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SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT: What you and your customers need to know about animal care on Canadian chicken farms

Canadian consumers continue to be increasingly invested in the journey of their food. When it comes to the chicken industry—which produces approximately 630 million birds per year according to Chicken Farmers of Canada (CFC)—there is mounting pressure on restaurants to serve ethically-sourced food. If you’ve ever been approached by a customer about animal welfare, you’ll know that misinformation can make it more challenging to set the record straight.

The good news is, CFC, a national organization that represents the more than 2,800 chicken farmers across Canada, has several programs in place to ensure you’re well-equipped to address any customer concerns. The Canadian chicken industry works to some of the highest international standards of animal care, food safety, and sustainability. The Animal Care program for Canadian chicken, for example, has a solid, credible, and science-based foundation, and is like nothing else in the world. The program is based on a Code of Practice, developed by the National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC) NFACC is a world leader in bringing together stakeholders with different perspectives, and includes farmers, scientists, veterinarians, processors, retailer and foodservice representatives, transporters, animal welfare associations, and provincial/federal governments. One hundred per cent of Canada’s chicken farmers are certified on this mandatory program, which is second and third-party audited.

In 2016, CFC developed the Raised by a Canadian Farmer branding program, which demonstrates farmers’ commitment to producing chicken that was raised in Canada by responsible farmers that adhere to strict, national food safety and animal care standards. Recent data from the CFC found that 91 per cent of Canadians want chicken raised in Canada, and they want that certification to come from farmers. “Canadians believe that the quality of the product is better if it comes from a more local source,” said Lisa Bishop-Spencer, Director of Brand and Communications, Chicken Farmer of Canada. “There’s a sense of pride that is associated with local products and supporting Canadian farmers. Moreover, the Raised by a Canadian Farmer brand helps restaurants deliver on their customers’ expectations for excellence.” 

The Raised by a Canadian Farmer brand is backed by numerous retailers and restaurants throughout Canada, including Walmart, Maple Leaf Foods, and the popular fast-food chain, KFC. Since KFC signed on to the Raised by a Canadian Farmer branding program in 2019, the restaurant chain has witnessed numerous benefits, including continued growth in the restaurant’s food quality and brand trust scores. Katherine Bond-Debicki, Chief Marketing Officer, KFC Canada noted that purchasing locally-sourced Canadian farm-raised chicken has always been central to KFC’s business.

“The Raised by a Canadian Farmer seal is a way of letting consumers know our commitment to sourcing only the best, quality Canadian chicken,” she said. “Consumers want transparency in where their food is coming and trust that when it comes from a Canadian farmer, it has been sourced ethically and contributes to the economic growth and the welfare of our local Canadian communities. Our dedication to sourcing Canadian chicken and then certifying it through Chicken Farmers of Canada’s Raised by a Canadian Farmer program helps show our commitment to industry-leading animal welfare guidelines and sourcing locally wherever we can.”

HERE’S A TOP 10 LIST OF FACTS YOU MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT CANADIAN CHICKEN:

  1. Chicken Farmers of Canada’s Animal Care Program has strict standards for the care and handling of chickens. The program is mandatory, third party audited, and enforced across ALL Canadian chicken farms.
  2. The program is based on a code pf practice that was developed through the National Farm Animal Care Council, consisting of stakeholders representing government, farmers, animal welfare advocates, food processors, transporters, veterinarians, researchers, restaurants and retailers.
  3. More than 90% of Canadian chicken farms are family owned and operated. There are no ‘factory farms.’
  4. Canada’s farmers are paid for each bird that is processed. So, it makes good economic sense for them to take care of their birds.
  5. Litter is monitored daily and barns are cleaned out after every flock.
  6. Light intensity and duration is carefully managed to ensure proper periods of rest and to promote flock health.
  7. The density of Canadian chicken production is lower than or consistent with other countries.
  8. The use of hormone and steroids has been illegal since the 1960s.
  9. Chicken is the lowest cost Canadian meat protein.
  10. The Canadian chicken sector has lowered its carbon footprint by almost 40% in the past 40 years.

Canadian chicken farmers take animal care seriously. It frustrates me when I hear the false claims made about how I run my farm. They’re simply not true. The Animal Care Program is one of the ways I can demonstrate to all Canadians that I take my work seriously and want to provide the best for the animals in my care. Make no mistake, this program is mandatory and audited, and it’s very strict, but it’s worth it when I see that my birds are happy and healthy. People sometimes forget that farmers are consumers, too, and strict, ethical animal care standards are important to all of us.– Tim Klompmaker, Canadian chicken farmer

Lets Replace Gossip With Facts

Consumers care more and more about where their food comes from, but misinformation about how chickens are raised is abundant. It’s time to set the record straight.

More than 90 per cent of Canadians want Canadian chicken and they want certification to come from farmers. Chicken Farmers of Canada developed the Raised by a Canadian Farmer branding program which now appears in many restaurants and retailers throughout Canada. Carrying the logo assures Canadians that their chicken was raised right here in Canada, by responsible farmers who adhere to strict, national food safety and animal care standards. Using the Raised by a Canadian Farmer logo and other assets is free.

Email brand@chicken.ca for more information.

For more information about animal welfare and the Raised by a Canadian Farmer branding program, visit LetsTalkChicken.ca

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