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Mistral Gris?

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1 Mistral Gris? on Sat Apr 28, 2012 9:27 am

Omega Blue Farms

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Mods, if the following questions were asked of a hatchery like say Rochester or Ideal, the questions would be met with full support. I would hope we can apply the same standards to all sources of imported chicks and put substance before politics.

While at the annual Coombs farm auction last weekend, I got the opportunity to observe some offspring from some imported "Mistral Gris". There were two pens, one barred and the other solid clack. Other than that, they looked the same. I got to handle the birds and they definitely are decent meat birds. Felt like I was holding mature cornish crosses. The barred ones didn't have the kind of barring one would find on a barred rock, but had more of a cuckoo type of barring that one would find on a Maran. They also had white skin which is not a Plymouth breed trait.

It's obvious from what I saw that the birds are part of a very large scale breeding operation, one that must supply great numbers of chicks. They are obviously the product of hybrids, and not a true breeding inbred line. With that in mind, one would expect a search for "Mistral Gris" to turn up something other than ABC and WPC Canadian discussions. But it doesn't. However, the search did uncover a "Master Gris" poultry line that does descend back to Shaver in a round about way. As with the Redbro, the Master Gris is trademarked and under France based corporate ownership.

There is alot of secrecy around the actual source of the Mistral Gris, all we are being told is that they come from: "The hatchery in Pennsylvania that produces the MGs is owned and run by an Amish farmer who is willing to ship to us, but does not want to do the foreign exchange, talk to bunches of foreigners, etc. and doesn't do credit cards, email etc. etc."

I did a search for hatcheries in the Penn state and found a huge supply of coloured broilers of the Rebro theme, all tracing back to the same corporate source. Nothing for a local independent line of broiler birds. For such a huge market and given the quality of the birds I observed, it doesn't make any sense. Doesn't jive with what we are being led to believe up here.

I believe that when it comes to our food security and our sustainable right to enjoy our heritage breeds, we should always be prepared to error on the side of caution. There is no reason to not assume that these corporate broiler genepools don't come with Genetic Markers.

I don't believe it's in our best interest to risk adding such genetic markers to our heritage breeds and this is why I believe we all have a right to know the full truth so that we can make informed breeding decisions.

http://www.OmegaBlueFarms.ca

2 Re: Mistral Gris? on Sun Apr 29, 2012 8:31 am

Omega Blue Farms

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Now to be clear, I have no problem utilizing this stock as strickly a meat bird, its no different than utilizing white cornish cross factory birds. While I'm not a supporter of the factory meat birds, whether or not others want to use them is a personal choice.

My concern comes when these designer factory meat birds are being presented as heritage birds and are being utilized to restore or beef up heritage breeds. Here is a quote from the minutes of a recent Island Heritage Livestock meeting (local chapter of Rare Breeds Canada):

"Field Trips: Consideration for an outing to XX XXXXXX's farm - she has bred up a flock of Barred Rocks - self breeding, and fast growing:
Action: Margaret to arrange a field trip."




http://www.OmegaBlueFarms.ca

3 Re: Mistral Gris? on Tue May 01, 2012 6:13 pm

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Thank you for your concern and your input Omega Blue Farms. I was seriously considering this course of action at one time but have decided against pursuing it. Could you please elaborate further about any possible consequences of mixing heritage breeds with copyrighted? genetics. Would anyone doing this open themselves to a lawsuit or would this give away right of ownership of mixed stocks?

4 Re: Mistral Gris? on Tue May 01, 2012 7:01 pm

ipf


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You can't copyright (patent) life forms in Canada. You CAN patent genes, but they have to be genes you deliberately inserted into the genome, i.e. the recipients are GMOs. And (so far) ther are no GMO food animals in Canada. THey're working on GMO pigs and salmon, but so far they aren't legally allowed to market them as human food.

Wayne, I'm not sure what you mean by "genetic markers"? Please explain.

5 Re: Mistral Gris? on Wed May 02, 2012 8:09 am

Omega Blue Farms

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IPF, you are playing with me, you know what a genetic marker is and are just testing me.

For the purpose of this discussion and this audience, I will put it this way. They scan genepools and look for genes or genetic combinations unique to individual genepools. They use the presence of such markers to make assumptions about the ancestry of subsequent genepools.

I have personal opinions about the validity of such assumptions, but such opinions don't matter. What matters is the opinion of the corporations making the assumptions.

I have written both Hendrix Genetics (Orlopp Turkey) and Hubbard (designer broilers) asking whether there were any legal considerations to me utilizing their genetics in my breeding program. Both phoned me to say I could not and neither has complied with my request for a written response. On the phone, the Hendrix representative was the most forth coming.

As he stated, it is Hendrix's position that any party that utilizes their genetics (regardless of source) is in agreement to their conditions of sale. You can find their "conditions" on their website. Their conditions of sale restrict how their product can be utilized and is considered a contractual agreement. While our Canadian courts may not accept any patent claims, they most certainly will have no problem entertaining a claim on breach of contract.

