Canada’s biggest grocery chains commit to pig welfare

April 29, 2013 (Ottawa, Ontario) – The Canadian Federation of Humane Societies (CFHS) applauds the announcement from grocery giant Loblaw committing to move away from the use of sow stalls by the end of 2022. “This decision puts Loblaw on the side of animal welfare science and public opinion,” says Barbara Cartwright, CEO of the CFHS.

In their 2012 Corporate Social Responsibility Report Galen Weston says, “We are engaging with industry experts and activists on the best solutions to animal welfare challenges such as sow stalls and improved housing environments for laying hens.”

Loblaw’s decision follows a growing trend of companies who are committing to phase out the use of sow stalls, such as Tim Hortons, McDonald’s, Burger King and producers including Olymel and Maple Leaf. Retail Council member including Co-op Atlantic, Canada Safeway, Costco Wholesale Canada, Federated Co-operatives Limited , Loblaw Companies Limited, Metro Inc., Sobeys Inc. and Walmart Canada CorpRCC, have committed to sourcing fresh pork products from sows raised in alternative housing practices as defined in the updated Codes of Practice by the end of 2022.

“Today’s announcement is a clear reflection of consumer expectations that food animals be treated humanely,” says Ms. Cartwright. “We strongly encourage farmers to strive to employ management practices and housing systems that meet both the physiological and psychological needs of the animals.”

Animal welfare science has shown that when confined in sow stalls, the animals experience extreme stress and frustration because they are unable to express natural behaviours. Inside a stall the animals typically do not have enough room to turn around.

“We look forward to the imminent release of the National Farm Animal Care Council’s (NFACC) draft Code of Practice for Pigs, which will provide further guidance on the full range of on-farm practices,” says Ms. Cartwright.

Canada’s Codes of Practice for the care and handling of farm animals lay out national expectations for animal welfare as arrived at by consensus between the farmers, veterinarians, scientists, government agencies, SPCAs and humane societies, who are all members of the National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC).

The Pig Code of Practice is expected to be available for public comment on June 1st 2013. The CFHS is the only animal welfare organization that is a member of the NFACC. The CFHS has been an active participant in the development of these codes of practice since their inception.

Currently 27 million pigs are being raised on 7,000 farms in Canada. For a complete breakdown of which companies are phasing out gestation stalls visit

The Canadian Federation of Humane Societies (CFHS) is a national organization representing humane societies and SPCAs in Canada. Founded in 1957, the CFHS works toward positive, progressive change to end animal cruelty, improve animal protection and promote the humane treatment of all animals.

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Media Release: Canada’s biggest grocery chains commit to pig welfare
Canada’s biggest grocery chains commit to pig welfare
Humane Canada (also known as the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies) is Canada's federation of SPCAs and humane societies, representing the largest animal welfare community in Canada.