Retailers believe that animal products that they sell must be safe and of high quality, as well as produced in a sustainable and humane manner. Members work collaboratively through the Retail Council of Canada to achieve these goals.
There are significant implications and complexities in making changes in how animals are raised, including animal well-being, socio-economic and environmental considerations, and it is precisely why we continue to work together through constructive dialogue and shared objectives, to bring about the best outcomes.
Retail Council of Canada continues to be a contributor to and advocate on the animal welfare dialogue through the National Farm Animal Care Council. NFACC is a group of diverse stakeholders assembled to develop and revise Codes of Practice for the care and handling of farm animals, to create a process for the development of animal care assessment programs, and to provide a forum for open dialogue on farm animal welfare.
As such, RCC’s activities are guided by the following 5 principles on animal welfare:
1. Legal compliance: At a minimum, all animal products sold by retailers must fully comply with all applicable Canadian laws and regulations related to animal welfare.
2. Driving performance: RCC’s members view the development of a strong baseline of good farm animal welfare as a pre-competitive consideration, and aspire for producers to continuously improve the conditions of animals raised for food. Based on consumer expectations, members may also opt to sell products that exceed the baseline to provide enhanced opportunities for animals, such as those that optimize the five freedoms.
3. Scientific foundation with stakeholder considerations: All decisions for animal welfare in raising, handling, transportation and processing, should be informed by scientific research, but also recognize the complex long-term economic, environmental and social viability of animal farming systems.
4. Value chain approach: RCC believes that it and its members should work in the spirit of continuous improvement with other associations, organizations and experts in the animal products value chain to define and review species specific codes of practice, promote best practices, develop programming and resources, and provide leadership.
5. Transparency: RCC members strongly believe that they, along with their suppliers and other partners in the value chain, should be transparent in their actions and performance to build trust and maintain confidence with society and interested stakeholders.
What have we done so far on animal welfare?
In April of 2013, RCC’s members made a commitment to source fresh pork from sows raised in alternative housing as defined by the updated NFACC Pig Code of Practice by the end of 2022. RCC and its members are dedicated to continuing the dialogue with members of the value chain to develop solutions, but each company will implement the commitment in accordance with their own specific business requirements and in consultation with their vendors.
What is coming ahead?
As part of our plans for the coming year, we have several in mind:
- Participating in the NFACC Layer Hen and Veal Codes and Animal Care Assessment process, and continue providing the retail perspective on animal welfare to the value chain
- Driving transparency in the egg supply chain
- Providing advocacy support to producer groups
Links to other key stakeholders
- National Farm Animal Care Council
- Canadian Federation of Humane Societies
- SPCA Certified
- World Animal Protection Canada
- OIE – World Organisation for Animal Health
- Canadian Pork Council
- Canadian Poultry and Egg Processors Council
- Dairy Farmers of Canada
- Egg Farmers of Canada
- Retail Council of Canada Grocery Members Voluntarily Commit To Source Cage-Free Eggs By The End Of 2025
- University of Guelph – Tina Widowski (poultry)
- University of Guelph – Ian Duncan (poultry)
- University of Calgary – Ed Pajor (pigs)
- University of British Columbia – David Fraser (multi-species)
- University of British Columbia – Dan Weary (Dairy Cattle)
- University of Saskatchewan – Joe Stookey (Beef Cattle)
Other global collaborative efforts:
- Global Roundtable on Sustainable Beef
- SAI Platform Beef Working Group
- Coalition for Sustainable Egg Supply
For more information, please contact:
VP Sustainability and Quebec