We all need to learn from the prairie farmer who tried growing corn from his own seeds, that had been contaminated with foreign pollen. The foreign pollen happened to come from GMO plants owned by monsanto. All who use these GMO plants are subject to Monsanto's conditions of sale. Also, all who use the offspring of Monsanto's plants (whether voluntarily or by accident) are also subject to Monsanto's "Conditions of Use". Our prairie farmer never formally entered into a contract with Monsanto and never purchased the Monsanto product, but our courts still felt he was legally bound to Monsanto's contractual conditions. Once that pollen floated into his fields, he lost control of his corn genepool. One gust of wind and his publically owned genepool became the property of Monsanto.

Now the way I read the judgement, the Monsanto case did not hinge on Patent law. The farmer was not charged with Patent infringement directly, but of contract violation. Patent law was simply a tool used to establish Monsanto's sense of control over the genepool. Given the wording of the judgement, it is clear that Hendrix and Hubbard would not be limited to patents to establish their sense of ownership. In my conversations with Hendrix and and Hubbard, they have the same take on the situation.

I personally feel one could defeat Hendrix and Hubbard in a Canadian court, but how much are any of us willing to spend to prove it? Why expose ourselves and our heritage genepools to such legal risk? I would hope that anyone willing to expose our heritage genepools to this risk would at least be responsible enough to be willing to stay and fight this legal battle.

http://www.OmegaBlueFarms.ca

6 Re: Mistral Gris? on Wed May 02, 2012 8:24 am

Omega Blue Farms

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The following link looks weird and I don't know if it will work, but if it does, it links to a document titled "History of Shaver Breeding Farms"

If it doesn't work, a search for "Master Gris" Shaver will get you to the document.


[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

http://www.OmegaBlueFarms.ca

7 Re: Mistral Gris? on Wed May 02, 2012 8:48 am

ipf


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Nope, not playing with you Wayne. Yes, of course I know what a genetic marker is. The way you wrote suggested to me that you might be using the term to denote a GM insertion. Thanks for your clarification.

I agree with you that one could probably win a case against Hubbard and Hendrix, but being a geneticist, not a lawyer, I have no great confidence in my opinion. I do believe that the Monsanto case hinged on the GM aspect of the pollen though. The Harvard Mouse case a decade ago set the path for this sort of issue.

8 Re: Mistral Gris? on Wed May 02, 2012 11:18 am

uno

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Know NOTHING about this topic, way over my head.

Why can't a farmer sue monsanto for genetic trespass? As a farmer you have to keep your livestock containted lest they cause trouble to someone else. Well then it should be the responsibility of monsanto to keeps its nasty little pollens contained. GMO pollen should not be allowed free right of movement where it is not invited nor wanted.

9 Re: Mistral Gris? on Thu May 03, 2012 10:06 am

Omega Blue Farms

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totally agree Uno, but have ya got the cash to prove it in a court of law? And if you happen to win the first round, got enough cash to back it up repeatedly in the various higher courts?




http://www.OmegaBlueFarms.ca

10 Re: Mistral Gris? on Tue May 15, 2012 11:12 pm

Country Thyme Farm

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Interesting, this is the first serious discussion I've seen on these mistral gris on the internet so far. Personally I find it a bit offensive that essentially a barred version of a commercial meat hybrid is being advertised by people as a "heritage type" broiler. Of further note is that these birds require feed restriction for healthful grow-out.

One thing I can add to this is that for some hybrid (not GMO) corn that I have grown in the past required me to agree to a contract promising not to save seed in order to get it in.

http://countrythyme.ca

11 Re: Mistral Gris? on Tue May 15, 2012 11:57 pm

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I read part of the link about the Shaver history, I see the Gris have the lowest performance. Corporations don't do preservation, they do munny. That would put them on the proverbial chopping block eventually no? Unless what, maybe someone hits the right heritage cross and gets noticed..
I spoke to one of the ab hatchery association today to ask about how the regulations affect hatching heritage breed poultry. The lady flat out told me she had never heard of such a thing as a heritage breed of poultry. Led to an argument about people getting sick but anyway this leads me to think that maybe these corporate producers would really consider the Gris a heritage breed or at least a vintage one that is on the way out. And what is ALBC to their money? They can advertise whatever they want without penalty.

12 Re: Mistral Gris? on Sun Aug 05, 2012 10:03 pm

TruNorth


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Gee, I am sorry I missed this post back in May.

Mistral Gris are not Master Gris.

Mistral Gris are not owned by any corporation, unless Henry's farm is incorporated, which I doubt.

Don Shaver on contract with Penn State in the '80's worked with a number of Amish poultrymen to help them develop their own rustic broilers. There are at least 12 such breeds being sold by small Amish hatcheries that, for the most part, do not have any presence on the web -- that's why you didn't find them, Wayne.

Don Shaver also taught a number of Canadian farmers how to breed these birds, but the Canadians sold their genetics to the corporations. And Don Shaver's own rustic broilers were the property of Shaver Poultry which was sold (eventually) to Hubbard. Hubbard and SASSO are the owners of all rustic broiler lines that have been sold. But the Amish farmers aren't selling.

Henry has no objections to anyone using Mistral Gris to cross with anything else, and in fact has sold buyers who have asked for it a slower growing version of MGs that has better fertility without feed restriction.

I don't know whether to be amused or offended by your assumption that if you can't find something on the web it must be some kind of nasty hoax. I tracked down something that was very hard to find. I flew to Pennsylvania to see it. There is nothing evil or dangerous about these birds.

http://www.TrueNorthFarm.ca

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