Canada- Federal Laws can override local ones

Discussion in 'Local Chicken Laws & Ordinances' started by LynneP, Jul 17, 2008.

  1. As Canadians we have to be careful about agricultural issues because some federal laws automatically override local laws and ordinances, and provincial statutes. The Egg Farmers of Canada, formerly the Egg Marketing Board, has been instrumental in altering federal law which at this time affects those selling chicken. I'm not sure what the future stages are in the laws, but they will affect all Canadian poultry producers in time. The first one to be implemented affects meat from free-range producers, for sale.

    GLEN COVEY’s darkened farmhouse keeps the blistering heat at bay while he sits at the kitchen table sipping a cold glass of water. It’s a Wednesday afternoon, which means he has been cooped up in the abattoir butchering about 180 of his free-range chickens. He will butcher another batch the next day.

    "Farming is a difficult way to make a living in the best of times," he says.

    And right now, times could be better for him.

    His wife, Kimberly Tilsley, has marked up a three-ring binder filled with pages of new rules that Glenryan Farms could have to follow to sell chickens next year.

    The Chicken Farmers of Canada has rolled out a program to monitor free-range chicken farms across the country. The Nova Scotia arm of the chicken marketing board is in charge of making sure the 20 free-range chicken farmers in this province play by the new rules, which are being billed as bio-security measures to improve food safety.

    But several Nova Scotia free-range chicken farmers are concerned the new program might be a covert way to put smaller, alternative producers out of business.

    "I truly believe it’s not about food safety — it’s about profits," said Silvia Lange.

    Ms. Lange and her husband run Lange’s Rock Farm in Maplewood, Lunenburg County, and had raised free-range chickens until this year.

    "Every time someone raises their own chickens, somebody else can’t sell it," she said, referring to commercial farms. "Bio-security is not always what it seems. . . . It can be one of those things that gives consumers the idea that something has been done."

    The general manager of the Nova Scotia chicken marketing board says the new rules are meant to protect the birds and consumers from disease, especially with the threat of avian influenza.

    "The producers have known this was coming and have been given a year to look at their operations and evaluate any changes that they may need to make," said Shelley Acker of the Chicken Farmers of Nova Scotia. "We are working with those producers (and) are exploring the program and . . . how it relates to their farm."

    She denied charges the program was a bid by commercial chicken farmers to shut out free-range producers.

    Some of the new rules include putting up netting around smaller range areas to keep out wild birds, and limiting contact with visitors. Livestock cannot come into contact with any of the chickens, so some farmers may have to build separate areas to house their animals.

    Chicken Farmers of Canada launched a food safety program geared toward industrial farms about 10 years ago. The free-range program is now in what Ms. Acker calls its introductory year.

    Each free-range farmer in Nova Scotia has been supplied with the same binder sitting in Mr. Covey’s Margaree-area farmhouse.

    The paperwork inside must be returned to show how each farm has complied with the rules. Once that’s been proven, the board will decide whether the farm is up to code.

    There’s some concern among free-range chicken farmers that the program could actually hurt safety standards in the industry. By making it more difficult to get a licence, the chicken marketing board could force producers to go underground.

    The owners of Glenryan Farms say they are extremely careful with their poultry, because any hint of illness could scare away the customer base they have built up. Each chicken they butcher is checked over by a provincial inspector before it leaves the farm.

    And Mr. Covey said his chickens may have stronger immune systems.

    "You have problems when birds are totally divorced from nature, when birds are raised under stress and without sunshine."

    Sheep and cows graze on the same range that the chickens pasture in. Ms. Tilsley said the other animals keep the grass short, which is how the chickens like to eat it.

    But under the new program, chickens can have no contact with any other livestock.

    Ian Duncan is the chairman of the animal welfare program at the University of Guelph and a professor emeritus with the department of animal and poultry science.

    Avian influenza is a risk for farmers in Canada, despite the fact there have been only a handful of reported cases in the country, he said. There were several reported cases in Asia this year and with modern travel it is surprisingly easy for viruses to cross the globe.

    But some of the guidelines in the food safety program "seem a little over the top," he said, especially separating livestock from the chickens.

    "I really don’t see what transference of disease there could be between poultry and cattle. These are completely different species (and) there are no diseases common to both."

    Other guidelines, like monitoring visitors from other farms, are good practices, he said. Those visitors could bring traces of disease from their own flocks.

