Keith Colwell In Bed With Turkeys


Keith Colwell’s so-called plan for hygienic poultry is massive industrial farms and slaughterhouses where tens of thousands of birds are nearly packed one on another.

Under the incompetent and self-serving NDP government, a sneaky little tactic was tried.  Very quietly, one day all the shops for home brewers around the province were served a notice: the NS Liquor Commission was going to require them to register with them.  But, hey, it was no big deal–a mere $15 for a simple certificate.  They expected the home brewing shops around the province (and home brewers) to merely say: “Oh, no big deal.  That sounds reasonable.  Sure, let’s do that.”  You see, the Liquor Commission has no authority over home brewing shops because they sell food products: fruit juices, yeast, citric acid . . . that sort of thing.  And they had no precedent to establish authority of any kind.  So what they thought was they would issue a requirement to all these home brewing shops who’s business owners would quietly acquiesce, thus establishing a precedent that they do indeed have authority over home brewing.  Then the Liquor Commission would have moved to require licensing and heavy taxation of any juices, yeasts, etc., used in the home production of wines and ales.  The bottom line was simple: the Liquor Commission, under the auspices of the NDP, figured they could secretly increase their monopoly and their profits.  But Nova Scotians are smarter than that.  Business owners and brewers saw the ruse right from the outset.  The NDP pushed it anyway through their entire paltry year or two in office, only relenting just before election time when the polls showed clearly just how badly off they were.  And by then it was too late for the NDP; Nova Scotians had seen their true colors and voted them out in a massive landslide defeat.

The small farmer raises a few birds on many acres, where they are spread out and uncrowded in sanitary, natural, high quality conditions.

The small farmer raises a few birds on many acres, where they are spread out and uncrowded in sanitary, natural, high quality conditions.

So then came the Liberals.  The new, brighter face of political leadership, right?  And now they have been in a year or two and their Minister of Agriculture, the dishonorable Keith Colwell, develops a secret plot with the Turkey Farmers regulatory board and big industry farming.  The plot was similar to the NDP’s stunt: Hey, it’s no big deal.  For your own safety, we’re just not going to allow small farmers to use local abattoirs or even butcher their own livestock for their own private use.  Keith thought he was wonderfully clever.  Under the guise of “It’s for your own good, people”, he would just sneak in a little limitation on butchering turkeys locally.  He thought people would accept that.  He thought he could quietly flex his political muscle and no one would notice.  And then, after testing his clout and establishing precedent, he would just quietly require small farmers to send all their livestock to big corporate abattoirs.

Keith was wrong.  People have noticed, and Nova Scotians are angry.

You see, Keith says it’s all for the public good.  Out of the saintly goodness of his politician’s heart, he just wants to protect small farmers from the terrible, terrible bacteria that must surely be present on their little farms, where livestock is raised in spacious, natural conditions far away from the virtual petri dishes of industrial farming conditions.  And in order to do that, his brilliant plan is to require those small farmers to send all their livestock to massive, corporate industrial slaughterhouses where millions of animals are slaughtered each year after being shipped and contained in disgusting, virtual concentration camp settings.

Unfortunately for Keith, he is not very bright, and in a recent interview let his game plan loose on the airwaves.  That is right: he stated clearly and emphatically that he wants to require small farms to send not just turkeys but all their livestock to industrial slaughterhouses.  (See link to that interview here.  You must watch to the last minute or so to hear him literally state his intent.)

(Hunters: Be certain, you’re next.  Keith will want to require you to send your game to these slaughterhouses, too.)

But the public recognized the lie right off.  Keith is doing what politicians in Nova Scotia do best–kissing up to special corporate interest at the expense of Nova Scotians.  What is really happening is that, in typical snakelike NS political fashion, Keith has slithered into bed with big corporate farming interests.  Someone has whispered into his ear: Hey, Keith, if you give more power to the NS Turkey Farmers regulatory board, you can claim to have created more agricultural jobs, and then our happy, happy people will all think you’re a hero and vote for you.  I mean, that is how you buy politicians legally: you tell them your special interest group will make them look like a hero and get them votes.  And Keith’s plan is to push this agenda as far as his ethics-addled mind feels he can push it.  In effect: Keith has an agenda, and its premises are simple: self-aggrandizement and big corporate interests.  It’s an old song of Nova Scotia politicians.  I suspect this most recent song and dance will lead the Liberals to the same sad end as the NDP recently experienced in the none-too-distant future.

Nova Scotia: I propose several things.

  1. A total and complete boycott of turkey sold in Nova Scotia’s grocery stores, and let the store managers know why.
  2. Go to your local feed and seed store or farmer’s co-op and sign the petition against Keith Colwell’s sneaky little plan.
  3. Write the premier and demand Keith’s immediate resignation.
  4. Get the petition into other places.  Hunters: note, you’re next.  Get the petition into hunting stores.

