CANADA — Canadian chicken producers want the government to get cracking against American broiler imports masquerading as meat from worn-out laying hens. And they believe voters feel the same.
The Chicken Farmers of Canada organization has highlighted the ongoing border switcheroo — in which competitive foreign broilers are mislabelled as “spent fowl” — with the release of a survey that found 82% of respondents wanting a crackdown on the ruse. Spent fowl enters Canada without tariff, while regular broiler meat is subject to stiff charges to protect the domestic, supply-managed chicken market.
The same percentage — 82% — support Canada’s chicken supply management system, according to the producer group, which commissioned Abacus Data to handle the survey of 5,000 adults between March 11-28 this year.
However, the results were released Aug. 19, coinciding with the federal election campaign. In light of the numbers, the producer group bluntly declares that political “party support for the chicken sector will bolster the vote strength, attract opposition voters, and bring in swing voters.”
“When a candidate knocks on your door this election, ask for more and remind them to think of Canada’s hardworking chicken farmers and the nutritious food they raise to the highest standards of animal care, food safety, and sustainability.”
In other survey findings, 79% of respondents want the government to support chicken farm operations impacted by the pandemic, 72% agree the government should not concede further access to the Canadian chicken market in future trade agreements; and 72% believe support programs or mitigation measures should be available to farmers when access is granted.
“Voters have indicated that it is important to them that the government support Canada’s chicken farmers,” said Benoît Fontaine, Chair of Chicken Farmers of Canada, representing 2,800 producers across the country. “Canadians have also indicated they don’t want to see any more access granted to the Canadian chicken market in future trade agreements, nor mislabelled broiler chicken crossing the border. Their intentions are clear.”