TORONTO, April 1, 2021 /CNW/ - In a surprising blow to Canadian consumers, the Retail Council of Canada (RCC) is abandoning commitments to farm animal welfare.
Earlier this week , RCC announced it will "remove previous commitments on sow housing and cage-free eggs", even though it had declared the phasing out of gestation stalls for pregnant pigs (sows) by 2022 and the phasing out of battery cages for laying hens by 2025. RCC stated that it will "pursue and make commitments solely through NFACC (the National Farm Animal Care Council)", which develops Codes of Practice related to the welfare of farmed animals. It should be noted the code requirements are voluntary and not legally binding in most provinces.
Across Canada these intelligent, curious, social creatures are often forced to spend their entire lives in caged housing where they cannot even turn around.
Humane Canada™, the national voice for animal welfare and the federation of humane societies and SPCAs, has been sitting at NFACC's multi-stakeholder table for decades and sees this as a significant loss to farmed animal welfare in Canada. World Animal Protection, the only other national animal welfare organization at the NFACC table (since 2015), says this is a step backwards for farm animals. World Animal Protection's research into Canadian laws and benchmarking of corporates shows that Canada's animal welfare practices lag far behind global standards.
"These commitments signaled meaningful progress to how animals are raised in Canada and reflect consumer expectations for humane farm animal treatment. Retailers should be leading the way and pushing for positive change within the industry," said Colin Saravanamuttoo, Executive Director at World Animal Protection.
This development provides further evidence of the critical need for a proper compliance system in Canada to ensure that commitments made by the farming and food sector are actually followed through.
"Animals can't wait any longer. RCC needs to step back up into the bold commitments they made in 2013 (for gestation stalls) and in 2016 (for battery cages) and carry on with their plans to phase out products from pigs housed in gestation stalls and eggs sourced from hens housed in battery cages," concluded Barbara Cartwright, CEO at Humane Canada.
Many Canadian consumers care about where their food comes from, how the animals are treated and want reassurance that grocery stores are not abandoning animal welfare.
About World Animal Protection
From our offices around the world, including China, Australia, Brazil, Kenya and Canada, we move the world to protect animals. Last year, we gave more than 220 million animals better lives through our campaigns that focus on animals in the wild, animals in disasters, animals in communities and animals in farming. For more information visit www.worldanimalprotection.ca
About Humane Canada
Humane Canada™, the federation of SPCAs and Humane Societies, convenes and represents the largest animal welfare community in the country. Together with our members, we work to end animal cruelty, improve animal protection and promote the humane treatment of all animals. To learn more about Humane Canada, please visit www.humanecanada.ca
SOURCE World Animal Protection