The Retail Council of Canada (RCC) grocery members, including: Loblaw Companies Limited, Longo Brothers Fruit Markets Inc., Metro Inc., the Overwaitea Food Group / Save-On-Foods, Sobeys Inc., and Wal-Mart Canada Corp., announced a step towards improving animal welfare by voluntarily committing to the objective of purchasing cage-free eggs by the end of 2025.
The grocery members of the Retail Council of Canada (RCC) remain committed to taking a leadership role in animal welfare and have been working collaboratively to ensure the animal products they purchase meet stringent food safety standards and are raised in a sustainable and humane manner.
Guided by this approach, RCC and its members have been actively engaged in domestic and international discussions related to egg production. “There have been significant discussions over the last several months among producers, processors, the scientific community and consumers regarding the best approach for raising hens,” said David Wilkes, RCC Senior Vice President of Government Relations and Grocery Division. “These discussions have led to the announcement our members are making today, further demonstrating our commitment to providing Canadians with responsibly sourced food.” Wilkes commented that: “this voluntary commitment is made recognizing the restrictions created by Canada’s supply management system and importantly this objective will have to be managed in the context of availability of supply within the domestic market.”
A key part of RCC’s approach to animal welfare issues is support for the National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC). NFACC is the only group in the world that brings together animal welfare groups, retailers, government and farmers under a collective decision-making model for advancing farm animal welfare.
NFACC is currently finalizing recommendations on a Code of Practice for Layer Hens. This code will provide guidance to industry on a number of areas related to the sound management and welfare practices through recommendations and requirements for housing, care, transportation, processing and other animal husbandry practices. Wilkes concluded by saying that: “RCC remains firmly committed to the NFACC process and will work with other participants to not only advance our voluntary commitment to move to cage-free environments by the end of 2025, but also by ensuring suppliers adhere to the Code’s recommendations.” The Code is expected to be finalized later this year.