Better Care

Maple Leaf Foods has strong values that deeply define our culture and how we operate. These values have a very direct relationship to how we treat animals we raise or source. Better care for our animals is one of our four sustainability priorities and reflects our goal to be a leader in animal care.

Maple Leaf Foods has strong values that define our culture and have a direct relationship on how we treat the animals we raise or source.

As the largest value-added meat protein company in Canada, we must be a leader in animal care. Animal welfare is an integral part of our culture and business. Our commitment to animal care focuses on progress in all of these areas:

  • Minimize or eliminate the use of antibiotics in animal care
  • Transition sows from confining gestation crates to open housing
  • Build a world-class animal care program that will be the foundation of a strong animal care culture

We are committed to enhancing our animal wellness practices in a manner that advances the Five Freedoms – the most widely accepted global standard for responsible animal care.

The Five Freedoms

  1. Freedom from hunger or thirst by providing ready access to fresh water and a diet that maintains good health and vigour
  2. Freedom from discomfort by providing an appropriate environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area
  3. Freedom from pain, injury or disease through prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment
  4. Freedom to express normal behaviours by providing sufficient space, proper facilities and company of the animal’s own kind
  5. Freedom from fear and distress by providing conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering

Our goals and performance

2017 Priorities Status Our Performance 2018+ Priorities
Continue to transition all Maple Leaf sows to enhanced open housing by the end of 2021. on track Completed our conversion of 33,000 sows to enhanced open housing. We are on track to complete 65,000 by end of 2021
  • Transition all Maple Leaf Foods sows to enhanced open housing by the end of 2021.
  • Complete RVA implementation in all existing live processing facilities by end the of 2019.
  • Build a strong culture of animal care across our facilities by implementing an Employee Advisory Policy and Golden Rules.
  • Strengthen our relationships that advance industry practices by hosting regular meetings of MLF poultry producer council and contracted pork producers.
  • Provide enrichment and toys, to all nursery and growing pigs and poultry barns by the end of 2018.
  • Pilot anesthesia for piglet castration / orchiectomy end of 2018.
  • Complete conversion of all hydraulic-lift pig trailers within Maple Leaf Foods by end of 2019.
  • Start construction of Controlled Atmosphere Stunning (CAS) in one poultry plant by Q1 2019.
  • Complete Animal Care Foundational Training for all MLF employees who effect the lives of animals by end of 2018.
  • Deliver Poultry Euthanasia training to all Fresh Poultry Plants.
  • Design and deliver pork training modules to our Fresh Pork Plants by August 2019.
Launch Remote Video Auditing (RVA) at one more facility and conduct pre-implementation planning at one to two more. achieved We completed RVA launch at Lethbridge facility in March 2017. We conducted a trial of new technology for poultry catching crews and profiled our Alberta hatchery and Edmonton Poultry plants.
Initiate independent review of our operations against our goals and commitments. deferred We have on going daily, weekly, and annual third party independent review of our farms, hatcheries, and live animal operations at our plants. We did not initiate a formal review against our goals and commitments but we will consider in future years.
Develop Key Performance Indicators to standardize and enhance internal and external reporting. achieved

We developed dashboard reporting on progress of various Animal Care projects and initiatives for all our operations. We will also continue the enhancement of internal audit processes across our facilities.

Pilot initiatives to promote play and reduce boredom in sow and hog barns in 2017. on track We continued to pilot and implement enrichment to all MLF barns with Nursery & Finisher barn trials underway. Sow barn trials still on going.
Pilot enrichment in Maple Leaf breeder barn and engage an independent producer in enrichment pilots. partially achieved

We engaged an independent producer council on enrichment in poultry barns. We have no current plans in 2018 to pilot enrichment in breeder barns.

Implement our poultry transportation strategy. on track We initiated new projects for new on farm resources and digital transportation monitoring. A formal program is in place with reduced in-transit risks to welfare.
Planning Poultry CAS (controlled atmosphere stunning). achieved

We have incorporated CAS and modular loading in our capital planning process.

Develop a Maple Leaf Technical Manual to further describe our Animal Care Program. achieved

We developed a Technical Manual for internal MLF use. It is used to foster discussion with our customers.

Develop and implement two additional modules of animal care training in 2017. partially achieved

Poultry Plant Euthanasia & Handling launched summer 2017. Our Animal Care 101 training module has been developed, and will be delivered in 2018.

achieved Achieved partially achieved Partially Achieved on track On Track deferred Deferred