Let Keith know Nova Scotia belongs to Nova Scotians.  Not conniving politicians.  Not big corporate special interests.  Not even to sneaky, conniving little turkey boards operating in the background like mini-mafia wannabes.

Categories: Uncategorized | 25 Comments

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25 thoughts on “Keith Colwell In Bed With Turkeys

  1. Emma

    Thank you. This is the best article on this topic that I’ve read (and I think I’ve read them all). I’m currently composing my own to share with the public and Keith Colwell.

  2. Steve Bell

    Start the petition here on!

    • CL

      No, please do not start a online petition again. These petitions may travel fast and get a lot of signatures, but these online signatures are useless. Only physical, actual signatures, can be submitted in the Legislature. If you can’t get into a feed store, local co-op or your local MLA’s office (the 3 MLA’s in our area have copies for constituents to sign) print your own copy of the petition, sign it and mail it to your local MLA They must produce REAL signatures only.

    • Lauren

      Electronic petitions aren’t admissible into the NS Legislature.

  3. What do you mean, Hunters are next? Care to share a source for this so I can do some research?

    • Nick, what I mean is that if Keith Colwell is telling small farmers in Nova Scotia that he plans to try to take away their ability to raise and butcher their own livestock for their own personal use, then it is not far behind that the same restriction will fall to hunters because his inference is that it’s to protect people from the bacteria they must surely introduce in their unskilled, unsanitary personal butchering practices. Mark my word: the next step will be hunters have to take their game to official processing facilities.

  4. Pingback: Are You Outraged Yet? You Should Be. | Knotty Acres- Back to Basics

  5. Thanks, Cliff, for helping spread this information. It seems that many, many people are interested in this topic (if my farm blog stats are any indication). I’ll be at the feed store tomorrow, where I assume they’ll have the petition. Even better, I’ll be at Cochrane Farms in Upper Stewiacke to pick up my winter supply of oatmeal, and I believe Frank has a petition there to sign.

    I honestly can’t believe Colwell stated he wanted to make slaughtering our own birds in our own backyards illegal. It infuriates me to no end because I’ll be doing just that in the future as I expand my skill as a self-sufficient homesteader. Where will it stop? Will I need a government inspector over my shoulder to make a home-cooked meal in a few years, or will I have to take all the ingredients to a government-inspected facility.

  6. My wife and I usually winter in Florida. However this year we plan to be home in Dartmouth. As in years past, my wife plans to cook (turkey) as the main meat for Thanksgiving dinner. She is not generally politically minded or sensitive to such issues. However, this is a topic which, to my way of thinking, supercedes any family dinner concerns. I will encourage her to boycott the conglomerates. It would be nice to find a homegrown source so we could have turkey although, barring that option I will try to make an argument for having pizza…just kiddin.
    Cudos to all who are leading this backlash against Colwell and his self-serving, spineless plans.
    e HarbClarence (Gene) Antle, Cole Harbour

  7. Pete.

    I love turkey but maybe next year. Don’t need it badly enough to allow our overbearing Liberal Gov’t. to get away with this without a fight. If you don’t think they are going to ram this up our a** , just look at what they are doing to our overworked & under appreciated nurses.

  8. Brian

    Why not post a petition against Keith’s plan here on your site?

    • Brian, I have not posted or linked online petitions because all they can do is show number of responses. For a petition to have legal weight, it must have a hard signature.

  9. Martin Carree

    Thanks for the interesting article. I am going to make my way to the store to sign the petition. Gordon Fraser lives just up the road from me and I have had chickens butchered by him. He has been in the business for many years and I have seen first hand that he runs a sanitary operation. This whole thing smells and I think its(as your article implies)really about going after the little guy. Shame on the government. Concerning Gordon’s business, instead of the government saying “how do we stop this” they should have said “how can we make this work.” That my friends would have taken common sense which when it comes to government is in short supply.

  10. canadiandoomer

    We are in Colchester county, starting to build a small farm. I am very interested in helping in any way that I can, as is my husband.

    • You’ll certainly want to because it seems Nova Scotia government is now beginning a plan to suppress small farms. I am from Alaska, originally. I thought Alaska was bad for government corruption. But Nova Scotia takes the cake. I’ve been here ten years and I’ve watched one government after another whine about how they are powerless to protect Nova Scotians from big corporate interests, selectively change and ignore rules and regs and laws to serve big corporate interests, and go after small businesses one after another with intent to clear them out of the way for big business. I am honestly coming to view this province as a First World region with Third World environmental standards and government ethics.

