Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Globe and Mail on Why You Can't Find Heritage Poultry

The Globe and Mail has an interesting article breaking down the quota system in Canada and why it prevents small artisanal meat and poultry producers from being able to sell their goods, and why you should take notice.

Quota is a legal requirement for marketing chickens, turkey, eggs or cow milk in Canada. Without it, the simple bucolic act of selling a block of farmstead cheese or several dozen eggs at a farmers’ market is against the law. It’s been this way for almost half a century. If you want access to the market, you have to pay for it. And access isn’t cheap.

This kind of arrangement is better known as a cartel. Cartels fix prices. Usually, they’re illegal, but not in Canada. In fact, when it comes to poultry, dairy and eggs, not being part of a cartel is illegal – as many an Amish farm wife can tell you.
There is rumour in Ottawa that Stephen Harper might be considering scrapping supply management (the cartel's special name) in order to facilitate a trade deal.

While we're on the subject of food cartels, feel free to listen to this interview about the Dairy Supply Management in Canada, which aired on CBC's the Current last October.
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