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Canadian Government Ignores Animal Welfare

by 5m Editor
3 April 2009, at 9:15am

OTTAWA, CANADA - A report released by the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies (CFHS) illustrates just how far behind Canada is of countries like Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the European Union.

All of these jurisdictions have invested millions of dollars in recent years to address animal welfare. In stark contrast, "Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) launches a five-year plan that basically ignores farm animal welfare", says the welfare group.

"The Minister of Agriculture has shown no interest in taking any leadership on animal welfare in Canada", states Shelagh MacDonald, CFHS Program Director. "It's rather unbelievable that the Canadian government is so out of step with the rest of the world on this issue. Throughout the Growing Forward consultation process, animal welfare has been ignored, resulting in a framework that includes no provision, strategy nor plan to fund animal welfare."

Other countries have comprehensive animal welfare strategies specifically aimed at ensuring high standards of animal welfare. They also have permanent and state-funded animal welfare advisory committees that provide counsel to government.

The Canadian government funded the formation and first two years of operation of the National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC), which provides a national coordinated approach promoting responsible farm animal care in Canada. But it has refused to provide even $100,000 per year to support this rather modest animal care initiative.

Recently, the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) urged Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz and his government to take action on NFACC funding.

"At a minimum, the Canadian government needs to provide sustainable funding for NFACC through the Growing Forward initiative," explains Dr. Terry Whiting, Chair, CVMA Animal Welfare Committee. "This would aid in further development of livestock Codes of Practice and enhance Canadian livestock welfare."

There are also increasing market and trade implications of animal welfare around the world and Canada will be left behind if our government doesn't take action now.

"Canadians have repeatedly shown that they care about the welfare of animals", stated Ms. MacDonald. "They should be appalled to learn that Canada lags so far behind many other countries and that our Agriculture Minister has no plans to remedy this."

Further Reading

- You can view Canadian Funding Policy for Farm Animal Welfare: A Step Behind the World by the CFHS by clicking here.