CFHS questions government's role in food safety and animal welfare



    OTTAWA, Sept. 3 /CNW Telbec/ - The Canadian Federation of Humane
Societies (CFHS) is calling on Canada's Auditor General to conduct an
independent performance audit of the federal government's capacity to ensure
the humane treatment of farm animals during transport and slaughter as well as
to oversee national animal welfare policies. The health and welfare of animals
and the safety and security of our food are issues of public good that must be
overseen and taken seriously by the government.
    The federal government's recent acknowledgement of its gradual shift
towards industry's self-policing of food safety in slaughterhouses over the
past year is alarming. "It is very clearly a conflict of interest to have a
slaughterhouse employee tasked with monitoring his own employer", stated
Shelagh MacDonald, Program Director of the CFHS. "This is a bad case of the
fox guarding the hen house."
    This shirking of government responsibility comes as no surprise to the
CFHS, which has been frustrated for years by the government's lack of concern
for animal welfare. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is responsible
for overseeing the welfare of animals during transport and at slaughterplants.
Their own statistics of inspections show that, out of 160,000 truckloads,
nearly 20,000 pigs and cattle are found dead or emaciated in trucks arriving
at slaughterplants in a year. The figure for poultry is a staggering
2 million. Yet just over 100 penalties were issued.
    The problem clearly originates at the policy level. Agriculture and
Agri-Food Canada's policy framework for the next five years makes no mention
of animal care or welfare whatsoever. "While other countries are making animal
welfare a priority, Canada lags behind with its 'status quo' approach",
claimed Ms. MacDonald. "Public safety, reliable access to safe food and the
humane treatment of animals are in serious peril in our country".
    The CFHS is optimistic the Auditor General will take its request
seriously, especially on the heels of the listeria outbreak.

    The CFHS is a charitable organization representing humane societies and
SPCAs across Canada. It receives no government funding.




For further information:

For further information: Shelagh MacDonald, Program Director, Canadian
Federation of Humane Societies, (613) 224-8072 ext. 21, Cell: (613) 262-0588,
shelaghm@cfhs.ca; www.cfhs.ca; For an online version of this news release,
visit: www.cfhs.ca/news/news_releases

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CANADIAN FEDERATION OF HUMANE SOCIETIES (CFHS)

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