Demonstrating Leadership in Animal Care Policies and Practices

What we are doing:

  • Executing our animal care strategy, measuring our performance on initiatives that advance the Five Freedoms and Five Domains
  • Requiring third-party suppliers to commit to Maple Leaf Foods’ animal welfare standards in procurement contracts
  • Continuing to reduce or eliminate antibiotic use across our supply chains, while recognizing the importance of providing necessary medication to sick or injured animals
  • Committing to transparency in our communications, including reporting on our goals, progress and performance
  • Upholding our Animal Care Golden Rules through rigorous incident investigations and senior management reviews
  • Implementing an animal care certification for all our employees who handle animals
  • Designing and delivering animal care training modules for fresh pork and poultry plants
  • Requiring all drivers, internal and external, to have transportation training that’s verified and tracked
  • Requiring all our pork and poultry operations to undergo an annual independent audit, and to correct any deficiencies immediately
  • Utilizing third-party remote video auditing (RVA) in all of our hatcheries and processing facilities to advance training and operating practices and to respond swiftly to any animal welfare incidents
  • Conducting internal audits of all our third-party broiler farmers to ensure they are meeting our high standards of animal welfare (paused due to COVID-19)

Investing in Housing Design and Enrichment

Environmental enrichments are important because they provide animals with more opportunities to express their natural behaviour, such as pecking, rooting and perching, and can enhance their mental and physical health.
Here are some examples of how we are supporting natural behaviours in the animals we raise:

  • Transitioning all remaining sows under our management from gestation crates to our Advanced Open Sow Housing system by the end of 2021
  • Providing environmental enrichment for our pigs in 100% of our Advanced Open Sow Housing barns and nursery-finisher barns to reduce boredom and promote play
  • Pilot-testing free farrowing systems
  • Conducting robust broiler environmental enrichment trials and initiating implementation
  • Advancing environmental enrichments in our breeder grower and broiler breeder operations by providing pecking blocks to 100% of our owned broiler breeder pullets and evaluating perches and pecking blocks in our broiler breeder flocks

Investing in Facilities, Transportation and Processes

Here are some examples of how we reduce pain and stress in the animals we raise or source:

  • Eliminating surgical castration in piglets under our management through a phased transition to immunocastration
  • Implementing scientifically advanced and humane euthanasia, including controlled atmosphere stunning, in all our fresh poultry facilities as a core element of our fresh poultry strategy
  • Upgrading our existing poultry trailers to include climate controlled trailers and implementing a digital transportation monitoring system that provides real-time temperature and humidity monitoring for transporting poultry
  • Converted our internal fleet of hog trailers to hydraulic-lift deck trailers