Ethics and supply management: Humane food production under government price-fixing

Does supply management create conditions that, in some instances, harm animals?

It’s an interesting argument and it’s being made by Cory Morgan, a columnist at the Western Standard, who wrote about his own recent experience with small-scale chicken ranching and how he feels the poultry quota system in Canada can disincentivize animal welfare:

Due to this system, large factory-style producers have a virtual monopoly on production. They mass produce birds and eggs and in abhorrent, cramped conditions. This keeps the costs down and with competition limited by quotas, these producers have little incentive to improve the conditions of their animals.

In the case of myself and many of those who seek out free range eggs, it is not simply the quality which draws us to those products. We want to know that we are consuming animal products which were humanely produced and are willing to pay extra for that. I am no vegan by any means. I think we have every right to consume and enjoy animal products. But I do also feel that we are obligated to produce these foods as humanely as possible.

For free-market capitalists like me, I’d always opposed supply management as unfair price-fixing. I’d never thought of the ethical implications.

Cory joins me on the show tonight to discuss his new take on supply management, as well as the possibility of an Alberta PST being floated by the UCP finance minister and Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi defunding the city’s police force by $20 million.