Montreal, June 16th, 2015 – Following its Truth in Labelling campaign launched last fall, the Montreal SPCA submitted a petition signed by over 10,000 Canadians to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and to the honourable Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. The petition demands that the Agency regulate the use of animal welfare claims on the packaging of food products and impose mandatory labelling of the rearing methods used on eggs, dairy products, and meat.
In Canada, there is currently no regulatory oversight of the claims and images related to animal welfare that are used in the packaging of food products. Use of the claim “free-run eggs”, for example, is unregulated: producers are not required to meet any minimum standards in order to label their eggs in this fashion, and the accuracy of the label is not subject to third party verification. As a result, many consumers are choosing to purchase food products bearing certain animal welfare related claims without any real knowledge of what those claims mean, and without any guarantee that they are accurate or reliable.
Not only are animal welfare claims unregulated, but there is currently no obligation for manufacturers to disclose, through labelling, the rearing methods used in producing animal products. Thus, eggs, dairy, and meat that are produced using industrial farming practices associated with poor animal welfare, such as battery cages for egg-laying hens or gestation crates for pigs, are not identified as such. Yet mandatory labelling of production method has been successfully implemented elsewhere, such as the European Union and Australia.
“Public concern over farm animal welfare is on the rise, and consumers are increasingly willing to purchase more animal-friendly products” said Sophie Gaillard, Lawyer and campaigns manager for the Montreal SPCA’s Animal Advocacy Department. “It is crucial to ensure that the claims and images that consumers rely on in making these decisions are accurate.”
Media contact: Me Sophie Gaillard, Lawyer and campaigns manager, Animal Advocacy, Montreal SPCA, 514-229-6771, or firstname.lastname@example.org.