GFM Network News


Maple Leaf Foods says it is over half done its conversions to open sow housing.

Maple Leaf pulls ahead on open sow housing

Gestation crates will be a thing of the past at Maple Leaf Foods as of 2021, three years ahead of the National Farm Animal Care Council’s deadline

Maple Leaf Foods now expects to complete its shift to open sow housing with years to spare. The company is more than halfway completed its transition, according to Dr. Greg Douglas, vice-president of animal care. About 40,000 of the company’s 70,000 sows are currently managed under the advanced open-housing system, and the company expects to

Dr. Tim Blackwell speaks to producers about their public image during the annual Manitoba Swine Seminar in Winnipeg.

Scientific claims won’t counter ethical questions about animal welfare

Pork producers can say that consumers don’t get it, that science is the basis for welfare and that castration doesn’t hurt, but the public won’t buy it — and that’s bad for business

If you’re a pork producer trying to convince someone your welfare practices are up to snuff, the last words you should pull out of your phrase book are “science” and “based.” Speaking to representatives of Manitoba’s pork industry during the annual Swine Seminar in Winnipeg, Dr. Tim Blackwell outlined the pitfalls and missteps that hurt


Electronic sow feeding first choice for productivity

When considering group sow-housing systems, electronic sow feeding (ESF) is likely the best choice for pig producers with high productivity expectations, according to Thomas Parsons at the University of Pennsylvania. “We now have farms pushing above 30 pigs weaned per sow per year and thus the technology itself, if properly managed, is not a barrier

The draft code for care of pigs in Canada says long-term stays in gestation crates should be phased out.

New pig care code brings change

The much anticipated draft Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Pigs released by the National Farm Animal Care Council signals change is coming to the industry’s use of sow gestation stalls and other herd management practices such as castration. “In well-managed and -designed housing systems, it is possible to achieve equal or

Animal rights groups applaud retailers’ move against gestation stalls

The Retail Council of Canada’s apparent plan to phase out gestation stalls 
won’t influence how the Manitoba Pork Council advises its producers

Manitoba Pork Council says a sweeping endorsement of updated sow housing practices, including phasing out gestation stalls by 2022, by the Retail Council of Canada won’t change how its producers raise their animals. “It really changes nothing in our position at all, a whole host of independent retailers, like Tim Hortons and like Walmart have


Tim Hortons expects stall-free pork by 2022

Having reviewed its pork suppliers’ plans to phase out the use of gestation stalls for breeding sows, Canada’s iconic Tim Hortons chain now expects to have moved to stall-free pork by the year 2022. In the Oakville, Ont. company’s annual Sustainability and Responsibility report, released April 3, Tim Hortons said it has “consulted with our

Major pork processor to ditch gestation stalls

Quebec-based Olymel becomes the latest major processor to bow to consumer pressure to change how it houses pregnant sows

Another major Canadian pork processor has announced it will ban the use of gestations stalls in the coming years. The Quebec-based Olymel says it will phase out gestation stalls over the next decade. “We’ve been thinking about this for a long time, we’ve been talking to our partners and reading expert opinion,” said Olymel spokesman

EU threatens legal action to enforce sow welfare rules

Reuters / Nine European Union countries, including France and Germany, face potential legal action for failing to implement new rules on pig welfare, the European Commission said Feb. 21. A quarter of the bloc’s 12 million sows are still being kept on farms where individual cages, known as sow stalls, remain in use, even though


Managing the transition to group sow housing

There is now a growing acceptance in the Canadian pork industry that producers must eventually move away from sow stalls and towards group housing. When the new welfare codes of practice are released this summer, they will likely require that no new stall housing is built after 2014 and that existing facilities are converted to

Getting the most from herd-recording data

Banff speaker outlines key factors which he believes make the biggest contribution 
to the number of quality pigs weaned per sow.

There are literally dozens of different swine herd-recording programs. Most producers use a computer-based system to monitor performance, but do producers extract maximum value from their data? Ron Ketchem, a partner in Swine Management Services of Fremont, Nebraska, thinks not. Speaking at the Banff Pork Seminar, he described how his company analyzes data from more