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Canadian Campaign Group Calls for Production System Labelling

03 October 2013

CANADA - The Humane Society International/Canada is calling on the country's regulatory agency to require clear, mandatory labels on animal products.

The organisations said that the majority of Canadians want clearer animal welfare labels.

A new poll by Environics Research Group reveals that 82 per cent of Canadians want to see clearer labels on meat, dairy products and eggs indicating how animals were raised, according to Humane Society International/Canada.

The poll comes as the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) conducts a Food Labelling Modernization Initiative to address weaknesses in the current food labelling framework.

Sayara Thurston, campaigner with Humane Society International/Canada, stated: “Canadians care about how farm animals are treated and want to improve animal welfare with their purchasing decisions. Unfortunately, current food labels do not provide consumers with enough information to make an informed choice at the grocery store. We welcome CFIA’s review of labelling regulations and hope to see clear, mandatory labels indicating how animals were treated during their lives.”

Food manufacturers selling their products in Canada currently have no obligation to label their products with information that indicates how farm animals were raised, including whether they were confined in cages, had access to the outdoors, or were able to express natural behaviours during their lives. Approximately 700 million animals are raised and slaughtered for human consumption in Canada every year. HSI says the vast majority of them spend virtually their entire lives locked inside intensive, indoor housing systems, with tens of millions permanently confined to cage housing systems such as barren battery cages (laying hens) or gestation crates (breeding sows).

In other countries, method-of-production labelling systems have been enacted to require that products such as eggs indicate whether animals were kept in cages during their lives. These labelling systems have resulted in market-driven welfare improvements within the egg industry.

The Environics poll involved an online survey conducted among 1,007 adult Canadians. Quotas were established for province, age and gender to ensure the final sample was representative of the Canadian population. The survey was conducted between 17 and 19 September 2013 with qualifying members of online research panels. As Internet panels are non-probability samples, a margin of sampling error cannot be cited. The full poll is available online [click here].

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