Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Chicken appeal delayed

The challenge the Association of Ontario Chicken Processors (AOCP) has filed against a policy proposal from the chicken marketing board has been postponed from this week until late January.

The change of date is noted on the website of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food Appeal Tribunal, but no reason is given.

The Ontario Independent Poultry Processors Association has asked the tribunal for standing at the appeal and that is probably the reason for the delay. The AOCP has consistently tried to muzzle, throttle and eliminate the small independent competitors.

The policy under challenge aims to provide chicken for processors to develop new markets.

The Chicken Farmers of Ontario (CFO) marketing board is under pressure to make chicken available to processors who have developed niche markets, such as meeting kosher protocols and marketing Hong Kong dressed birds (head and feet on) for the Asian market in and around Toronto.

In the meantime, those consumers have to go short or pay premium prices to have the products they desire brought in from other provinces, such as a kosher processor in Montreal.

The processors don’t want to have to give up any of their chicken supplies so these niche markets can be developed and served. Nor will the other provinces that are part of national supply management give Ontario the right to increase production to meet the demand. Led by Alberta and Quebec, they voted again early this month to deny Ontario's request to produce birds for the kosher market.

One of the AOCP demands is that the new policy be restricted by breed of chicken. The North American market is dominated by very few breeds or strains developed by global poultry-breeding companies.

Other breeds or strains are more costly to raise.

The appeal tribunal has rescheduled its public hearings to Jan. 22 and 14 at its offices in the OMAF head office in Guelph.

The appeal was originally scheduled to take place earlier this year, was postponed while negotiations continued, then scheduled for Dec. 11 and 12.

Justice delayed is justice denied. How long will federal and provincial politicians put up with this?