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Chicken farmers have something to crow about

An independent audit has shown their animal care program is working well

The latest audit of the animal care program operated by Chicken Farmers of Canada (CFC) by third-party auditor NSF International says the program is working effectively and consistently.

CFC said in a statement that 2,800 Canadian chicken farms are audited annually.

“It is a mandatory program with enforcement measures for issues of non-compliance and the program guarantees one national standard for consistency of requirements and record-keeping on all chicken farms in Canada.”

Farmers “work hard each day to provide the best possible care for their birds, and to ensure their health and welfare,” CFC said. The effectiveness of the program “is a clear demonstration of their commitment to animal care.”

NSF International concluded the program “has been implemented effectively and maintained on an ongoing basis. Animal care measures have been consistently applied.”

Not only does the care program ensure standards are maintained, it’s “a way to provide continuing education to farmers about best practices and to drive innovation and improvement,” CFC said.

The program is based on the Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Hatching Eggs, Breeders, Chickens and Turkeys developed by the National Farm Animal Care Council. It’s the product of collaboration by farmers, veterinarians, processors, transporters, animal welfare associations, and government officials.

The code began with a full scientific review and was followed by public consultations. The CFC Code was finalized in 2016 and the organization is moving ahead with an update of it. It also plans to “continue funding animal care research as a priority area – to enhance future versions of the Code of Practice and farm management practices.”

CFC has also asked the federal government to recognize animal care in the next Agricultural Policy Framework much like the national on-farm food safety program is. “Such a recognition system would leverage the work performed by NFACC and organizations such as CFC that are implementing one auditable, mandatory standard to effectively demonstrate the level of animal care on Canadian farms.”

CFC’s commitment to animal care assisted by expert contributions will provide “confidence to our customers and consumers of the high standards of animal care which are the foundations of our Raised by a Canadian Farmer brand. It was launched in 2013.

NSF performs the third-party audits using PAACO (Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization) certified auditors to ensure the effective and consistent implementation of the CFC Animal Care Program.

NSF is an internationally recognized, third-party certification body, accredited by the American National Standards Institute to ISO 17065. Its auditors are professionals with years of experience performing animal care and food safety audits for the agricultural sector. Third-party audits were conducted in all provinces and over 90 per cent of CFC’s on-farm auditors were evaluated.

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