Meristem Land and Science: Driving Progress in Sustainability

NewStream Farm Animal Care, Volume 1, Edition 12

Tim Hortons tackles animal housing

June 10, 2013

A look inside the changes and what they mean for Canadian livestock

There's no question Tim Hortons Inc. has taken a bold step by setting specific, aggressive targets to work with its industry partners and suppliers to transition to new sow and hen housing systems.

It's a game changer for Canadian pork and egg producers – one that sets a new bar on farm animal care demands and raises a wave of questions and challenges on the logistical and practical hurdles ahead.

But the move is one the iconic company makes confidently as it takes charge of the issue amid a quickly evolving new world of expectations for restaurant chains and other food retailers, says Tim Faveri, Director of Sustainability & Responsibility.

Consumer trends, big chains driving changes

"We know our guests are showing a much greater interest in their food - not only where it comes from but what's in it," says Faveri. "That's part of a more recent trend in Canada and North America that has been ongoing in Europe for decades."

There are many components to this interest, whether specifically related to food or other aspects of sustainability such as product life cycles or supply chains, he says. "Now it's also animal welfare. It has been fascinating in recent years to see just how quickly animal welfare has really come to the forefront."

Click here to read the complete feature article.

Q&A: Brewing up a fresh approach

June 10, 2013

Tim Faveri, Director, Sustainability & Responsibility, with Tim Hortons

Tim Hortons is the undisputed king of home grown quick service restaurant chains in Canada. As a result it's a big, public target of the unprecedented, ever-rising demands corporations face today for transparency and commitment on a number of social and environmental issues.

Tim Faveri, Director of Sustainability and Responsibility at Tim Hortons, is on the front line of helping the company balance those demands with the complex realities of ensuring a reliable supply chain and competitive business model.

Farm animal welfare is becoming one of the high profile issues he needs to support, right up there with other sustainability issues such as ethical sourcing, environment and energy.

He provides further insight on the company's recent commitments and why he believes the livestock production sector in Canada has a leg up compared to the U.S.

Q: What has been going on behind the scenes to prepare for the commitments Tim Hortons has made on animal housing?


We've been engaging with our supply chain specifically on animal welfare to understand the issues, to look at opportunities and risks and challenges, and to really learn from the experts. It has been very important to us that all the players in the supply chain, including of course farmers as a main component, participate in the dialogue and provide input to the strategies we develop.

Click here to read the complete feature article.

Research watch: Helping producers adapt to change

June 10, 2013

Farm animal care is a prime example of an area where innovative knowledge transfer approaches can benefit producers

Dr. Derek Haley, University of Guelph

What motivates farmers to make changes that improve the care and welfare of their animals?

This is question researchers are approaching in innovative ways as part of a new effort to support practice change around the development of an Animal Care Assessment program for the dairy sector.

"We're trying to bridge the gap between the researcher and the farmer," explains Dr. Derek Haley of the University of Guelph. "The science community tends to provide information to farmers in traditional ways. But by looking closer at what motivates farmers, we hope to find better ways of packaging and delivering our research information."

Farm animal care is a great starting point to examine this question, he says. "It's an area where farmer uptake is especially important in the next several years. Industry is in the process of adopting updated Codes of Practice. Farmers face higher expectations to be up to date in their practices because of the higher profile of the animal welfare issue."

Click here to read the full story.

Drivers of Care: Dr. Karen Schwartzkopf-Genswein (Part 2 of 2)

June 10, 2013

Insights on transport and new opportunities

Dr. Karen Schwartzkopf-Genswein receives an award for animal care from Greg Bowie of Alberta Beef Producers

NewStream Farm Animal Care visited with Dr. Karen Schwartzkopf-Genswein of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) to gather perspective on what's shaping the world of livestock welfare research today. Here are some highlights of the discussion (Part 2 of 2).

Missed part 1? View it here.

The future of CLT. Schwartzkopf-Genswein was one of the original committee members that started the Certified Livestock Transport program, which is now the Canadian Livestock Transport (CLT) Certification program. The program is in a transition phase as it sets up a sustainable model. She believes it has strong value and is an example of the type of program industry can support to truly drive high standards and processes for animal welfare. "Our transport conditions in Canada are different than any other place in the world and we need our own standards," says Schwartzkopf-Genswein. "CLT is a great example of taking what we know and using it in a focused way for education and standards. We know transport is a big area for welfare and we can gain a lot by being leaders not only in knowledge but in our on-the-ground approaches."

Click here to read the full story.


