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On-Farm Swine Welfare Audits Considered Inevitable

by 5m Editor
9 April 2003, at 12:00am

CANADA - Farm-Scape: Episode 1217. 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

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

Farm-Scape, Episode 1217

A veterinarian with Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development suggests the implementation of auditable animal welfare guidelines on Canadian swine farms is inevitable but the challenge is determining how to deliver such a program. The Canadian Pork Council is looking at incorporating a swine welfare audit as a voluntary module of its on farm food safety program.

Provincial Swine Veterinarian Dr. Julia Keenliside sits on the Canadian Quality Assurance Food Safety Committee and she's evaluating the new 'Swine Welfare Assurance Program' being implemented in the US.

She suggests Canada's swine industry also needs to take a proactive approach to the animal welfare issue.

"I think all along, since the inception of CQA, we have known that some day we would have to do a welfare component simply watching what's been happening in the European Union.

We've been pretty clear that welfare will be separate. It won't affect the on farm food safety or the CQA validation. You don't have to do both.

Both will likely be voluntary and passing one will not affect the validation on the other. The other concern that I had is that, if the US processors are calling for some sort of welfare certification program for their pigs, if we are shipping pigs to the US to be slaughtered we may have to have some kind of welfare certification that meets their standards.

I think that's another thing we have to keep in mind.

Right now I think there's a lot of work to be done because the biggest challenge is, 'how do you deliver and implement such a program,' and there are suggestions that using the current CQA structure might be the best way but that all has to be worked out yet."

Dr. Keenliside says the industry has been very successful in being proactive with food safety and most of the procedures that make up CQA are what most producers are doing anyway. She says a similar approach to animal welfare will allow the industry to demonstrate what is already being done...and that it's being done voluntarily.

For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.

5m Editor