UBC Animal Welfare Expert Urges Canada to Consider Animal Welfare Audits
Farmscape for July 31, 2002 (Episode 1035)
A University of British Columbia animal welfare expert is encouraging Canada's livestock industry to look for ways to demonstrate that accepted animal welfare standards are being followed.
Last month the US based Food Marketing Institute and National Council of Chain Restaurants released their first set of guidelines for the treatment and handling of animals used for food.
Animal Welfare Professor Dr. David Fraser, who participated in the process as an advisor, says these new US standards are similar to Canadian codes of practice.
He says the big difference is US retail companies want to assure their customers these standards are being followed.
Clip-Dr. David Fraser-University of British Columbia
Canada for a long time has had these voluntary codes but there's no audit component and no one knows the percentage of producers who are complying.
The US started way behind Canada so they went from nothing to having standards with an audible component.
Switching from a voluntary to an audible type of standard in Canada will now be quite a psychological adjustment, I think, for Canadian agriculture because we have had something quite different.
The details aren't different but the auditing component is going to be a new element for Canadian agriculture.
I certainly think Canadian agriculture should be thinking strongly and clearly in terms of how to demonstrate to the public and to their corporate customers that the standards they espouse are actually being followed.
Dr. Fraser says how that should be done is a difficult issue.
He suggests the obvious possibility is some kind of on farm quality assurance program similar to what is being done already for certain aspects of food safety that contains animal welfare standards.
He says that would be a good basis to start from but there may also be other ways of achieving this.
For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.
*Farmscape is a presentation of Sask Pork and Manitoba Pork Council