Canadian Federation of Humane Societies

The Canadian Federation of Humane Societies is the national organization representing Humane Societies and SPCA's in Canada. We bring together those who work with and care for animals to promote respect and humane treatment toward all animals. Our vision is our long term desired outcome for our organization and for animal welfare in Canada. Our mission guides our actions and defines our approach to move towards that vision. Our values are the principles and approaches with which we do our work.
Feb 9, 2016

When a good news story isn't a good news story!

Chicken
Chicken

On Friday February 5th, in a surprise move, Egg Farmers of Canada announced that its members will stop using battery cages by 2036. This group represents about 90 percent of egg producers in Canada.

This is not a good news story.  This is a commitment that is no commitment at all.

Canada was just weeks away from releasing a new draft code of practice for the care and handling of egg-laying hens that would have outlined a timeline for farmers to stop using these small, inhumane battery cages…cages where 4-6 hens live with less than the space of an 8 ½ x 11 piece of paper per bird.  These hens experience chronic pain from injuries to their feet due to standing on wire floors, fractures because their bones are weak due to lack of movement, and severe frustration because they cannot express natural behaviours that are important to their wellbeing. All of this during a shortened life span of just one year, after which they are considered spent because both their production and the quality of the eggshells declines.   The welfare of hens is sacrificed to provide us with eggs.

We had many goals in sitting down at the table with egg farmers to negotiate standards of care for hens, but key amongst them was to eliminate intensive confinement in the shortest timeframe possible for the 26 million egg-laying hens that suffer in battery cages every year.

The European Union gave farmers 12 years to go cage-free, and some of the biggest players in the food industry has said it will do so in 9 years or less, so why would the egg farmers need 20 years?

We need Egg Farmers of Canada to work in good faith with The Canadian Federation of Humane Societies (CFHS) to make an honest move away from battery cages as quickly as possible. At CFHS, we find that a 20-year timeline is unacceptable and unnecessary.

We want you, our donors, to hear the truth from us.  This is exactly why your support has been so important.   Your donation keeps us at the table so that we can keep the pressure on.

We can’t allow announcements like this to go unchallenged. Industry is not making the decisions they need to make based on the welfare of animals. CFHS participates in negotiations on the codes of practice for other farm animals and is currently the only animal welfare organization at the table.  You keep us working to improve the lives of 26 million egg-laying hens per year.

We must improve this situation and continue to advocate for the humane treatment of all of Canada’s farm animals.

Links:

Dec 15, 2015

We will expose puppy mills in Canada!

2015 is wrapping up and we wanted to share with you two pieces of news that have been made possible through your support.   Your donations are making it possible for us to expose puppy mills for what they really are – factories churning out puppies for profit, with zero regard for their wellbeing.

In 2015 we launched our task force to gather evidence and provide expert advice about the realities of puppy mills and irresponsible breeding.   As of this month we are pleased to say that our task force now includes 6 members from across Canada (Alberta, BC, New Brunswick and Ontario) and members with expertise in investigations, enforcement, policy and outreach, veterinary medicine, and shelter animal care.

Our second piece of news is that on December 4, animals in Quebec were declared sentient beings thanks to a bill championed by Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Pierre Paradis.

CFHS was asked to consult on this bill and you can read our latest post here http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/barbara-cartwright/quebec-animal-welfare-law_b_8749820.html

Imperfect as it is, this law is a major coup -- and the fact that it passed unanimously shows that meaningful change is possible in Quebec.    Over the years, Quebec has earned a reputation for being the puppy mill capital of Canada due to its weak animal welfare laws, which have provided a safe haven for hundreds, if not thousands, of disreputable breeders.

Right now all we have are best guesses, there are no reliable Canadian statistics on the scope of puppy mills.   A conservative estimate puts the number of puppy mills in Canada in the thousands.   The Canadian Federation of Humane Societies and our members want to fund a first-of-its-kind report that will expose the puppy mills that operate behind glossy websites, and innocent-looking Kijiji posts that will show Canadians the extent of the abuse that results from puppies being treated as profitable products in a country where animals aren’t adequately protected under the law.

This report will provide a first estimate of the scale of puppy mill operations in Canada and ensure that everyone who cares about this issue will have solid arguments and numbers to use in their work towards better laws and policies in Canada. This kind of research has been needed for years and, at CFHS, we're doing something about it.   This report will help us understand how big the issue is in Canada and provide solutions to address it.

As a national organization with no core funding, we can't take on a project of this size without donations from the public. That's why you’re support has been so important and we hope we can continue to count on you to make this project a reality. 

Please subscribe to Humane News for updates on this and other stories on animal welfare and please support our critical work in creating a more Humane Canada.

http://cfhs.ca/newsletters/

Links:

Nov 17, 2015

Fighting for better lives for egg-laying hens!

The Canadian Federation of Humane Societies (CFHS) is back at the negotiating table for farm animals.  This time we’re sitting down with poultry farmers and fighting to bring about cage-free farming for laying hens across Canada to eliminate intensive confinement.  CFHS is the only animal welfare organization at the table doing this work and your support keeps us there.  You keep us working to make the lives of egg laying hens better.  We are currently at a critical time in the negotiating process.  We’re coming close to the time when the Code of Practice will be released and we are fighting for the more than 20 million egg-laying hens in Canada,of which 90% are confined in small in humane cages, called battery cages.   Four to six hens are grouped in each of these cages with less than the space of an 8 ½ x 11 piece of paper per bird.  The cages are then stacked on top of each other. Egg farmers like them because they allow a large number of hens to be kept in efficient and orderly conditions, allowing for high productivity and keeping the birds away from their feces. This results in low costs to the farmer and low prices for the consumer, but in the end, the welfare of the hens is sacrificed and they suffer in a number of ways.

Hens kept in conventional battery cages are physically uncomfortable.  They often experience chronic pain associated with injuries to their feet caused by standing on the wire floor of the cages and studies show that hens in battery cages have weak bones, due in part to lack of movement.  They are therefore more susceptible to bone fractures during catching and during transport.  

These hens also experience severe frustration due to their confinement because the cages are far too small to allow the hens to make natural movements they are strongly motivated to perform, including grooming, wing flapping, perching and nest building.

To decrease injuries caused by cannibalism, bullying and feather and vent pecking, beak trimming is routinely performed on flocks for the commercial production because they are in such close quarters. This is a painful procedure that involves removing a portion of the beak using either a blade (hot or cold) or a laser and is performed within the first week of life.

Due in part to the lack of exercise caged hens can engage in, their bones are weak and brittle making them susceptible to painful fractures of the wings and legs as they are pulled from the cages at the end of their laying cycle. Studies show that 20 per cent of caged hens suffer broken bones after being removed from cages for transport.

After just one year of laying eggs, a hen’s egg production declines, as does the quality of the egg shell and contents, and the hen is considered “spent”.   On most farms in Canada, one-year-old hens are taken to slaughter. As such, a hen’s life span on-farm is much shorter than her natural life expectancy of 5 – 11 years.

We must improve this situation and continue to advocate for the humane treatment of egg laying hens. They shouldn’t have to suffer to provide us with eggs and meat. Thank you for your support and please help us stay at the table and hold industry accountable for treating egg laying hens humanely.   

Links:

 
   

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