Canada Animal Welfare Scorecard
The Canada Animal Welfare Scorecard is an annual report ranking major food companies operating in Canada on their animal welfare progress.
Last year, the inaugural edition of the report provided Canadians with an in-depth analysis of the animal welfare policies of more than 40 of the country’s best-known brands for the first time. The report revealed which companies were prioritizing animal welfare and taking meaningful action to ban cruel practices from their supply chains and which were not.
This 2022 report evaluates the animal welfare standards and progress of over 50 companies, offering important insight into Canada’s performance on three critical farmed animal welfare issues: laying hens confined in cages, mother pigs confined in crates, and the most pressing welfare problems affecting chickens raised for meat.
The vast majority of companies that publicly reported progress toward their animal welfare commitments in 2021 updated their progress this year, while about the same number of companies began reporting annual progress toward an animal welfare commitment for the first time.
This is a good indication that food companies are responding to increasing public concern for transparency and are aware that investors are paying attention to environmental, social, and governance factors in evaluating risk.
Grocery retailers, restaurants, and foodservice providers are the country’s largest purchasers of meat, dairy, and eggs. These companies hold tremendous power to shift animal welfare standards. Their commitments to responsible sourcing and transparency are essential in bringing concern for animal welfare to the forefront of conversations with Canadian industry and improving public trust in Canada’s food system.
A single corporate animal welfare policy can reduce suffering for millions of animals each year.
Egg Industry Snapshot:
Of hens raised in Canadian egg farms, 83 percent still spend their entire lives in wire cages.
Of the 55 companies featured in this report, 49 have public cage-free commitments.
In 2022, 27 companies reported cage-free progress.
Of these companies, 11 reported cage-free sourcing of 90 to 100 percent of their eggs.
Pig Industry Snapshot:
The Canadian pork industry is under a 2024 deadline to phase out individual confinement for mother pigs, but a proposed extension to 2029 is still under review.
From 2021 to 2022, only 12 ranked companies were publicly reporting their percentage of crate-free sourcing.
Every year in Canada, 1.2 million pigs are kept for breeding.
Chicken Industry Snapshot:
Of the land animals slaughtered every year in Canada, 90 percent are chickens.
Only eight of the ranked companies are reporting progress toward at least one component of the Better Chicken Commitment.
Of the companies in this report, 23 have publicly adopted standards aligned with the Better Chicken Commitment.
Canada Is Falling Behind
Millions of animals suffer at industrial farms in Canada as a result of conventional practices that lead to harmful animal welfare outcomes. Most farms in the country are “factory farms” that use intensive methods to maximize production and lower costs.
Chickens are bred for rapid growth, which is often disabling and leads to injuries. Pregnant and nursing pigs are confined in crates so small they can’t turn around. Laying hens are crammed into wire cages, unable to walk or spread their wings.
The Canadian egg industry is failing to ban cage confinement for hens despite cage bans across entire countries and states around the globe.
This is a broken food system. Worse, as consolidation and farm size increase, federal animal welfare legislation is still lacking, and a publicly funded council sets standards that are out of touch with public opinion and global shifts in animal welfare practices.
About Mercy For Animals
Founded in 1999, Mercy For Animals is an international nonprofit dedicated to ending industrial animal agriculture by constructing a just and sustainable food system. We currently work in Brazil, Canada, India, Mexico, and the United States.
We Promote Change
Corporate animal welfare policies can reduce suffering for millions of animals by banning cruel practices common at industrial farms. Mercy For Animals’ corporate engagement work moves the food industry’s biggest players to adopt meaningful standards to protect farmed animals.
If you work for a food company and would like to collaborate to improve its animal welfare standards, please contact us at [email protected].