Recent Actions On Animal Welfare

 

Recent Actions on Animal Welfare

As part of our commitment, we continuously review these processes and programs to ensure we meet or exceed industry best practices. Following are some of our recent activities:

  • Established internal committees, assisted by external experts from government and industry, which act as advisors to the company and review projects we are undertaking to further enhance our animal welfare protocols
  • Added two full-time certified animal welfare auditors to our existing welfare team
  • Established new, and revised existing, Animal Welfare Standard Operating Procedures to strengthen our long-standing, comprehensive, farm to processing program in accordance with new Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) guidelines, industry best practices and new audit requirements
  • Provided training on all procedures for employees and instituted an animal welfare commitment program for our catching and transportation partners
  • Established standards and a welfare commitment program to ensure that those involved in the care of chickens understand our policies

We also participate in third-party audits of our facilities. On our most recent audit, conducted in August 2015 by NSF-GFTC, a national leader in food safety and quality solutions, Maple Lodge Farms achieved a 100% score on corporate commitment and training, and a 96% score on the processing operations portions of the audit.

Maple Lodge Farms is also proud to fund external research and development projects, ensuring our decisions are based on solid, third-party scientific evidence. Current research projects include:

  • Studies to determine the environmental comfort ranges for chickens to guide transport and holding improvement initiatives
  • Statistical analysis to assess five years of transportation data to identify how changes in transportation practices improve the wellbeing of chickens and to identify any relationship between variables such as transport time or transport distance as factors in bird welfare
  • Testing new equipment and materials to address a range of factors such as air flow and relative humidity in live poultry trailers, and the safe handling of birds. For example, through the use of our modular transportation system for hens we are leading the way in reducing the number of times a bird is handled and their exposure to the outside, reducing stress on the birds during transportation
  • Researching modular transportation equipment and improved methods of stunning for our broiler (meat chickens) with the goal of implementing new technology within two years