Mandatory Animal Care Programme Passes Third-Party Audit with Flying Colours

CANADA - Chicken Farmers of Canada’s (CFC) strong commitment to animal care has been confirmed with the completion of an inaugural comprehensive third-party audit. NSF International’s report concluded that “The national Animal Care Programme has been implemented effectively and maintained on an on-going basis. Animal care measures have been consistently applied.”
calendar icon 22 March 2017
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Canadian chicken farmers work hard each day to provide the best possible care for their birds, and to ensure their health and welfare. CFC’s Animal Care Programme is a clear demonstration of their commitment to animal care. CFC has implemented a strong programme and certification process and it is the only programme capable of ensuring that animal care standards are implemented and audited on all chicken farms in Canada. Further to that, the programme is a way to provide continuing education to farmers about best practices and to drive innovation and improvement.

Under CFC’s Animal Care Programme, audits are conducted annually on all Canadian chicken farms. It is a mandatory programme with enforcement measures for issues of non-compliance and the programme guarantees one national standard for consistency of requirements and record-keeping on all chicken farms in Canada.

CFC has been administering a national Animal Care Programme on all 2,800 broiler chicken farms across Canada since 2009. Since 2016, the implementation of the programme by farmers and the effectiveness of CFC’s audit team are subject to an annual third-party audit. NSF performs the third-party audits using PAACO (Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization) certified auditors to ensure the effective and consistent implementation of the CFC Animal Care Programme.

NSF is an internationally recognized, third-party certification body, accredited by the American National Standards Institute to ISO 17065. Their auditors are professionals with years of experience performing animal care and food safety audits for the agricultural sector. Third-party audits were conducted in all provinces and over 90 per cent of CFC’s on-farm auditors were evaluated.

The programme has credible, science-based foundations in that it is based on the Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Hatching Eggs, Breeders, Chickens and Turkeys, as developed by the National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC). NFACC is a world leader in bringing together stakeholders with different perspectives – farmers, veterinarians, processors, transporters, animal welfare associations, and provincial/federal governments – to develop robust and sound Codes of Practice.

NFACC’s Code Development process begins with a full scientific review which is used to draft the Code that then undergoes a public consultation process. In this way, all Canadians have an opportunity to contribute to the final Code.

With the Code of Practice for chicken recently finalized in 2016, CFC has begun implementing the new requirements and is in the process of updating the Animal Care Programme by engaging a group of competent experts using NFACC’s Animal Care Assessment Framework.

And CFC is not stopping here.

Looking forward, CFC will continue funding animal care research as a priority area – to enhance future versions of the Code of Practice and farm management practices.

In addition, CFC is petitioning the federal government to implement a recognition protocol for animal care in Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s next Agricultural Policy Framework, similar to the successful on-farm food safety recognition protocol. Such a recognition system would leverage the work performed by NFACC and organizations such as CFC that are implementing one auditable, mandatory standard to effectively demonstrate the level of animal care on Canadian farms.

CFC says that its leadership in animal care will continue to evolve as it commits to working with the experts – including all industry stakeholder organizations from farm to table, the research community and government regulators – to continuously monitor animal care. This commitment provides confidence to customers and consumers of the high standards of animal care which are the foundations of its Raised by a Canadian Farmer brand.

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