Advancing World-Leading Animal Care Practices
There is a natural, productive tension that comes from being a leader in protein and having a vision to be the most sustainable protein company on earth. To be successful, we need to operate effectively at scale, while relentlessly pursuing continuous improvement in all areas of sustainability.
These concepts are not mutually exclusive, but they do require constant calibration and strategic choices.
Maple Leaf Foods is making one of those choices by investing in world-leading animal care technology with the decision to implement controlled atmosphere stunning in our Edmonton poultry facility.
As part of a $28 million investment, our Edmonton facility will implement controlled atmosphere stunning technology, which will result in a 26,000-square foot expansion. Maple Leaf Foods will convert our transportation lairage and receiving area, and handling systems. The new lairage system will enhance lighting, air quality and temperature control, allowing chickens to rest comfortably and significantly reducing stress.
Controlled atmosphere stunning is a leading, humane system, ensuring birds are fully insensible prior to euthanasia. According to Dr. Greg Douglas, vice president, animal care, this technology is acknowledged as best practice around the world due to the benefits to animal welfare outcomes.
According to president and CEO, Michael McCain, Maple Leaf Foods is advancing many dimensions of sustainability, from eliminating the use of antibiotics in animal production, to best practices in animal care and dramatic reductions in our environmental footprint.
Maple Leaf Foods is also installing remote video auditing at this facility, which is a powerful training and auditing tool that we have implemented at other sites to support rigorous monitoring and compliance to best practices we deploy in animal care. With installation of remote video auditing at our Edmonton site, it will be the ninth implementation of this technology in our system.
This initiative will complement $16 million in additional investments we have made to expand capacity in our hatchery operations in Wetaskiwin, Alberta, demonstrating our commitment to leadership in Canadian poultry, where we have the leading national brands.
The investment in controlled atmosphere stunning and remote video auditing is part of a broader strategy to deploy world-class technologies and best practices that support our goal of eliminating stress and pain and provide humane treatment of animals in our care, while enhancing employee health and safety, and food quality.