Sodexo and Aramark raise the bar on animal welfare
Sodexo and Aramark, two of the world’s largest food-service companies, are stepping up their animal welfare policies.
Sodexo Group, based in France, has announced that by 2020 it will purchase only cage-free eggs. The company has more than 400,000 employees worldwide — 10,000 in Canada alone. It recently informed its Canadian suppliers that its liquid eggs would be cage-free in 5 years.
Sodexo Canada spends a total of almost $23 million annually on animal food products, including about 800,000 pounds of liquid eggs. The company’s shelled eggs are already cage-free.
"We see animal welfare, including these new measures for cage-free eggs, as a key component of a sustainable supply chain alongside food safety, food security, nutrition and science-based environmental practices,” says Tracey Durand, Sodexo Canada’s Senior Vice President, Corporate Affairs.
Sodexo has 32,700 sites in 80 countries, and is on Fortune magazine’s list of Most Admired Companies.
Aramark, a Fortune 500 company and the largest food-service provider in the U.S., has announced new policies that will:
Sodexo and Aramark are among a growing list of companies that are helping to make industrial farming’s cruelest practices things of the past.
- require all eggs to be cage -free by 2020
- eliminate gestation crates for mother pigs by 2017
- require veal to be crate-free by 2017
- eliminate the use of growth-enhancing drugs like ractopamine, known to cause side effects ranging from anxiety to lameness
- eliminate practices like castration, dehorning and tail-docking, or at the very least, require the use of pain relief
- work with suppliers to phase out slaughter systems that use live dumping and shackling
- remain committed to no purchasing of foie gras, which the company stopped buying in 2011
- require third-party documentation as proof that suppliers are making these changes
Chicken next on the cultured meat menu
A bioengineer in Israel is testing the feasibility of growing chicken in a lab — an achievement which, if possible, could not only dramatically reduce the suffering of chickens raised for food, but could also help lower greenhouse gas emissions.
Professor Amit Gefen of Tel Aviv University recently launched the year-long study with funding from an Israeli non-profit group called the Modern Agriculture Foundation. The foundation is hoping to have a ‘recipe’ for cultured chicken cells by the end of 2015.
Professor Gefen will try to make a whole piece of chicken starting with a single cell.
If successful, the lab-grown chicken
could go a long way toward improving animal welfare and reducing greenhouse gas. Chicken represents a third of total global meat consumption. This consumption is expected to double between 2000 and 2050, when the earth’s population will surpass 9 billion.
A joint study by Oxford University and the University of Amsterdam has found that cultured meat would produce 96% less greenhouse gas, consume 82% – 96% less water, and virtually eliminate land requirements needed to raise livestock.
"With the growth in populations and projecting to the future,” says Professor Gefen, “humanity needs to consider more sustainable models of food production, which will provide alternatives to the traditional ways by which we currently produce proteins from animal source for consumption.”
Animal Justice challenges Maple Lodge Farms’ advertising
Animal Justice Canada Legislative Fund has filed a formal legal complaint against Maple Lodge Farms regarding the company’s advertising. Maple Lodge promotes itself using pastoral images and messaging centered on traditional family farming. On its website the company says it “is committed to the respectful, humane treatment of chickens during all phases of rearing, transportation and slaughter.”
However, a recent undercover investigation by Mercy for Animals Canada shows, in the words of Animal Justice, “disturbing and potentially illegal treatment of chickens under the care of Maple Lodge.”
Animal Justice goes on to point out that, “Maple Lodge operates no farms, and the half-million chickens it slaughters each working day will virtually never have seen the light of day. It was convicted of 20 animal cruelty charges in 2013 and is currently on probation, and since its convictions has been issued at least 14 additional fines for animal cruelty violations.”
Anna Pippus, director of farmed animal advocacy for Animal Justice, says: “Maple Lodge’s false and misleading advertising practices dupe consumers into purchasing what they believe to be humanely produced products, when the evidence clearly establishes that these chickens have suffered egregiously.”
Pippus also points out the unfairness of laws that allow this kind of promotional misrepresentation while at the same time prohibiting Field Roast, a company that sells vegetarian 'meat', from selling in Canada for “minor labelling technicalities.”
