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Animal Welfare Strategic
Animal Welfare Task Force of the Expert Committee on Organic
Mandate of the
Animal Welfare Task Force
"To research and identify ways to improve animal care on
Introducing the Animal Welfare Task Force
By Anne Macey
Are organic standards strong enough when it comes to animal welfare?
This topic is being discussed more and more often these days. Are organic
producers doing all they can to ensure the highest welfare standards
on their farms, or are they just meeting the letter of the law? Are
the principles of organic livestock husbandry reflected in the actual
practices in the barn, or are economic constraints serious impediments
when it comes to providing the animals with the care organic consumers
Towards the end of 2005, Ralph Martin of the Organic Agriculture Centre
of Canada (OACC) assembled a group of individuals interested in the
relationship between animal welfare and organic agriculture. This group
calls itself the Animal Welfare Task Force and was adopted as a sub
committee of the Expert Committee on Organic Agriculture (ECOA).
We’ve spent the last year talking about how to make organic standards
stronger with respect to welfare issues and how to make information
from the research community more accessible to organic farmers.
We are currently working on recommendations for the interpretation
of some of the general non-prescriptive statements in the livestock
section of new National Organic Standard. We intend to send these recommendations
to the technical committee of the CGSB for future consideration for
a guidance document or standard revision.
The Farm Animal Welfare section of the
OACC's website will serve as the central location for welfare-related
information for producers, certifying bodies, extension specialists
and researchers. Progress reports and other specific reports and factsheets
produced by the Task Force will be available on this website as they
Members of the Animal Welfare Task Force
- Lawrence Andres (producer) - A pioneer of organic
milk production in Canada who now has his own company Harmony Organic
- François Labelle (extension specialist) - Organic Dairy Production Expert, Valacta.
- Anne Macey (inspector) – An organic inspector,
editor/writer of COG’s Organic Livestock Handbook and retired
- Anne Malleau (researcher) - The Executive Director
of the Animal Compassion Foundation, an organization started by Whole
Foods Market. The foundation serves as a hub for ranchers, meat producers and researchers
to learn and share practices and methodologies that support the animals'
physical needs, behaviours and well-being by incorporating wisdom from
the past, enhanced by present and future innovations.
- Danielle Brault (extension specialist) - Agronome
- Terri Giacomazzi (extension specialist) - the Industry
Advisor on Organic Livestock and Animal Care with the British Columbia
Ministry of Agriculture and Lands
- Derek Haley (instructor) - Assistant Professor of Applied Ethology and Animal Welfare and Associate Faculty with the Campbell Centre for the Study of Animal Welfare, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph.
- Dr. Hubert Karreman, is a widely known holistic practitioner
and author and has just completed writing the US NOSB animal welfare
papers for the regulations and guidance.
- Sandy Lowndes (producer) – A beef producer
who has worked as an organic livestock development specialist with Saskatchewan
Agriculture and Food.
- Ralph Martin (researcher) – founding director
of the Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada
- Jane Morrigan (instructor) - website coordinator
at OACC with an MSc in animal behaviour and 16 years of experience as
dairy farmer in Nova Scotia; teaches Animal Welfare at the Dalhousie Agricultural Campus.
- Nina von Keyserlingk (researcher/instructor) - assistant
Professor with the Animal Welfare Program at the University of British
Columbia; with research interests in dairy and beef cattle.
- Jeff Rushen and Anne Marie de Passillé, (researchers)
- research scientists at the Pacific Agri-Food Research Centre in Agassiz.
Current research projects include developing measures of cow comfort
to help design environments to eliminate long term stress and improve
the health and welfare of dairy cattle, calf feeding management, improved
methods (including automated methods) of detecting lameness in dairy
cows, behavioural changes associated with illness in calves, methods
of calf rearing, effects of flooring on cattle locomotion and welfare
implications of automated milking systems.
- Joe Stookey (researcher/instructor) Assistant Professor,
University of Saskatchewan
Posted November 2007