To the Editor:
Avian influenza is a challenging situation for Canadian poultry and egg farmers at the best of times. When these farmers are further challenged by someone politicizing this crisis, then exploiting it to advance an agenda, it only gets worse (Industrialization of livestock farming to blame for avian flu outbreak, December 9).
Canada’s chicken farmers are a stabilizing force in rural Canada. From farm to plate, the Canadian poultry and egg industries generate jobs in not only farming and processing, but in transportation, retail, restaurants, and throughout our communities. We in the Canadian poultry and egg industries work closely with all our partners, including the Canadian government, to ensure that stringent regulations related to the raising of our birds are met and followed.
Chicken Farmers of Canada, for example, has created an auditable animal care program to demonstrate and maintain the high animal care standards of Canadian chicken farms, and over 95% of Canadian chicken farmers are currently certified. That includes density requirements (birds per square metre); the writer’s estimate is, in fact, more than what we allow, and in fact, our program has fewer birds per square metre than the European Union’s.
Over 40 stakeholder organizations were consulted during CFC’s program development process and, to date, support for the implementation of the program has come from notable animal welfare organizations, the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, the Further Poultry Processors Association of Canada, the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers and Restaurants Canada.
When the author wraps up his tale, his agenda is revealed and his entire piece falls apart: “our unsustainable meat and dairy-centred diets (need to be) reconsidered”. This writer isn’t concerned about the outbreak, he’s using it, along with false accusations and spurious facts, as an excuse to further his own agenda.
And to those farmers who work hard for Canadians and make a valuable contribution to Canada, that’s shameful.
Chicken Farmers of Canada
(and a BC chicken farmer)