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BC chicken farmers want to educate people about quality

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – BC chicken growers are defending their need to educate people about their product. It comes as the government announces $15,500 to help with the cost of producing a short movie to debunk the myths that many consumers hold.

The video will showcase BC family-run chicken farms and the responsibility they take in ensuring proper animal welfare, bio security, food safety, and the environment.

Bill Vanderspek, General Manager of the BC Chicken Marketing Board says despite what people think, there is a need to educate.  He says it amazes him; the number of people who still think Canadian chicken is pumped full of drugs.

“It’s advertised on our website, it’s advertised on the chicken farmers of Canada website, every time we do any kind of promotion we mention it but people just seem to have that urban myth about hormones and steroids and chicken… I have no idea why we can’t break that one.”

Vanderspek wants to debunk some other myths including the fact that broiler chickens are not raised in cages, they have 24 hour access to food and water.

As for organic versus non, Vanderspek says it means there are no pesticides, herbicides or artificial fertilizers on the land that’s growing the certified organic grain.

“I think the organic thing is more of a lifestyle choice, 99 per cent of the chicken grown in BC and Canada is not organically raised.  There’s no health issues with regular chicken, turkey, eggs, milk that Canadians need to be concerned about.”

He says both are equally as good because Canadian regulations are so strict.

“In Canada chicken is grown under a supply management system with quotas and that gives boards significant control over production methods.
For example we have mandatory food safety programs, animal care programs and bio security programs here in Canada..it’s pretty stringent.”

The funding is part of money the province had already announced to promote local agriculture.