“The same statute,” says Pippus, “should be equally applied to Maple Lodge, whose false and misleading advertising practices are of a far more material and deceptive nature.”
Learn more about the Animal Justice complaint, and read the CCFA-Animal Alliance report Economics over Animal Welfare.
Farmer fined for shipping cow with mastitis
A farmer who shipped a very sick cow to slaughter has been fined $1,875. In August 2014, Gerald Kemerink, who lives in Kippen, in southwestern Ontario, shipped a downer cow to the Ontario Livestock Exchange in Waterloo.
A vet with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) inspected the cow and found she had mastitis so severe it had gone gangrenous. Mastitis, shown in this picture here from Wikipedia, is a common and extremely painful condition among dairy cows. It results from continual milking in a system that pushes the animals for ever-increasing milk production. This puts great strain on their bodies, making them weak and more susceptible to illness.
Along with the gangrenous mastitis, the cow had a fever and couldn’t stand.
Kemerink was charged with violating Ontario’s Food Safety and Quality Act. The law “prohibits the processing as food for human consumption, or the distribution, sale, transportation or delivery to any person, of a fallen animal following its euthanization or meat from such an animal.”
The OMAFRA court bulletin
noted that “As the person responsible for the care of and having control over a fallen animal, Mr. Kemerink failed to promptly kill it or arrange for it to be killed, in a humane manner in either case.”
The vet had the cow euthanized. A good farmer would not have let the mastitis get to this point, and would certainly not have put the cow on a truck and shipped her to slaughter. Hopefully a fine like this serves as a warning to those who would. It's also a reminder of the misery suffered by dairy cows as a matter of routine production.
Dairy cows are virtually synonymous with motherhood. And with Mother's Day this coming weekend, we thought it appropriate to focus on an organization that advocates strongly for dairy cows: Liberation BC.
Liberation BC launched its Cow Ribbon Campaign
in 2010. The campaign helps educate people on the cruel realities of the dairy industry, and asks us to “Take time to remember those who never got to experience the joy of motherhood.”
Other initiatives run by this dedicated team of volunteers include an annual Animal Advocacy Camp, a walk for farm animals, and regular screenings of films such as Peaceable Kingdom
. They also have great Mother's Day e-cards!
Thank you Liberation BC for all your work for animals, and for being a CCFA member.
Norway the latest European country to have animal police
Animals in Norway will soon have police protection. A new force of three — an investigator, a legal expert, and a coordinator — is being established in the western county of Sor-Trondelag. It is a test project
jointly supported by the Norwegian agriculture and justice ministries.
Norway’s agriculture minister has said that “it’s important to take care of our animals, so that they enjoy the rights they have and that there be a follow-up when their rights are violated.”
She also pointed out that this protection for animals helps people too, as “studies show that some of those people who commit crimes and misdemeanors against animals also do the same to people.”
Sweden has similar animal protection, and the Netherlands has had 500 police officers dedicated to animal welfare issues since 2011.
Watch for CCFA in the Toronto Veggie Pride Parade!
Toronto's 6th annual Veggie Pride Parade
happens Sunday May 31st. It gets underway at 1pm at Christie Pits (Christie and Bloor) and ends at Kensington Market. Hosted by the Toronto Vegetarian Association, this new Toronto tradition is great way to hang with your peeps, raise awareness of plant-based eating, and have fun while you're at it.
Don your veg and animal costumes if you've got 'em, and don't forget your sunscreen!
Hope to see you there.
Meadow the Easter lamb
Meadow is the newest member of the Wishing Well Sanctuary family. While protesting outside Newmarket Meat Packers in York Region, activists asked the slaughterhouse to give up a lamb for Easter. Much to their surprise, the owner agreed. Workers at the slaughterhouse even helped name him. And Wishing Well, in Bradford just north of Toronto, generously came forward to offer the little guy a home.
Meadow is adjusting to life at the sanctuary beautifully. He will soon be neutered and will then join his sheep friends, and in the meantime is soaking up lots of TLC, healthy food and sunshine. Thank you Wishing Well
for giving this little fellow a wonderful life.
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