ShapeShapeauthorShapechevroncrossShapeShapeShapeGrouphamburgerhomeGroupmagnifyShapeShapeShaperssShape

Communicating Animal Welfare Standards Identified as Key Challenge

by 5m Editor
21 April 2004, at 12:00am

CANADA - Farm-Scape: Episode 1498. Farm-Scape is a Wonderworks Canada production and is distributed courtesy of Manitoba Pork Council and Sask Pork.

Manitoba Pork Council


Farm-Scape is sponsored by
Manitoba Pork Council and Sask Pork

Play Audio

Farm-Scape is a Wonderworks Canada production and is distributed courtesy of Manitoba Pork Council
and Sask Pork.

Farm-Scape, Episode 1498

A University of British Columbia Animal Welfare Professor says the challenge in developing animal welfare standards is to find the right balance and communicate it to the consumer.

Auditable animal welfare programs, intended to address consumer questions about how animals are raised, are under development in both Canada and the United States.

Dr. David Fraser says one of the challenges is to identify what these standards should contain to be workable, good for the animals and responsive to the market and another is to communicate those standards to the public.

"What we're starting to see world wide is a set of quite different standards, all claiming to be animal welfare standards but making quite different requirements.

One of these is the fairly basic standards like the Canadian codes of practice that set space requirements for the major production systems, like cages for laying hens.

At the other extreme we're seeing things like free range and organic standards that ban cages altogether.

In between those two we're seeing the emerging standards of the European Union that approve of cages but require some natural elements to be included in the cages like a nest box where the hens can retreat to lay an egg.

There's a lot of scope here for the public to simply become confused and disillusioned when they see three things, all different standards, all claiming to be animal welfare standards but making very different requirements.

There's going to need to be some very clear communication so that this program doesn't just confuse the public".

Dr. Fraser says, from his personal involvement on Canadian farms, many people are using very high standards of animal welfare.

He says that isn't the issue...the issue is how to demonstrate that.

For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.

5m Editor