Lots more companies going cage-free
2015 was a banner year for commitments to farm animal welfare — in particular, cage-free eggs. Among the highlights...
This is great news for tens of millions of hens, and is a good sign overall of the growing corporate awareness of animal welfare. As these companies clearly recognize, cage-free is good for business, and it’s good for animals too.
- All Wendy’s locations in Canada and the U.S. will go completely cage-free by 2020.
- All Starbucks locations across North America will go cage-free by 2020.
- Compass Group, the world’s largest food-service group, will buy all its liquid eggs from cage-free hens — i.e. one million birds.
- Sodexo and Aramark each will purchase their liquid eggs from cage-free hens by the end of 2020.
- Taco Bell has set down the shortest timeline: its more than 6,000 locations will be cage-free by the end of 2016.
- Costco, which had reneged on previous promises to go cage-free, has recommitted to finding a viable phase-in timeline.
- McDonald's has pledged to make its Canadian and U.S. supply chains fully cage-free within the next 10 years.
- Subway, which is already cage-free in Europe, will make all Canadian and U.S. locations cage-free by 2025.
- Carnival Cruise Lines will go fully cage-free by 2025.
Maple Leaf promises 3-year plan to improve farm animal care
Maple Leaf Foods has announced a formal Animal Care Commitment that Mercy for Animals has called “game-changing”. The commitment centres on a 3-year Animal Care Strategy based on the Five Freedoms. The strategy will see improvements in everything from use of pain medication and CO2 stunning to more humane euthanasia and conversion to open housing.
In a December 2015 news release, Michael McCain, head of Maple Leaf, promised “a steadfast commitment to advancing the humane and science-based treatment of animals.”
Along with prescribing better care for animals, Maple Leaf is advocating stronger policies for enforcement — i.e. remote video auditing in company plants, and “enhancements to on-farm poultry audits including increased transparency and comprehensive annual independent audits”.
There is also a commitment to “modernization of federal Animal Transportation regulations” — something CCFA has strongly advocated for years.
As Canada’s largest meat processor, Maple Leaf’s announcement has far-reaching implications. In her book Project Animal Farm, author Sonia Faruqi notes that in a farm community in southwestern Ontario:
‘...everybody — everybody — worked with Maple Leaf in one capacity or another…. Lawrence Smit grew turkeys on contract for Maple Leaf. Brick Roberts had his free-range turkeys slaughtered by Maple Leaf. It was Brick’s meeting with Maple Leaf earlier during my stay that had left him with renewed rancor for the “high-volume, low-margin” model of agribusiness.’
Read Maple Leaf’s full announcement.
Downer animals continue to slip through cracks
An Ontario farmer’s recent conviction is a reminder that downer farm animals continue to be shipped to slaughter — despite it being illegal and downright cruel.
Downers are animals too sick or injured to stand or move. In July 2015, at the Ontario Livestock Exchange in Waterloo, a vet with the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) examined a “severely compromised Holstein cow that was emaciated, depressed and dehydrated. The cow had injuries consistent with an unrepaired calving injury.”
The farmer, Albert Kuper, was fined $3,750.
Information on downers obtained by Animal Alliance Canada (AAC) has found transported cows with:
- “multiple necrotic abscesses of the front legs and shoulders, one fractured rib compounded internally and abscessed, necrotic smell to the whole carcass”
- “grunting on expiration, froth in mouth, marked ventral oedema and engorged jugular veins, marked SQ and thoracic oedema”
- “uterine tear from calving, right uterine horn 300 degree tear proximal to uterine body/cervix, calving chain fell in abdomen”
- “ruptured uterus at calving”
- “herniated G.I tract through surgical site”
Learn more about AAC’s lobbying
to stop the transport of downers, and read OMAFRA’s full court bulletin
on the recent conviction.
To report a sick or injured farm animal, contact your local SPCA or police, or a provincial agricultural agency such as the OMAFRA Regulatory Compliance Unit
What do the likes of Samuel L. Jackson, Peter Dinklage, Mayim Bialik and Russell Brand have in common? They’re all vegans, and they can all be found on the website for Veganuary, an initiative that’s now in its third year and is gaining so much momentum that the site has posted a message asking people to be patient if they can’t access a page due to high volumes of traffic.
Veganuary was started in the UK in 2014 and initially had 3,000 supporters. This year, 50,000 people are expected to take part. The website is already available in several languages, with plans for further translation.
While (post-holiday) health is a key motivator for many supporters, the #1 reason they get involved is concern for animals. “We ask about motivation when people sign up to Veganuary and, for the past two years, animals are the primary reason by a large majority, with health coming second, and the environment third,” marketing manager Clea Grady told The Guardian
The site profiles many well-known vegans — including, under ‘Animal Activists’, Canadian photographer extraordinaire Jo-Anne McArthur
To learn more and get a veg starter kit, visit veganuary.com
A home for Mr. D'Arcy
D’arcy is one handsome — and remarkable — pig. He came to Cedar Row Farm Sanctuary with porcine respiratory & reproductive syndrome (PRRS). He’d been found in a box on the side of the road and been taken to a nearby humane society.
Arriving at Cedar Row last October, he was very sick and underweight, with chronic diarrhea and complications that normally would have killed him. However, with surgery and a lot of TLC, he’s managed to pull through. He's now 3 months old and is settling into his new digs quite nicely.
Huge kudos to Siobhan and her gang at Cedar Row
for helping animals like D’Arcy find happiness and health in a loving home.
IT'S NOT TOO LATE...
If you received our fall fundraising letter in November and (like we did) got so caught up in the holidays that everything else got pushed aside, well... it's never too late to give! Your generosity is always appreciated — and while you're at it, think about becoming a monthly donor. Regular monthly donations are especially helpful because they let us plan ahead with funds we know will be there.
You can donate using the appeal form we sent you, or you can click the Donate button in this newsletter.
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