eventually be intrigued by the growing wave of neighbours, friends, fellow farmers, and the government who are less and less in support of SM. Perhaps there are some SM individuals who are strong enough today to reach out and understand the reasons for the growing wave of people who are against SM.
If SM refuses to listen or change, there will be minimum movement in society due to their resistance and current strength. That means the pressure behind the SM dam will get greater and greater as the anti-SM water rises each day. Eventually the strength of the SM dam will be overcome. There will then be catastrophic failure of the SM dam, and many SM farmers will be personally destroyed by the sudden release of the built up pressure.
As an alternative to this worse-case scenario, I suggest that it would be far better for SM to recognize the problems with SM, and be willing to work with all stakeholders to find a smooth, effective transition from the old, arcane, fossilized SM system, to something that works better for everybody.
This choice belongs to SM.
Each day, SM can choose to listen to others, or refuse to change.
However, if SM continues to choose resistance and ignoring, one day soon that pig headed choice will be ripped from their grasp by the sudden rupture of the SM dam, which will destroy all. Choose wisely, SM.
Small Flock Poultry Farmers of Canada