June 10, 2013

Quick takes on key activity and what's coming, from NewStream editors

Stampede innovations boost rider, animal safety

New rodeo steel chutes and gates have been installed to boost rider and animal safety at the Calgary Stampede.

"We're committed to providing the best and safest equipment for all of our athletes, whether they're animals or humans," says Keith Marrington, Director, Rodeo and Chuckwagons, Calgary Stampede. "It was time to replace the Stampede's old bucking chutes and technology has advanced to a point where we are able to provide our cowboys and animals with the finest equipment out there."

The move is part of an ongoing process to use technology and science to continually increase animal and cowboy safety in the century old tradition of cowboy sports, he says.

Features of the new rodeo chutes include:

  • 4-inch spacing between gate bars, reducing or completely eliminating the risk of getting legs and hooves through the bars and stuck in the gates.
  • Customized 6' 6" tall gates that will significantly reduce the risk of horses and bulls going over the top of the gates.
  • Bucking chute safety pads behind the on the roll gates will offer enhanced safety for the cowboys in the chute.

Paul Rosenberg provided more information on the overall Calgary Stampede farm animal care approaches in this NewStream Farm Animal Care feature.

Draft pig Code released for public comment

There has been a lot of debate in the Canadian pork sector on a range of issues related to animal care - sow gestation stalls, space allowance and pain mitigation to name just a few. Now the draft Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Pigs is out of the gate. The public comment period started June 1 and wraps up August 1. Now's the time for pork producers and others involved in the sector to review the document and have their say before the Code is finalized.

"The Code Development Committee has worked hard since 2010 developing the draft Code. The public comment period will allow us to check our work with a broader representative group," said Florian Possberg, pork producer and Chair of the Code Development Committee. "We have had to tackle several difficult issues in writing this Code. Since it will fall primarily to producers to implement the Code, it is important for producers to review the draft Code and to respond with informed, rational, and constructive input."

The draft Code and the public comment system will be available at www.nfacc.ca/codes-of-practice/pigs.

Note: Final Farmed Fox Code also released. Now finalized and available for use is the new Farmed Fox Code. "As a veterinarian I am pleased with the new Code," says Dr. Gord Finley, Canadian Veterinary Medical Association representative on the Code Committee. "I believe it represents a major step forward in meeting our expectations for the care of farmed fox."

Watch for continued updates on all Code of Practice activity in future editions of NewStream Farm Animal Care.




McDonald's Verified Sustainable Beef Pilot final report available

How to load, how to lead

New progress on animal care codes of practice

Headwaters: Snapshots of new developments

Posted: June 2, 2016

Building trust through transportation technology

Can genomics revolutionize animal health?

New knowledge for an animal care-driven world

Headwaters: Snapshots of new developments

Posted: March 17, 2016

Top 10 popular stories of the past year

Headwaters: Snapshots of new developments

Posted: January 21, 2016

Soil Health rises on the sustainability landscape

Data: The big opportunity for beef improvement

Insights from Dr. David Fraser

Headwaters: Snapshots of new developments

Posted: December 18, 2015

Agriculture steps up its game in crisis preparedness

Crisis preparedness 101: Rapid fire tips

Taking the Longview

New Code nears the finish line

Headwaters: Snapshots of new developments

Posted: November 26, 2015

'Care' crosses over

Four to watch

What beef producers are asking about VBP+

Rubber hits the road on new Code

Headwaters: Snapshots of new developments

Posted: September 24, 2015

The new world of 'sustainable beef'

Inside the grocery game

Stampede through different lenses

Headwaters: Snapshots of new developments

Posted: July 16, 2015

Walmart makes waves

Tipping points, trends and the FDA mindset

Tipping points, trends and the FDA mindset

Young dairy farmers talk welfare

Headwaters: Snapshots of new developments

Posted: June 4, 2015

New frontiers take shape in farm animal care

The next big challenge: Professionalizing animal agriculture

Buzzworthy: Three main "take home" messages

Views from the frontlines

#KeepingItReal: Building bridges in 140 or less

Heart of a farmer

Headwaters: Snapshots of new developments

Posted: April 2, 2015

The fallout from California's 'Prop 2'

Drivers of care: Building a winner

New Codes work underway

A&W marches ahead with new chicken focus

Global view: The politics of hidden videos

Headwaters: Snapshots of new developments

Posted: March 12, 2015

Banff Pork Seminar digs deeper on welfare issue

Trust factor rises as lynchpin to swine industry future

Welfare won't derail positive pork outlook

More from Banff

Headwaters: Snapshots of new developments

Posted: January 29, 2015