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Monday, February 16, 2015

Rearranging the Titanic's Deck Chairs

Why has Chicken Farmers of Ontario ("CFO"), the Association of Chicken Processors ("AOCP"), and Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission ("OFPMC") formed TeamOntario and the Chicken Industry Advisory Committee?

Agri007 correctly noticed that Ontario Independent Poultry Processors ("OIPP") is missing from this group.   I also wonder why, especially after CFO says on their website:
"CFO, Association of Chicken Processors and Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission are jointly committed to working with and encouraging participation by the broadest possible range of relevant stakeholders who have an interest in or who may be affected by decisions resulting from the consultation exercise."
At least CFO held a meeting for input from OIPP on Jan. 26th in Burlington ON.  Is it because OIPP wasn't sufficiently malleable to CFO's iron will and nefarious strategy?  Was there a significant danger of OIPP exposing CFO's plans to manipulate, distract, and control the issues via propaganda in CFO's favor?

What best describes CFO's actions:
  • Re-arranging the Titanic's deckchairs?
  • Propaganda issued by Compliance Professionals
  • Red Herring to manipulate and distract
Rearranging the Titanic's deckchairs has become a common expression or idiom defined as:
"to do something pointless or insignificant that will soon be overtaken by events, or that contributes nothing to the solution of a current problem."
CFO has been spending bundles of money lately on media consultants.  The next step up from media consultants are "Compliance Professionals".  A compliance professional is defined as:
"an expert that utilizes and perfects means of gaining media influence. Though the means of gaining influence are common, their aims vary from political, economic, to personal. Thus the label of compliance professional applies to diverse groups of people, including propagandists, marketers, pollsters, salespeople and political advocates."
A red herring is defined as:
"something that misleads or distracts from the relevant or important issue "
Noam Chomsky has written about the Top 10 Media Manipulation Strategies.  Do any of those apply to CFO and their actions in this case?

Regardless of CFO's intentions, Small Flockers have assumed the best, that CFO has honorable intentions.  Therefore, SFPFC has responded with fair comments to improve the Supply Management system in Ontario and Canada.

After attending one of CFO's meetings in Northern Ontario, the following summary was sent to Bryan Boyle, CFO's "Compliance Professional", aka "Meeting Facilitator".  All of the comments made here are based upon SFPFC's research, fully described in SFPFC's Blog postings made here over the last 2 years.  Our comments on CFO and their Chicken Supply Management System are as follows:

SFPFC's Comments

Small Flock Poultry Farmers of Canada has the following additional input as followup to our comments made during the Gore Bay ON session on Feb. 10, 2015 that our representative attended:
  1. Products manufactured by both manufacturing and agriculture have similar GDP size and impact, contributory margins, value added, and spin-off effects for the Ontario economy; some of the best available from all sectors of the economy.

  2. Unfortunately, Canadian manufacturing has been on decline for more than two decades, has been significantly wounded, and will need years or decades of convalescence to recover its former strength and capacity.  That leaves agriculture at the best available economic driver for the Ontario economy in the short and medium term.  What is good for agriculture is good for Ontario.

  3. Throughout North America, we have excessive carbohydrates in our diet, causing or contributing to numerous, simultaneous epidemics, such as obesity, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, Metabolic Disease, fatty non-alcoholic liver disease, high blood pressure, high blood lipids, cancer, Alzheimer's Disease, etc.  It is estimated that 75% of all disease are caused or contributed to by poor nutrition and/or poor diets.

  4. The health care budget consumes 42% of Ontario's budget.  By 2045, diabetes alone is projected to consume the entire health care budget (ie. no money left to fix broken bone, birth babies, car accidents, etc.).

  5. Animals that are raised whole-life as pastured animals have meat and eggs with ideal ratios of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fats, while CAFO (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations) based meats have significantly worse ratios.  Based on the latest research, animal protein and fats of pastured animals is now seen by leading nutritionists and health researchers as a significant part of the solution to some or most of the above epidemics.

  6. Large automated chicken processing lines generally produce retail chickens which 30% to 80% are significantly contaminated with deadly food-borne pathogens (salmonella, listeria, campylobacter, Heidelburg, E.coli, etc.).  Of those pathogens, half are Super-bugs, with 1 or more drug resistances.

  7. OMAFRA experts have previously stated that CAFO-based chicken operations must have and use antibiotics for disease prevention.  Most or all small flock chicken growers do not use, and have no need for prophylactic antibiotics, thereby avoiding or minimizing the creation of Super-bugs.

  8. On-farm, small scale chicken slaughter has been found to consistently produce chickens with 1/10 the level of contamination of the automated slaughter factories.

  9. Ontario's 1,400 commercial chicken producers under Supply Management are almost exclusively focused in CAFO-based technologies and systems, and exclusively use automated slaughter factories.  This is a deadly combination, putting consumers at significant risk.

  10. Ontario's 15,000 small flock chicken producer are primarily focused on free range and/or pastured poultry, and can use manual slaughter systems, with significant advantage for product quality for consumers.

  11. Feed Conversion Ratio ("FCR") is the major determining factor for farm gate pricing of a meat food product.

  12. Chicken, with a FCR as low as 1.38 (New Zealand commercial chicken farmers), or 1.72 in Canada, has one of the lowest FCR's for any animal protein or fat production.  Some farmed fish claim an FCR as low as 1.2 but this accounts only for the fish farm, not the entire supply chain life cycle (ie. there are significant input losses to the preparation of fish feed pellets, and when these are accounted for, the overall FCR is usually calculated as greater than 1.75 for farmed fish).

  13. Therefore food produced from pastured chickens are an important solution for the health of the Ontario public, and the affordability of nutritious dietary fat and protein.

  14. By continuing to invest in CAFO-based chicken, Ontario and quota-based farmers risk significant mal-investment, delay the conversion to more healthy and affordable chicken production techniques, and face a write-down or write-off at significant financial loss of this obsolete technologies and systems.

  15. By allocating more and more quota, whether by direct ownership or leasing, to CAFO-based operations will expose Ontario to long term risks and costs that will not be easily undone, and delay the launching of subsequent better solutions without compensating those who were allowed or enticed to invest in these antiquated systems.

  16. Of the OECD nations, Canada has just 1.4% market share of the chicken export market.

  17. Canada is unable to export chicken in any appreciable degree due to the potential for accusation of unfair or illegal trade practices (ie. government subsidies or dumping).

  18. CAFO-based operations likely have significant advantages for large export contracts at the lowest available prices, requiring CFIA-inspected processing.  Small flockers and regionally distributed chicken producers, if allowed more than 300 birds per year can produce as farm gate producers with prices close to those of CAFO-based retail pricing, and are likely better suited to locally produced chicken with minimal transportation of feeds and finished products through use of OMAFRA-inspected local abattoirs.

  19. The above facts support a dramatic re-alignment and rationalization of Ontario's chicken market, sooner rather than later.

  20. For TeamOntario to focus on the narrow issue of distributing the annual incremental increases in Ontario's chicken allocation is to ignore these facts and to chronically subject Ontario citizens to the adverse consequences.

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