NewStream Farm Animal Care, Volume 1, Edition 10
Yellow light for Calgary Co-op
Posted: May 8, 2013
The retailer is moving forward cautiously and plans to consult with key organizations such as Alberta Pork
With the spike in media attention and call-in show fodder slowly leveling off following the Calgary Co-op resolution on sow stalls and poultry cages, the retailer is carefully looking ahead at what this means and how it moves forward.
It finds itself in a unique set of circumstances. Calgary Co-op is one of the largest retail co-operatives in North America, with more than 44,000 members and annual sales of more than $1 billion. Under its cooperative structure, Co-op members can put forward resolutions at the AGM which if passed are moved on to the company Board of Directors.
The resolution on "cage free" pork and eggs – passed by a vote of 97-67 – is a non-binding one so the board is only required to examine the issue and report back its findings. However, spokespeople for the retailer say the typical approach is to look for ways to meet the members' wishes.
Calgary Co-op management has said it will now work with Federated Co-operatives Ltd. as well as producer groups to examine the options.
Alberta Pork weighs in
One of the key producer groups involved in the discussion is Alberta Pork. Executive Director Darcy Fitzgerald tells NewStream Farm Animal Care the organization wants to be part of the dialogue, to represent the interests of its producer members and support that any steps taken align with the proactive steps already underway by industry.
"Alberta pork producers are committed to the highest standards of quality, food safety, animal care, and environmental sustainability," says Fitzgerald. "Producers have demonstrated their on-going commitments through an animal care assessment program, continual improvements to its on-farm food safety program, an in depth biosecurity education program to safeguard pigs, and involvement, through the Canadian Pork Council, in the National Farm Animal Care Council's review of the Code of Practice for pigs."
Minimizing the burden and economic risk associated with any potential agenda for change is a key priority for Alberta Pork, he says.
"Pork producers are willing to adapt to changing market demands but they need to do so in a way that both protects the welfare of the animals and allows them to be sustainable. We look forward to working with all in the value chain to share in the investment required to meet the changing needs of Canadian consumers."
Watch for more on the ongoing developments with this story in future editions of NewStream Farm Animal Care.Pork producers are willing to adapt to changing market demands but they need to do so in a way that both protects the welfare of the animals and allows them to be sustainable." – Darcy Fitzgerald