Raising healthy birds humanely is as important to BC’s chicken farmers as it is to those who purchase from our family farms – after all, farmers are consumers, too.
Last June 2017, the British Columbia Chicken Marketing Board (BCCMB) convened a committee of processors, catching contractors, growers, BCCMB staff and board members to ensure broiler chickens in BC are handled humanely through the entire process from hatching to catching. In September 2017, the BCCMB implemented two recommendations of the committee: to create a new auditing report and license catching companies and contractors.
New “Load Out” Report
As of October 1, 2017, broiler chicken catchers in BC are required to complete a new “Load Out” report during the catching process, which the grower signs when complete. BCCMB staff review the load out reports daily and follow up on any missing information or other issues requiring their attention. In addition, BCCMB field inspection staff now conduct spot audits of the catching and loading process.
Mandatory Licensing of Catchers
Effective, January 1, 2018, all catching companies and contractors are required to get a license to operate from BCCMB.
Penalties for noncompliance are dealt with under Part 52 Failure to Comply of the BCCMB General Orders, which provides for a range of sanctions available to the Board.
Animal Care Program
As for the time that the chickens are raised in our barns, our farmers follow a stringent Animal Care Program. This mandatory, enforced, and third-party-audited program has a credible, science-based foundation. It is based on the Code of Practice developed by the National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC). NFACC is a world leader in bringing together stakeholders with different perspectives – farmers, veterinarians, processors, transporters, animal welfare associations, researchers, and provincial/federal governments – to develop robust and sound Codes of Practice.
NFACC’s Code Development process involves a full scientific review which is used to draft the Code that then undergoes a public consultation process. In this way, all Canadians have an opportunity to contribute to the final Code. The NFACC process is a standard that is internationally recognized and applauded.
The Animal Care Program is verified through a comprehensive third-party audit by NSF International, an internationally-recognized, third-party certification body, accredited by the American National Standards Institute to ISO 17065.
“The British Columbia Chicken Marketing Board works closely with our partners to ensure that stringent regulations related to the care and handling of our birds are met and followed; we have the highest standards in Canada.” states Robin Smith, Chair of the BCCMB. “After all, it is in the best interest of all industry members to see that all broiler chickens are cared for in the best way possible.”