Globe and Mail Response

To the Editor:

The headline written for Barrie McKenna’s column (Nothing to crow about, chicken prices unfair, Nov. 24) is clever, but the piece itself plucks facts from questionable sources, hunts and pecks for spurious arguments and suggests that chicken is costing the consumer some big buck-buck-bucks. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Canada’s chicken industry delivers great value and quality. That’s why we are Canada’s number one meat; and growing. Just look at the Consumer Price Index (CPI): in the past year beef rose by 19.4% – pork rose by 14.4% – and chicken rose by only 2.7%. In the last TWO years, beef prices rose by 23.1%, pork rose by 18.1%, and chicken? Well, again, it only rose by 5.1%. Chicken is consistently the best value in the meat counter.

To Mr. McKenna’s contention that the farm price drives retail price, it is illuminating to note that in the past year the live price of chicken has declined 1.6% and over the past two years it is down a huge 9.9%.

This includes passing benefits from improved efficiencies in 2012 and 2013.

Farm prices going down while retail prices are going up supports what we have said all along – the $1.63 per kilogram earned by farmers is fair and does not determine what consumers pay for chicken. The biggest determinant of consumer price is where and when you shop.

This fantasy, where supply management is dismantled and savings are instantly passed on to consumers, is just that: a fantasy.

All dismantlement does is threaten the sustainability of the Canadian chicken industry and the direct benefits it provides to Canada and to Canadians.

Mike Dungate,
Executive Director,
Chicken Farmers of Canada