Friday, October 25, 2013

Animal Abuse: Prevent & Detect

The #EggMafia have lost their way.

How else can we describe what has happened in the alleged abuse of chicks and layer hens at two farms in Alberta.  See our previous Blog post for details on this tragedy.

Not so fast, says Egg Farmers of Alberta, and Egg Farmers of Canada.  Their Egg Farmers of Canada website, says:
"Egg farmers’ number one priority has always been the health and well-being of their laying hens."
 I'm sure the birds appreciate the words, if not the actions by Egg Farmers of Canada ("EFC") and the  farmer in Alberta who is an alleged animal abusers to back up the words.

Since the birds are #1 priority, does that mean us humans, and the delivery of safe, fresh, nutritious eggs to us paying customers is #2 priority?  That of course, is an assumption on my part.

What Egg Farmers of Canada do say is:
Canada’s egg farmers place a high premium on safeguarding Canada’s food supply and are always striving for continuous improvement in their farming practices. Dedicated to Quality, our corporate tagline, is our ongoing guarantee to Canadians to ensure that our eggs are among the best in the world on the basis of quality, freshness and safety.
So us human customers should feel safe and trust the egg farmers because those egg farmers "place a high premium" on food safety.  I don't exactly know what that is supposed to mean.  It's seems like some marketing guru dreamed it up for them, akin to George Orwell's Newspeak in his book 1984.  Useless generalities, if not outright propaganda.

EFC's website   says EFC's Food Quality & Safety program includes:

"Inspecting all regulated egg farmers annually. Farmers are assessed by inspectors trained by EFC against key critical control points."
I have some questions for EFC:
  1. What were the dates of those EFC inspections for the two Alberta farms that were recently alleged to have had animal abuse for their chicks and/or layers?
  2. Can EFC provide me with copies of these audit reports?  If not, why not?  If no copies of the audit reports will be provided, can you provide the audit scores, or number of non-compliances found, or number of non-recommended practices found, or number of recommendations made?  If not, why not?

  3. Did the scope of these annual EFC inspections include animal welfare issues?  If not, why not?
  4. Did EFC or a third party ever audit these farms for animal welfare issues as part of that audit?  If yes, what was the date of those audits for these two farms?
  5. What is the EFC mandated attitude, training, education, skills, and prior experience of the EFC's inspectors that qualifies them to do these inspections?
  6. Can you supply me with a copy of these documented requirements for EFC's Inspectors?  If not, why not?
  7. Can EFC supply me with substantial objective evidence that clearly shows these EFC inspectors who did these 2 farms were qualified to do so?  If not, why not?
  8. Can EFC supply me with substantial objective evidence that clearly shows that all non-compliances or recommended improvements were promptly implemented by these two farms, and these corrective actions were subsequently re-inspected by an independent inspector and found to be 100% complete, consistently applied, and effective?  If not, why not?
I have sent an email to Alison Hebbs, Manager of Corporate and Public Affairs for Egg Farmers of Canada, with all of these questions.

There are 16 Board Members and 7 staff at EFC; none of whom have contact information published on EFC's website, and so hide behind Ms Alison Hebbs, who is the only person I can find at EFC who has contact phone # and email address.  Is this the best EFC can do for open, transparent, and accountable?

I'm sure Alison and her staff are busy people these days.  We'll have to wait to see what they say.

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