Retail Council of Canada Grocery Members’ Commitment on Sow Housing

Retailers Included
Co-op Atlantic, Canada Safeway, Costco Wholesale Canada, Federated Co-operatives Limited , Loblaw Companies Limited, Metro Inc., Sobeys Inc., Walmart Canada Corp

Over a number of decades, most sow housing in Canada has converted to more intensive, non-bedded, indoor systems. While these stalls have allowed for easier management of sows through more consistent feeding and less injuries from aggression, the restriction in movement has led to concerns that this system inhibits natural behaviours.

Increasingly, stakeholder expectations have also been changing and industry is being encouraged to shift towards alternative housing practices. We are working closely with the National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC) and the Canadian Pork Council through a robust, multi-stakeholder process to update the Pig Codes of Practice, to be released for public comment on June 1, 2013. The Pig Code update proactively deals with a number of issues relevant to pig welfare.

Retail Council of Canada Position

The Retail Council of Canada believes that sows should be housed in an environment where their pregnancy, health and well-being are taken into highest consideration; and that the selection of sow housing be based on a combination of sound science, stakeholder expectations and the long term viability of the industry.

Retail Council of Canada Member Voluntary Commitment

RCC grocery members support the Canadian Pork Council’s process to update its Codes of Practice and will work towards sourcing fresh pork products from sows raised in alternative housing practices as defined in the updated Codes by the end of 2022.

The members further agree to dialogue with other stakeholders in the pork supply chain, including the Canadian Pork Council, and through our membership and committee participation with the National Farm Animal Care Council.

Each company will implement this commitment in accordance with their own specific business requirements and in consultation with their vendor partners.

Benefits of the Voluntary Commitment

  • Responds to current understanding of pig welfare science and stakeholder input
  • Establishes a clear industry-wide timeline for moving to an alternative solution
  • Provides Canadian pork producers with appropriate time to address the issue given the significant financial investment required
  • Institutes a dialogue with our supply chain partners to encourage broad industry collaboration in support of this commitment
  • Establishes a minimum commitment for fresh pork sourced from North America

About the Retail Council of Canada
Retail Council of Canada is the Voice of Retail. Founded in 1963, RCC is a not-for-profit association which represents more than 45,000 stores of all retail formats, including department, grocery, independent merchants, regional and national specialty chains, and online merchants.

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