NewStream Farm Animal Care, Volume 2, Edition 15
WAP flexes its muscle
Posted: December 11, 2014
WAP flexes its muscle
The World Protection of Animals (WAP) continues to flex its muscle in the world of farm animal care.
Cheered by some, feared by others, WAP describes itself as a global non-governmental organization based in London, England with 14 worldwide offices, including Canada. It works in four main areas: farm animal care, animals in disasters, animals in communities and wildlife.
A layman's description might be they see themselves as a gentler form of social activism than some of their aggressive activist cousins. While some in agriculture compliment WAP for some solid work on animal care standards, others are suspicious of the ultimate motives of any organization with roots in activism.
Action by the organization in recent weeks on the WAP will feed both sides of that debate.
BRF 'partnership' targets crates
First, WAP has announced a global partnership on animal welfare improvements with BRF, Brazil's largest pig producer, that includes a shift to group housing of sows and a move away from crate-based housing.
It's a significant development since BRF is one of the world's largest global agro-food companies, seventh in size globally by market valuation according to the WAP release. It goes on to say the approach will involve WAP and BRF building a joint, comprehensive work plan for the transition to group housing for pig production across the BRF production chain. In what seems to be a typical approach, WAP will provide technical assistance and monitor progress.
Canada in focus
Second, and specific to Canada, WAP released a report it produced, a "global index" assessing over 50 countries, that says Canada is lagging well behind other countries in implementing legislation to protect animals.
In language that is sure to rankle this country's agricultural industry, WAP says that while there is an active animal protection movement in Canada and that animal welfare is high on the public, consumer and industry agenda, these drivers are not necessarily reflected in legislation. Also, it says that while Canadian consumers are paying attention to where their food comes from, Canada ranks poorly for indicators related to protecting farm animals.
A major target of the WAP report was transport. WAP says Canada allows farm animals "to be kept in transit, for up to 52 hours for cows and 36 hours for pigs, without water, food or rest."
WAP is calling on all governments to immediately improve their animal welfare standards and factor these issues into current, critical debates.
More information on these initiatives is available on the WAP website.