UBC Professor Foresees Standardized Animal Welfare Requirements
Farmscape for April 30, 2002 (Episode 953)
A University of British Columbia Animal Welfare Professor predicts chain restaurants, grocers, and food wholesalers and retailers will soon expect their suppliers to certify the meat they provide was produced according to specific standards.
In 1999 McDonald's introduced requirements for its suppliers to follow animal welfare standards, dealing mostly with slaughter, eggs and poultry and Burger King followed suit in 2001.
Since then the National Council of Chain Restaurants and the Food Marketing Institute have joined forces to develop a harmonized set of standards on behalf of their member companies.
Dr. David Fraser says how quickly the process will lead to a set of standards is uncertain but both organizations are keen to deal with the issue promptly.
Clip-Dr. David Fraser-University of British Columbia
The standards that are likely to come out of that process will probably be good standards as opposed to revolutionary standards.
I don't think it will require major changes in production systems but rather adherence to certain well recognized standards and the use of those systems.
The other major thing that I see coming from the standards is the requirement to demonstrate that certain standards are in place.
Canada has relied, up until now, on voluntary codes of practice with no means to demonstrate that they're following the code.
Therefor we really don't know when we see a Canadian product whether it was produced in accordance with those standards or not.
Dr. Fraser says the standards that are likely to come out of these US processes will probably look an awful lot like the standards in the Canadian code of practices.
He says the difference will be the corporate customers will want some means by which the supplier guarantees these standards were followed.
He says this could take the form of on farm quality assurance programs like those already being developed and suggests there's a lot of scope for industries themselves to come up with their own proposals.
For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.
*Farmscape is a presentation of Sask Pork and Manitoba Pork Council