The Chicken Farmers of Canada national agency says imports of spent fowl increased by 25 per cent last year and now take 10 per cent of the Canadian market for chicken meat.
The chicken-industry leaders are alarmed and pleading with Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz to take action.
Glenn Black of Providence Bay, an outspoken critic of the Ontario and national chicken marketing boards, says the imports may be costing Ontario producers as much as $100 mlllion a year in lost sales.
Meanwhile Black continues to lobby on behalf of small flock owners in Ontario for the right to grow up to 2,000 per six-week quota period instead of being capped at 300 under current marketing board rules.
That, he says, would only marginally increase Ontario chicken production – certainly by less than the fowl imports.
The importers have also taken to blending chicken and fowl meat, keeping the chicken portion to 49 per cent or less so they can escape the tariffs designed to protect supply management.
It may be a coincidence that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has been cracking down on the transport of spent fowl, targeting Maple Lodge Farms Ltd. at Norval, Ont., with scores of citations.
Ritz has told the national agency he’s going to look into their concerns.