New transport regs are out
Canada's transport regulations for farm animals have been updated. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) announced changes to the 41-year-old regulations this week.
CFIA has invited the public to comment on the changes — the comment period runs until February 15, 2017.
The Canadian Coalition for Farm Animals is now reviewing the changes, and will provide feedback in January in order to help inform your comments.
We encourage you to read the regulations and speak up on this critical welfare issue — one that affects almost all of the roughly 670 million animals in Canada raised for food.
To provide your feedback, contact Dr. Cornelius Kiley, National Manager, Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
Ag Minister's response to our transport petition
The newly-announced changes to Canada's transport regulations follow close on the heels of the recent e-petition led by CCFA that garnered 7,407 signatures — almost 7,000 more than the minimum 500 required for a response from the Canadian government.
In his response, federal Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay referred to the new regulatory changes, though didn't say anything especially progressive or forward-thinking. His statement included the following:
“The Government of Canada takes the issue of animal welfare very seriously and believes that animals must be protected from unnecessary suffering... It is anticipated that formal proposals for modernization of this regulatory framework will be submitted in the near future, providing further opportunity for stakeholder input regarding these regulations.
Transport times, animal welfare training, transport conditions and maximum intervals without access to feed, water and rest have been reviewed, and the proposed amendment strikes a balance between the scientific literature, international standards, societal expectations and industry logistics.”
You can learn more and read the minister's full statement here.
Veal code out for public comment Dec 12th
The National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC) will publish its draft Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Veal Calves December 12th. You can comment on the code until February 14th, 2017.
The current code was drafted in 1998. The updated code will address welfare issues such as:
CCFA will provide a full review of the code in the new year. You can review it and provide comment by checking back on December 12th here.
- stall, tether and group housing
- risk factors for ulcers (common in veal calves)
- Milk feeding and satisfying the urge to suck — milk-fed calves are typically given milk (to keep their flesh light) in a bucket
- iron deficiency (also common in veal calves)
Foodservice companies commit to slower-growing chickens
Compass and Aramark, two of the world's largest foodservice providers, have made landmark commitments to improving the lives of chickens raised for meat. The two companies have announced they will adopt new welfare policies that call for — among other things — slower growing chickens. This is a tremendous step forward for farm animal welfare, and signals a genuine shift in the way we view farm animals, and our growing intolerance for inherently cruel farming practices.
Compass Group has partnered with the Global Animal Partnership (GAP) to establish its new policies; GAP is the organization behind the 5-Step Animal Welfare Rating Program adopted by companies such as Whole Foods. The new policies for meat (broiler) chickens will come into full effect by 2024, and will include:
Aramark has partnered with the Humane Society of the United States and Compassion in World Farming, and is also adhering to GAP standards as well as the Five Freedoms of animal welfare. It too has committed to a 2024 timeline, with new policies that include:
- using approved genetic strains of slower-growing birds
- enrichments such as hay, perches, and natural light
- minimum space requirements of 6 lbs (of bird) per square foot
- rendering birds unconscious before shackling using controlled atmosphere killing
To learn more, read the Compass news release or Aramark news release, or see the CIWF announcement.
- Transitioning to strains of birds that measurably improve welfare issues associated with fast growth rates
- Reducing maximum stocking density to equal to/less than 6 lbs. per square foot
- Providing chickens with enrichments such as natural light, hay bales and perches
- Evaluating with animal welfare organizations over the next year issues related to litter quality, lighting, air quality, and other environmental conditions
- Rendering chickens unconscious prior to shackling using controlled or low atmosphere stunning
Treatment of cull dairy cows a growing concern
The treatment of 'cull' dairy cows was one of the issues addressed recently at the recent forum hosted by the National Farmed Animal Health and Welfare Council (NFAHWC) in Ottawa.
Cull dairy cows are depleted animals shipped from dairy farms to slaughter. They have borne a calf each year for several years, and produced milk for their calves which dairy farmers sell for human consumption. When calf and milk production decrease, the cow is shipped for slaughter. Her body is often emaciated, and her meat will be low-grade and sold for products like hamburgers.
Because their value is low, few slaughter plants want these fragile creatures. As a result, they're often sent from auction to auction until they're bought. They may be transported longer without food and water than other cattle — which is all the harder on their bodies, causing them to deteriorate further.
They may, for example, be transported from Newfoundland to Ontario, including ferry trips during winter. They then may continue their journey to the U.S. Some suffering cows are in such poor condition, their bodies have no value when finally slaughtered.
This issue needs action and solutions. Hopefully the NFAHWC can develop national and provincial solutions for this serious welfare issue facing Canada’s dairy cows in their final days.
The NFAHWC forum is an annual two-day event attended by farm animal producers, scientists and welfare advocates including CCFA.
Massachusetts outlaws small cages for farm animals
Massachusetts voters have passed an important ballot issue, Question 3, to protect farmed animals from intensive confinement. The ballot issue passed with a wide margin during the U.S. elections on November 8.
The ballot measure prohibits the sale of eggs, veal or pig meat from an animal confined in spaces that prohibit the animal from lying down, standing up, extending its limbs or turning around.
It will be illegal to sell eggs from hens kept in cages too small for them to spread their wings, meat from pigs kept in tight quarters, or pigs whose mothers were confined in gestation crates during pregnancy, and veal from calves confined in tiny crates before slaughter. The bill does not cover chickens raised for meat, the most widely consumed animal in the US and Canada by far.
The Massachusetts ballot initiative will take effect in stages and be fully implemented by 2022. The ballot issue was championed by the Humane Society of the United States.
Our TV ad is on the air
CCFA is airing its TV ad to once again raise awareness of the cruelty of chicken factory farming. The 30-second commercial is airing on the CTV and CBC news networks until Christmas Day.
Keep your eye out for it, and please consider helping us cover the cost of it. Buying TV air time is very expensive, but we recognize — like you do — that educating consumers on how to take action for chickens is important!
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