    Restricting all visitors, however, could conflict with the educational beliefs of some free-range farmers. They often encourage their customers to better understand what they are eating and how it got to their plate, Ms. Lange said.

    She said she decided not to raise chickens this year partly because of the new program, and because of other costs of raising poultry.

    The Agriculture Department has not yet been heavily involved with the discussions between the free-range farmers and the marketing board, a spokeswoman said. Susan Mader Zinck said she believed the farmers were trying to work through any issues with the program at the board level first.

    Mr. Covey and Ms. Tilsley said they would like to see a separate board created for free-range farmers, because of the differences between industrial and free-range farming.

    But at this point they are not even sure they will stay in the business next year. They may focus on their organic vegetable crop instead.

    "But the chickens pretty much rule here in summertime," Mr. Covey said, before walking through a field of chirping chicks. "So it’d be really different around here.
  2. Dodgegal79

    Dodgegal79 Songster

    Dec 1, 2007
    Princeton BC Canada
    Yeah this sort of stuff is getting to be too much. Out here in BC I had a hell of a time finding a butcher to do my ducks for me because they have to inspected now to be able to sell. I did find a good one, he is now 2 1/2 hours away from me, which is the pain. People are just going to have to stand up to all this one day. They say it is to help, but who really get the help, it just raises costs of production and wages to keep it all up and then the consumer has to pay more in the end.
  3. It's a huge issue and very complicated. I've heard that those of you in BC have had to bear the brunt of the changes. We have a custom slaughterhouse near us, but with the new laws will the inspections increase the cost? You bet they will. We've also bought meat from a neighbor who once worked in the business and who used to butcher meat birds once a year to make a little money. The product was spotless, the meat amazing. Like all agricultural venues, only the big farms will survive this. The family farm is again under considerable threat. I'd like to be making the choice rather than having government do it. Imagine the size of the departments and the cadre of inspectors! Out of our taxes...
  4. Pickles03

    Pickles03 Chirping

    Dec 9, 2010
    Niagara Falls, ON
    My husbands Uncle, in conversation, found out we are preparing to start with our first chickens this spring.
    He mentioned to my husband, that when his kids were young they had chickens - he shared some info
    and then asked if we wanted any of his chicken "how to" books, an offer which we gladly accepted.

    Today my hubby brought the books home...well actually 2 books and one pamphlet. All from the 70's
    which I found amusing...but the pamphlet - was produced by Agriculture Canada.

    I find it interesting, that today the issue of having a few backyard chickens has become such a restricted
    and regulated municipal issue - god forbid people try to raise their own healthy food source
    banned in most areas (not Niagara Falls where I reside luckily) and yet 30 years ago
    the government itself was printing literature to encourage and educate people on how to do this very thing.

  5. I too have a bunch of government literature given to me from my sister in law from the late 60's and 70's regarding animal keeping in Ontario.

    Times have changed and it's not for our protection, I don't care what they say.

    It's to protect the big business interests and government coffers.

    The new food safety and quality Act I believe is just another example of government control over the people.

    They want to control the food. All in the name of public safety, which is a load of crap. I hate that term, "public safety" it is a catch all for we know what's good for you, so accept it regardless if you like it or not even if it infringes on your most basic of human rights!

    They do not want you to be self reliant or independant. They like the common folk to be ever relying on them for all of their needs, and yet this same government will not except the responsibility that comes with that kind of control and power. We are almost a police state here in Ontario Canada yet even the supreme court of Canada says the police are in no way obligated to protect you? HUH, WHAT? However, just try and protect yourself or property and you end up charged with more crimes then the bad guys... it's insane. Many recent examples here in ontario just google David chan or Ian Thomson. Read their stories.

    Here is another example of the abuse that this kind of legislation can and does produce in our so called civil servants and the departments they work for. So much for working for the people. Here's a link or just google Mark Tijssen

    One guy I know around here asked my wife if I'd be interested in doing the same thing, share a pig (we split the cost or raising it) and butcher in the fall because I have the land. Makes sense right? between two grown adults living in rural Canada with the means and know how, right? WRONG NOT ACCORDING to our government it's illegal! to share it!
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2011
  6. BlackBart

    BlackBart Songster

    Mar 29, 2009
    We were talking about the new feed law that you have to give your phone number to get feed. They say it is for alerts if the feed is bad but we think it is to moniter who is buying what.
    How much layer pellets is sold, how much grower pellets. Maybe it is a way for the big agricultrure to moniter how much the "little guy" might be impacting their commercial market?

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