  11. This has become an everyday event in the Maritimes, The agriculture as well as the fisheries has or is going all big company. The amount of revenue lost from lost employment as big corporate boards dictate civil laws that only cater to themselves. CFIA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency) is most likely involved in this also as they set the criteria that is put forth to them from such boards. We need to take back our country we need to eliminate back room boards that set these unjust rules that hand cuff our citizens.

    We are trying to start a new federal party to do just that. But we need support to get started.

  12. Lauren

    There’s actually a lot of misinformation in this article. A lot.

    The Minister hasn’t said that butchering your own meat on your own premises would be illegal. The turkey board hasn’t gone to shut random abattoirs down – it has all been 100% complaint based. What’s happened is that the Minister is actually standing up for food safety by saying that if you want to have an animal killed by a qualified person (other than yourself), that person must know what they’re doing and be certified to do so.

    I think it’s prudent to respect the investment that other abattoirs have made in being certified to slaughter turkeys. Contrary to what the author of the blog suggests, these aren’t “industrial slaughterhouses” – they’re small slaughterhouses in communities all across Nova Scotia. They’re family businesses offering a much needed service to Nova Scotians.

    I’d love to ask the author what she thinks is a more appropriate solution – allow anybody with a desire to slaughter turkeys because somebody locally has some birds that need to be killed? I guarantee that if somebody were to fall ill, or worse – die, from meat that was produced in an unlicensed or uninspected facility, the public would be upset that government failed to uphold food safety standards.

    Wasn’t that what happened with the Maple Leaf scandal a few years ago? Systems to ensure food was produced in a safe, clean, and inspected facility failed and people died. Now the Turkey Board and Minister are standing up for safely produced food, and they’re apparently in the wrong.

    • Lauren, please feel free to cite all the deaths among those families eating livestock they have raised on their small farms that you can find. I’ll be happy to cite you a list of deaths, illnesses and meat recalls from industrial facilities, which amounts to the thousands or people and hundreds of millions of pounds of tainted meat.

      By the way, it might interest you to know there are only 19 registered turkey producers in Nova Scotia. These 19 produce 4.5 million birds. These 19 are the powerhouse behind the turkey board which avidly to keeps small farmers from entering the market in order to assure what results in a monopoly shared between them.

      It may also interest you to know there is no meaningful difference between butchering a turkey, a chicken, a goose or a grouse. To say one needs a meat inspector on premises and separate butchering facilities just to butcher turkeys, as opposed to those other birds, is simply a sophistry with the intent of eliminating the competition of local, clean and safe abattoirs by pricing them out of the market. It would be like saying a vet who works with dogs cannot possibly recognize and treat cats, too.

      It may also interest you to know that Maple Leaf and all the other big producers are exactly the big systems rife with pollution and major failures that we small farmers and small buyers are leery of, and with good reason. It is impossible to raise animals in extremely confined, close, extreme stress conditions without creating ideal conditions for pathogenic spread. Nor is it possible to butcher them in mass conditions without the same risks.

      I don’t know who you’re trying to feed this propaganda to, but I doubt anyone here is going to swallow it.

    • canadiandoomer

      I was pretty certain he had, in fact, stating that he was trying to make it illegal to slaughter your own animals. I’ve been trying to access the video, but my computer won’t let me.

      If I ask my neighbour down the street to help me slaughter my pig, why is that ANY business of the government’s? Really? It is quite ingenious to compare Gordon Fraser’s little shop with Maple Leaf. And I think most people look at the Maple Leaf stuff as proof that the government is pretty lousy and overseeing the safety of our food.

  13. NS Down the Gutter

    I think it is almost time for some more regulations. Us Nova Scotianers should not be allowed to buy plane tickets to Boston for under $2500. Doing so is not in public interest as it will just make our elected officials look bad for their spending habits. Thats what happens though when a retired small appliance repair man is our Premier.

    • Keith Rudderham

      Does Gordon Fraser need to apply for the same license that Maple Leaf had? Will using the same inspection system that was used at Maple Leaf really make us safer?

      In effect the NS government is saying that we need to follow the rules not because they work, or make sense, but because they are the rules.

      I fear we are headed down the wrong path in a hurry.

      • It is so easy to head down the wrong path under the auspices of crooked and unqualified leadership. And if you look up the education credentials of many government officials in this province, you can see heaps of “unqualified”.

  14. I have to say that I have never heard of any problems from food from small farms. I have, however, heard many times on the news about food being recalled because of big processing plants and big slaughter houses. I thought I would share a site with some interesting information. It is an American site but if you think about it they go through the same problems we do when it comes to small ” David ” sized farms and the big “Goliath” companies.

  15. Pingback: Nova Scotia Turkey Farming | Canadees Meisje's Thoughts on Agriculture

  16. Pingback: Local food movement under attack | Cape Breton Independent

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