By Fred W. BeesonFeatures 100th anniversary Key Developments Business/Policy Canada
After a decade and a half of the operation of the Dominion Government schemes known as Record of Performance (R.O.P.) and Registration, for poultry, it would be interesting indeed to be able to determine the ignorance (or otherwise) of the general poultry public to the policies.
Quite recently it was brought forcibly to our attention, during the hearing of a case in court when the witness, describing himself as a poultryman for over forty years and as an A.P.A. judge, was unable to correctly define the meaning of R.O.P. His idea of what was meant by “pedigree” bird was at fault and his knowledge of Registration, as applied to poultry, was nil. To what extent is this ignorance shared and why should it be so?
Years of patient work is being entered into by these poultrymen, in order, supposedly, to create an outlet, other than the chopping block, for their poultry. We know the Government has done its part in the carrying out of the schemes. The selection of inspectors has always been strict and never more strict than today. The standard required for certification has been made more strict, standard qualities more closely adhered to, in fact, everything done to ensure the fully qualified bird being a very superior specimen for the improvement of its breed. By far the greatest majority of breeders, within the ranks of R.O.P. and Registration members, are conscientious in their work and have cheerfully given their time and their best efforts to the carrying out of the work entailed in recording individual performances and pedigrees.
Canadian breeders are singularly fortunate in having such policies available. No other country has done this much for breeders of poultry and yet, with these helps, who dare say that Canadian breeders are better off than those of any other country? What percentage of the chicks sold at one day old in Canada are from females and particularly males with definite official pedigrees? Are the breeders of this class of stock getting their rightful share of the business each year? If R.O.P. and Registration is not making the impression that is should what are the factors responsible for its failure?
Government policies generally come into being because of a desire on the part of bodies of people for protection from unfair practices. Grading systems for fruit, meat, eggs, fertilizers and scores of other marketable products are designed with that protection in mind. The various government departments supply the means for inspection that safeguard the general public and the manufacturers and the wholesalers of various articles from unfair competition and in that, do all that they should do. The merchandising of those articles is something outside of the scope of a government official. Here, we think, is the weak link in these government schemes for the poultrymen. Breeders who need protection from unfair competition should be very sure that they are in a position to carry out the merchandising of their product that carries with it this government standard of excellence. To produce the product and then to sell it is the business of the breeder. We see a few evidences throughout the country where this attitude is adopted, and with success. We see in the vast majority of cases that the breeder does not derive the benefit and attain the measure of success that should be his because of his utter failure to take advantage of the protection and recognition given him by the Government.
Of the millions of chicks and the thousands of stock birds that annually change hands in Canada it is a safe bet that the genuine government-inspected breeder is not selling his quota. We know of many breeders who each year sell their output of eggs to hatcheries whose chief appeal is price – a ruinous price. In doing this they are defeating themselves and lessening their chances of ever selling stock at a price warranted by a comparison of quality.
The breeder seeking official recognition will have to be in a position where he can carry out an effective campaign and bring home to his prospective customers the fact that he has the goods. Lack of sale should not be blamed on the government or the scheme. The policies have been drawn up with a view to giving the honest breeder adequate protection and recognition. They do that. Sales effort must come from the individual and it must come steadily all the time, in the form of ceaseless effort to enlighten the public about his officially recognized stock. The Dominion has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in inspection work to help the breeder. It can only have been wisely spent if the breeder does his part in sales effort. If he desires to sell his quality product he must tell the public, not once, not half-heartedly, but all the time, that he has it for sale.
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