As an industry leader, we are committed to supporting the humane treatment of animals and to working only with producers and suppliers that meet the highest standards of animal welfare throughout the life cycle. Recipe Unlimited Corporation is not directly involved in the farming, slaughtering or transporting of animals but, through our suppliers, we endeavour to achieve the globally recognized ‘Five Freedoms’ of animal welfare that was adopted by the Farm Animal Welfare Council as a core concept at Humane Canada (The Canadian Federation of Humane Societies).
Freedom from Hunger and Thirst by ready access to fresh water and a diet to maintain full health and vigour.
Freedom from Discomfort by providing an appropriate environment, including shelter and a comfortable resting area.
Freedom from Pain, Injury or Disease by prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment.
Freedom to Express Normal Behaviour by providing sufficient space, proper facilities and company of the animal’s own kind.
Freedom from Fear and Distress by ensuring conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering.
To achieve these goals, we work closely with organizations that inform, develop and manage broiler chicken welfare standards of operation across Canada, including the National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC) and Chicken Farmers of Canada (CFC).
Recipe Unlimited purchases from approximately 1,300 chicken farmers throughout Canada; roughly half of the industry. As such, we look to our suppliers to ensure they abide by government and industry guidelines outlined below.
Hormone and Steroid Free
Broiler chickens raised in Canada live in an open barn environment without the use of hormones or steroids.
Canadian chicken farmers are mandated to follow the standards for broiler chicken welfare strictly defined in Chicken Farmers of Canada’s (CFC) Animal Care Program. CFC’s Animal Care Program is built on the Canadian Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Hatching Eggs, Breeders, Chickens and Turkeys. NFACC is an essential lead organization within Canada’s animal welfare system.
Annual Independent Third Party Audit
Canadian chicken farmers are audited annually and held to the same high standard to support the effective and consistent implementation of the Animal Care Program. CFC’s Animal Care Program also undergoes an annual 3rd party audit by trained third-party auditors certified to Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization (PAACO) standards. This third party audit covers implementation of the program on-farm, auditor consistency and the management of the system at both the provincial and national levels.
The stocking density standard for chickens in Canada, based on the national Code for poultry welfare, is amongst the lowest in the world. It dictates that density must not normally exceed 31 kg/m2, lower than requirements in the United States, Australia and European Union. This provides chickens ample room to roam and express normal behaviours.
Cleanliness and Air Quality
Litter - CFC’s mandatory On-Farm Food Safety Assurance Program requires that chicken barns are fully cleaned after each flock and fresh bedding is placed into the barns. This requirement exceeds those in other countries, and the cleaning and fresh bedding cycle helps to limit ammonia build up in barns, providing better air quality for the flock. Bedding helps to provide opportunities for birds to express normal behaviours (e.g. scratching, foraging and dust bathing).
Air Quality - The national Code for poultry welfare requires that corrective action be taken if ammonia levels reach between 20-25 ppm. Barns are highly automated to control the environment in the barn. Air quality, temperature, and humidity are strictly monitored and controlled.
Lighting is an important management tool that farmers utilize to ensure optimum health and welfare. Birds need darkness for melatonin production, skin regeneration, and sleep. The national Code for poultry welfare stipulates that chickens should be given a minimum of four hours of continuous darkness with a recommendation of six hours.
Recipe requires suppliers to ensure the safe handling of live birds. All of our suppliers’ catching crews must sign an employee code of conduct and receive training in the safe handling of birds. This training will take place at a minimum of once per year and all new employees must complete training before working in the field. These standards and procedures will be audited at least twice a year. Any abuses will not be tolerated and violators should be prosecuted.
Working in partnership with chicken farmers and suppliers, we promote practices that meet or exceed the current standards. We have committed to the following:
Cage-free Eggs -- In 2016, a number of Recipe brands committed to using only 100 percent cage-free eggs, with all brands transitioning by 2020.
Controlled Atmosphere Stunning -- By 2022 we expect the majority of our suppliers to have converted to this humane method, with all suppliers converted by 2024.
Recipe does not tolerate animal cruelty within our supply chain and will continuously correct or take action against any partners or suppliers who do not follow the letter or spirit of our commonly held rules.
For more information about chicken farming, visit www.chickenfarmers.ca