Animal Welfare Group Responds to Canada's Ban on Sow Stalls07 March 2014
CANADA - Humane Society International/Canada welcomes the release of the ground-breaking new pork industry Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Pigs, which includes a ban on continuously confining pregnant sows in gestation crates.
These cages confine sows so tightly the animals can’t even turn around, and are standard practice on pig farms throughout North America.
The Code, developed by the National Farm Animal Care Council, requires that facilities built or renovated after 1 July, 2014 use group housing systems for pregnant sows.
Sayara Thurston, campaign manager with HSI/Canada, stated: “This is a watershed moment for farm animals in Canada and throughout North America. It signals the beginning of the end of archaic, extreme confinement systems that consumers simply don’t support and which other countries have long-since banned. There is still much advancement needed to improve the welfare of pigs raised on Canadian farms, but this Code of Practice is a monumental first step.”
Gestation crates have come under fire from veterinarians, family farmers, animal welfare advocates, lawmakers, scientists, consumers and food retailers. Major retailers throughout North America have taken a stand against this cruel confinement system, with McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, Tim Hortons and dozens more all mandating a switch to more humane housing.
In April 2013, the Retail Council of Canada and eight of Canada’s largest retailers, including Walmart Canada, Loblaws, and Costco Canada committed to sourcing fresh pork products from alternatives to gestation crates over the next nine years.
A recently completed economic study released by HSI/Canada confirms that the Canadian pork industry stands to lose significant ground to international competitors, particularly in the newly-accessible European Union, if a move away from gestation crates is not made swiftly and effectively.
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