I’ve seen firsthand how Canadian chicken, egg and dairy farmers, who have the luxury of a quota system and controlled pricing, can put exceptional effort into food safety, animal housing and other welfare measures. Canada’s supply management system is criticized at international trade negotiations and even in some domestic circles for limiting market access and keeping prices artificially high. But in the tanking global dairy sector, particularly in the United States and Europe, Canada’s system must suddenly look pretty good. I write about it in my Urban Cowboy column in today’s Guelph Mercury.

Frustrated European dairy farmers protested earlier this year in Brussels against dismal milk prices by staging well-publicized demonstrations, such as the one pictured below that ran in the New York Times in October. Despite the smiling faces in this shot, I don’t think farm protests that waste food or denigrate livestock do much to win the public’s sympathy.