While preparing to euthanize 32,000 chickens, Alain Bazinet, a breeder from Saint-Hyacinthe, in Montérégie, describes the situation as “shameful” for the industry.
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The strike that continues at the Exceldor plant in Saint-Anselme is a real logistical headache for farmers like Mr. Bazinet, but the situation is weighing heavily on their morale as well.
“Morally, it’s difficult. We go from pride in feeding Quebeckers to a certain shame, in fact. It’s shameful to euthanize chickens, ”says farm owner Amédée Bazinet.
Despite everything, Alain Bazinet cannot help but think of the restaurateurs who are starting to reopen their doors after an already difficult year.
“I am thinking of my restaurant friends who are reopening, who will be forced to pay for overpriced chicken meat or to cross chicken off the menu altogether because they will not be able to stock up”, regrets he does.
The euthanasia of these animals is inevitable. There is no way to send the excess chickens to slaughterhouses elsewhere in Quebec or even in Ontario and the United States. Everything is full.
“Everything has been done. Everyone has been asked. Then with the coming summer months, there is even less capacity for the other factories to take the surplus, ”says Mr. Bazinet.
Her son, Xavier, who helps her on a daily basis, is just as helpless in the face of the situation.
“It’s weeks of work. And the fact remains that it’s alive, so it’s boring to think that it will only have been used for that, that our work will also have served only that, ”he indignantly.
On average, a chicken takes 35 to 38 days, depending on the desired weight, before reaching maturity and ending up on the shelves at the grocery store.
But we have to admit that these chickens will eventually be asphyxiated with CO2 and then be thrown in the garbage.
But before a serious shortage hits the market, the father-son duo asks the government and opposition parties to act, even if it means adopting a special law.
“Without necessarily forcing them to return 100% to work, at least alternately, 50% who work, 50% who work. It cannot continue like this for very, very long, ”says Alain Bazinet.
In an interview on the airwaves of “À vos affaires”, the Minister of Agriculture, André Lamontagne, also deplored the situation.
“It affects me enormously. This is something that I have seen coming for a long time and it is very sad that we have an environment that does things like that in 2021. These are things that should not happen, ”he says.
Mr. Lamontagne ensures that he is in constant communication with the Minister of Labor, Jean Boulet, and that a conciliator is working with the stakeholders in the file. But despite 11 meetings, the stalemate still persists.
“The message I have to send (…) is that there is a social responsibility that stems from this conflict. And then it’s to hurry and go to the negotiating table and negotiate in good faith to find a solution, ”he says.