Fresh Ideas, Growing Together

CFO reaffirms strong animal welfare commitment as Ontario explores new enforceable standards model

BURLINGTON, ON – May 1, 2019 – Earlier this week, Chicken Farmers of Ontario (CFO) participated in a Ministry-led industry consultation with the Ontario Ministry of the Solicitor General and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. The Ontario government is exploring and considering options in order to further strengthen Ontario’s animal welfare system.

The Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ (OSPCA) recent decision to withdraw from its current role enforcing animal welfare legislation has increased the urgency to develop a new animal welfare enforcement model.

“At CFO, animal welfare is of paramount importance and we recognize that responsible, ethical and lawful conduct is vital to the success of our agricultural sector,” said Rob Dougans, President and CEO of Chicken Farmers of Ontario. “We strive to achieve the highest animal welfare standards in order to keep and gain consumer confidence and trust,” Dougans stated.

“As a supply managed commodity, CFO has the regulatory authority to ensure that verifiable on-farm standards are achieved. We do this through our On-Farm Food Safety and our Animal Care Programs - in which all our farmers must demonstrate 100% compliance. In addition, strict biosecurity protocols are in place to protect our birds, and our industry,” stated Ed Benjamins, Chair of Chicken Farmers of Ontario. “CFO and its farmers are committed to the respectful, humane treatment of all the birds in our care.”

CFO believes that any new animal welfare protocol should recognize the strong and existing partnership with commodity organizations and should include the current Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) model – which has proven to be effective in the past. The MOU model allows organizations and government to work together – to certify that best practices and standards are being achieved, and to ensure industry-wide checks and balances are in place.

In addition, the MOU model allows commodity organizations to use their authority and effectively enforce animal care standards. This reduces costs and resources that would otherwise be required from government.
CFO has continually expressed commitment to supporting the government in their ongoing effort to reduce red tape and achieve minimum effective regulation.

It is CFO’s position that any changes to the animal welfare enforcement protocol should be designed with minimum effective regulation standards in mind.

CFO applauds the Government of Ontario for their ongoing commitment to working with industry to further strengthen agricultural policy and framework. On behalf of the over 1,300 chicken farmer families across the province, the Board is appreciative to be included in this very important enforcement standards building process.

CLICK HERE to learn more about CFO’s commitment to animal health and welfare.