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Since the 1960s, the CFHS has taken a lead role in improving the welfare of animals used in research in Canada. This section provides information on some of the key issues in this area, and the CFHS’ ongoing activities.
In October Canadians caught a rare glimpse of the reality of life on the modern day industrial farm for the approximately 20 million laying hens in Canada.
90% of laying hens in Canada live in traditional “battery cages”, they spend their entire lives in a cramped cage the approximate size of a magazine page, unable to open and spread their wings, easily preen their feathers or experience natural light. Their relatively short lives of 1 ½ -2 years are spent continually laying eggs – on average 320 eggs per year!
This is not the case in other countries. Under the European Council Directive traditional battery cages were phased out over 10 years and are now illegal (effective January 2012). In Belgium, Austria, Sweden and the Netherlands all cages are banned.
The CFHS believes that food animals deserve our respect on the farm, in transport and in slaughter. Battery cages do not provide an environment in which the hens are free to express natural behaviours and it does not ensure safety from injury, distress or any form of suffering for the hens.
The CFHS advocates for better conditions for laying hens at the National Farm Animal Care Council as it reviews the existing Code of Practice for Poultry – layers. The Code of
Practice provides requirements and recommendations on the care and handling of farm animals. Dr. Ian Duncan, featured in the W5 segment, represents the CFHS in these negotiations.
Every Canadian who is thinking about their food must decide what is ethically and morally acceptable to them. For specific guidelines regarding which management and housing practices are deemed acceptable by the CFHS, please consult the SPCA Certified Standards.
Although the law requires that animals be used for medical testing in Canada, animals are not requir…