Canadian Poultry Magazine

Features 100th anniversary Key Developments
A game without rules

March 1935


December 18, 2012
By Fred W. Beeson

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When it is considered that all of us, from our earliest infancy, are taught control (of self); that in speaking (and writing) we have to exercise control; that in our games we are bound by rules of control; why should it be, then, that in the conducting of our business affairs, and here we refer specifically to marketing eggs and poultry, control of the producers’ product should have been so long neglected?

Liken it to a game, say, of baseball, played without the enforcement of rules and with the only objective that of making homeruns.  What a spectacle it would become in a few minutes!  No regard to the well-being of others, no penalities, except that of exhaustion!!  Under such conditions would games be played?  Would you play them? You bet you wouldn’t.

An yet one engages in a business, from which it is earnestly hoped a living can be made, and that business has few, if any, rules, or means of control, for its conduct.

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Under the present set-up those who buy eggs from the producer have but one objective – to make a profit.  Their regard for the producer is practically non-existent.  Why? – Because the producers have not laid down any rules.  They have taken no step to control their product.

Eggs and poultry are transferred from one territory to another, quite regardless of those who have borne the expense of producing them.  For instance, early this year a car of eggs was shipped from the Coast to Winnipeg.  A profit was made, because of which, three more carloads went rolling to the same city and – broke the market five cents a dozen.  What the Manitoba poultrymen said about B.C. producers can’t be repeated here but it was not complimentary.

Conversely, carloads of Alberta eggs, and Saskatchewan and Alberta poultry, are shipped to Vancouver; and in order to effect sales, the price of the local products are forced down.  This raises a cry form the B.C. producers and a fervent wish that their Prairie brothers go jump in the lake.

Now, in neither case has the producer had anything to do with the handling of his product, but when markets are broken he reads in the newspapers “Eggs and Poultry Plentiful – Prices Drop So Many Cents.”

Believe it or not, in B.C. today it is not known how many producing birds there are; nor how many eggs are produced in a year; nor even how many eggs are delivered into Vancouver or Victoria in any one-week.

Such pitiful lack of knowledge – which could not exist under a system of control –makes it hard for the game to run smoothly.  At present it is almost impossible to play it at all.

The meetings recently held throughout the Lower Mainland of B.B., to explain the functions of the Marketing Act, have been well attended.  There seems very little quarrel with the principle of producer-control yet there is considerable speculation as to the efficacy of the Act to benefit the producer adequately.

We want to impress on every producer that his Act is not a cure-all.  Rather is it a primary movement to aid the producer. In our opinion its two chief features are (1) a practical effort to stabilize the present chaotic conditions of the markets, and (2) it is a first step to further far-reaching legislation for the return of prosperity to the producer.

The old hit-or-miss methods of marketing are ready to go.  In the building of a new structure the producers have been consulted­ – for the first time – via the Federal Act.  The Scheme prepared for the approval of the B.C. egg-producers has had a good reception.  Some people criticize it, but we ask those who have done so to realize that no imperfections are there that cannot be remedied.  Where faults are encountered they doubtless will be eliminated, as time goes on.  This is but a start to the creation of a better order of living.  It is well to pause on the fact that automobiles of 20 years ago appear ludicrous to us today, but, had a start not been made on that method of transportation, none of the present beautiful stream-lined cars would now be available

Looked back at in, say, even ten years, these initial steps to orderly marketing will look so obvious that one will wonder how in the world it could have caused any controversy at the time of their inauguration.

Confronted with the issue today, there is fear and hesitancy to embark upon what might be termed an uncharted sea.  If other schemes under the Act, already in operation, are not finding it all fair sailing, it is because their schemes did no ask for sufficient control.  The B.C. Committee was aware of this.  The have incorporate measures that make for complete control of the product produced or brought within the area.  To gain these points, it will be necessary to have unanimity of purpose amongst all producers.  There is a proverb that comes to mind that runs something like this” “To walk a mile, one must take the first step.”  The first step for the B.C. producer is to endorse the Committee’s Scheme one hundred per cent.  By doing that they will put themselves in the forefront of poultry producers of the Dominion.