The Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, announced an investment of up to nearly $3 million to three national organizations to enhance animal welfare and tracking in the country.
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With funding under the AgriAssurance Program, the organizations will draw on new research to update industry standards for the care and handling of animals, and will evaluate technology to more efficiently trace farm animals in the production system in the event of a disease outbreak.
The work will support the highest standards in farm animal care.
The recipients include:
• Animal Health Canada, located in Elora, Ontario, will receive up to $2.9 million to update national codes of practice for the livestock sector, including the code for the safe and humane transportation of livestock. It has also developed and introduced a code of practice for the aquaculture sector covering farmed salmon, trout and arctic char.
• The Canadian Cattle Identification Agency, located in Calgary, Alberta, will receive up to $52,140 to evaluate the use of ultra high frequency (UHF) scanners to read cattle identification tags as part of Canada's commitment to the international community to quickly trace the movement of animals in the event of a disease outbreak. Tag readings are recorded in a database that makes it possible for government and industry to rapidly contain the scope of a potential outbreak, protecting animal and human health.
• The Canadian Poultry and Egg Processors Council, located in Ottawa, Ontario, will receive up to $35,750 to update its animal welfare program for hatcheries to meet the requirements of the National Farm Animal Care Council's Code of Practice for the care and handling of hatching eggs, breeders, chickens and turkeys.
The Canadian Code of Practice is a national guideline developed by the National Farm Animal Council for the care and handling of farm animals. It includes requirements and recommendations on water and nutrition, environment management, housing and handling and transportation.
The code is based on input from farmers, processors, researchers, government, veterinarians, food service and retail representatives and animal welfare organizations.
The AgriAssurance Program is a $74-million federal initiative to build public trust by helping industry develop and adopt systems, standards and tools that enable it to make credible, meaningful and verifiable claims about the quality of Canadian agriculture and agri-food products and the manner in which they are produced. ■