CANADA - The Canadian Cattlemen's Association (CCA) has said Canadian animal care regulations and standards are among the best in the world, after Canadian restaurant chain Earls Restaurants switched to US beef suppliers.
The chain caused controversy after it said it could not source enough 'Certified Humane'-labelled beef from within Canada.
In a statement, the CCA said: "Canadian animal care regulations and standards, including the Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Beef Cattle, can stand up to, and perhaps even exceed, any world-wide certifications or standards. Regulations and standards differ from certifications, which are simply a record of the production practices the majority of Canadian cattle producers are already doing.
"The vast majority of Canadian beef farmers have adopted the National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC) Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Beef Cattle as the minimum acceptable standard for animal care.
"The Code of Practice covers everything from proper nutrition, treatments when cattle are sick, to proper handling and transport. It encourages the use of low stress handling techniques, as well as pain mitigation and medication for stressful procedures. Methods developed by Dr. Temple Grandin and other low stress cattle handling experts (Bud Williams, Dylan Biggs) are used extensively in Canada.
"The beef Code of Practice is currently being integrated into the Verified Beef Production Plus program, which records producer practices in animal care and welfare, sustainability, environment and more. This wider verification program will demonstrate the commitment of our industry to sustainable beef production.
"The NFACC Codes are science and consensus based, and developed by a multi-stakeholder group. Stakeholders include farmers/producers, transporters, veterinarians, animal welfare and enforcement agencies, retail and food service organisations, processors, governments, and researchers.
"The Codes are also reviewed regularly as production practices evolve or as our collective body of knowledge expands through experience and research.
"Further, there are regulations to govern virtually every aspect of beef production in Canada. Under the Criminal Code of Canada, it is illegal to wilfully neglect, maim, wound or injure an animal. Provinces and territories also have laws regarding the care and treatment of farm animals. The Federal Health of Animals Act Transportation Part 12 ensures healthy animals are transported safely."
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