By Derek Rumboldt-deLouche - Director Resource Development and Marketing
Humane Canada created the following recommendations as a guide to action that can be taken to create a more humane Canada. With a federal election underway in Canada we are working to ensure that the next government has these issues on their radar and that we will have a plan for action once the government is elected.
Each year, more than 700 million animals are raised on farms in Canada for food. There is increasing public awareness and scrutiny regarding the welfare of farm animals in all phases of their life: while on the farm, during transportation and at slaughter. The public has an expectation that farm animals should, and will, be treated humanely. This expectation is translating into public pressure on the farming and retail sector to eliminate certain farming practices from their supply chain. The farming and retail sector are making commitments to the public, especially with regards to the phasing out and elimination of confinement housing and painful practices. Many Canadian farming practices, however, still lag behind higher animal welfare standards in other jurisdictions.
A commitment to secure, continuous and stable funding of the National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC)to underwrite the Codes of Practice process, including funding for both the ongoing review of existing codes to ensure they stay relevant and the development of new Codes of Practice. Funding should include support for compliance in the form of assurance programs to monitor adherence to the requirements and recommendations identified within each individual Code and funding for the animal welfare experts that negotiate these codes with industry.
The current Codes of Practices are advancing animal welfare by setting target phase-out dates for various painful practices and for confinement housing systems. Additional support needs to be in place to ensure that producers can meet or exceed these targeted phase-out dates. This would include funding for infrastructure, on-farm training of new practices, and support for research into new technology and innovation.
Canada’s current animal transportation regulations are inadequate when compared to international standards. Recent updates to the regulations felt short of recognized animal welfare science and our global counterparts. Changes to the transportation regulations need to be brought forward immediately.
Providing funding and resources to ensure there is a robust inspection and enforcement by Canadian Food Inspection Agency of requirements for humane transport and slaughter.
Canada is a respected world leader in the area of animal welfare research. This important research is what forms the basis for the development of Canada’s Codes of Practice and identifies best management practices. There needs to be a commitment that Canada’s animal welfare research programs will be given long-term, ongoing support.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is responsible for labeling schemes and should allow for labeling of the agricultural practices used to produce animal products which allows consumers to make informed choices about humane alternatives.
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