Saturday June 21st, 2008
Stratford Rotary Complex
Attendance: Ken Wagler, Dave Wagler, Kari Wagler, Mark DeWitt, as well as 282 breeders, and forensic accountant Paul Ross.
Welcome introduction by Ken Wagler.
Video by Valerie Kreop.
Minutes by Erin Wood.
Ken welcomed the group of breeders and family members to the Stratford Rotary Complex. First he expressed his feelings on the situation. He explained that the meeting was to be used as means of encouragement and to try to find answers to questions all breeders are facing. By no means was Ken trying to give false hope, but only suggestions to a solution. The concerns of the group were those of “Where do we go from here?”
Ken discussed that he met with the Waterloo Regional Police’s Fraud Department on Friday June 20th. He listed for the Police any red flags he may have seen in regards to Pigeon King International and Arlan Galbraith. There is always a paper trail, and the investigation is on-going. As of 9am on Friday June 20th there was no filing of bankruptcy of PKI. It was explained that there is a time lag between submitting paperwork and the filing being complete.
Ken’s first positive announcement was that one breeder had already received an offer for 1000 squab per week. Following this, Ken announced that he has been in contact with a Federally Inspected killing plant outside of London and a food processor in London with positive responses. Ken showed the crowed two high-flyer pigeons processed and packaged in a presentation that would be marketable to consumers. The pigeons packaged would be approximately 20 weeks in age as they were ready to be shipped out on the farm’s next shipment The processor of these birds says he has the market to move 400,00 birds a year.
It was noted that some breeders would be looking for alternatives due to lack of finances, time and other personal reasons. In such a case, the birds would have to be put down.
A memo from the Ontario Farm Animal Council was read. It was noted that pigeons must receive appropriate care, food and water and that, according to them, it is not acceptable to release birds from your barn. If assistance is needed with euthanization please call OMAFRA at 1-877-424-1300. As well, the OMAFRA website has information on flock management, disposal, processing, and debt management.
Indication of interest was taken of the group in attendance in regards to who of the breeders were in this for the long haul. It was requested that those in attendance should fill out the information sheet handed out at the door. The information sheet contains personal contact information, comments and suggestions, and the breeder’s preference in terms of commitment.
The meeting was now opened to the floor for discussion and questions.
Q - What was the age of the birds processed?
A - The birds were in Walter and Valerie’s holding pen and were to be the next shipment out. Approximately 16-20 weeks. There would be a limited value on the older birds.
Q - How many birds of PKI are there out there?
A - The exact numbers are unknown. Requested to fill out your information sheet with the approximate number of breeders and offspring you have.
Q - Since Arlan was already working on a processing plant, do we not have an idea of the numbers, both monetary and bird wise, that we are looking at?
A – Nobody has had any contact with Arlan, so we really do not have an idea what his plans were. We have to move forward without these answers.
Q – What about the engineering company that put these blue prints together?
A – The suggestion has been made to police to look into the legitimacy of the drawings. It is believed we need to start from the ground up and not wait for answers in regards to what Arlan’s plans were.
Q – Is OMAFRA and other groups ‘watching’ us for cruelty in terms of gassing or freeing our birds?
A – OMAFRA is looking out for the best interests of both the flock and the farmer.
Q – PKI isn’t bankrupt?
A – Paul Ross confirmed that as of 9am Friday June 20th there was no filing. All salaried employees of PKI were being paid until Friday June 20th and it was business as usual up until this point. At this point since there is no filings made there is no bankruptcy trustee for Arlan that we are away of. The letter from PKI to breeders stated he had “retained services of a bank trustee effective June 17th”. Paul explained that breeders need to appoint a trustee as soon as possible. There must be a debt owing of at least $1,000.
Q – What is an economical alternative for feed?
A – Melvin Kurtz producer and owner of a feed mill in New York State suggested a holding ration of grain only by feeding the birds all they can eat for thirty minutes twice daily. Possible grains include corn, wheat, oats and barley. It was suggested to cull birds aggressively if they are sick and need medication. Processors are looking for birds that are not medicated. Also mentioned that Tavistock feed mill can supply bags of rolled mixed grain at $7/bag.
Q – Is there currently enough processing capacity in Ontario to meet our needs as breeders with barns full of birds?
A – Grand Valley processing plant has own market and isn’t looking to enlarge right now. They say there is not a big enough market, but it is possible they do not want their market broken.
Q – Did Arlan make any sales to birds to anyone other than the next new farmer getting into the business?
A – Arlan always said no, that at this time he was only putting birds back into the breeding business.
Q – Arlan was picked up by the RCMP in BC?
A – We are aware Arlan is under investigation by RCMP but cannot verify this is correct or not.
Q – IS there enough producers out there that know exactly what their costs are to raise a bird?
A - $.13 per pair per day + offspring. Just what Arlan’s book said it would be.
Q – What is the withdrawal period for canker medication and Amrpol?
A – There has been no testing by CFIA. It is believe that every bird ever on canker mediation cannot be used for human consumption. The Canker treatment is not currently licensed in Canada. It was originally invented for humans.
Q – What are slaughter statistics for pigeons in Ontario?
A – 6,919 Dec 2000, 11,464 June 2000, total 116,461 2000.
Q – Are breeders liable for speaking on behalf of Arlan in their personal experience with PKI?
A – No, you were only giving your experience not endorsing Arlan or his business.
Q – Is it possible for the whole group to lodge an official complaint or class action lawsuit against Arlan Galbriath?
A – Suggested hiring of a lawyer to represent all breeders of PKI that are interested
Q – Was PKI really a registered company?
A – Yes, in 2007 PKI was incorporated in Canada.
Q – How do we get control of the books and records of PKI?
A – Paul Ross said a lawyer need to be hired that will appoint a trustee.
Henry Lubbers made a motion to get a group appointed lawyer to look into getting a creditor appointed Trustee.
Second by Joe Monteiro.
Motion is carried.
Concerns were expressed that not everyone would want to be involved in a legal case and many were not ready to make such a decision to be involved. It was agreed that those who want to be involved will be required to sign up. Those who take no action at all will not be included in any legal proceedings.
The following committees were suggested:
• Contact Arlan Committee
• Contact CFIA Committee
• Marking Committee
• Processing Committee
• Exporting Committee
• Government Lobbying Committee
Anyone willing to put their name down is urged to sign up. It is important to note the commitment required in being a member of a committee.
Other notes of the meeting include:
• Stop medicating your birds. Garlic does wonders. 2,000 birds get 12 garlic bulbs a week mixed into the feed. Suggestion to use natural Heritage Feeds.
• Speak to your local MP and MPP’s to voice your concerns
• Suggestion of implementing an online forum for breeders and committees to communicate.
• Sheik Halal Farms is buying squab babies – contact at 905-330-2290
• There is a large ethnic market for birds with Asian and Mediterranean groups.
Ken thanked everyone for attending and requested that what was discussed in the meeting be kept quiet. Suggested to avoid the media outside the building. A big thanks to WS Feed and Supply for paying for the accommodations of the hall. Donations were accepted to cover future costs and to help fellow breeders in financial need. Total amount collected was $1,273.78. Next meeting if everyone could come prepared with $2 to cover the costs incurred it would be appreciated. The meeting was adjourned.