March 28, 2014 - On March 18, 2014, the annual general meeting of the Pullet Growers of Canada (PGC) held their elections, gave an update on their quest for Agency status and introduced a draft of Canada's first Animal Care Policy for Pullets.
The PGC leadership was unchanged with the re-election of Andy DeWeerd (Ont.) as Chair, Carl Bouchard (Que.) as Central Director and Vice-Chair, Cal Dirks (Man.) as Western Director and Treasurer and Marc Ouellet (N.B.) as Eastern Director and Secretary. Jeff Clarke (N.S.) was later elected to the Production Management Committee of Egg Farmers of Canada as the pullet producer representative.
PGC is currently awaiting a decision by the Farm Products Council of Canada and the Minister of Agriculture as to whether PGC will be recommended for Part 2 Agency status, which would bring them under supply management. If the application is successful, it will give PGC the required legal powers to represent and make decisions on behalf of member provincial pullet grower organizations on issues related to cost of production, disease control, HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points) programs and animal welfare, among other issues facing the industry. Stable pricing under supply management will allow pullet growers to reinvest in their farms and address social and environmental responsibilities to the standards expected by Canadians with consistent national programs.
"The time is right and PGC is fully prepared to lead Canadian pullet growers into a future that is fair and sustainable for all involved," said DeWeerd. "The status quo simply doesn't work any more."
In the coming year PGC will lead industry consultations to establish strong, measured and transparent animal care standards through the development of a national Animal Care Policy for Pullets that encompasses the full range of care, welfare, handling and transportations needs of the pullet life cycle from a one-day old chick through to 19 weeks. The policy reflects the values and commitment that Canadian pullet growers have to the animals in their care and to industry excellence.
"Developing an Animal Care Policy for Pullets is an important initiative for PGC," said DeWeerd. "Canadians expect their food to be grown in a responsible manner - and so do we as producers. This policy is going to help ensure we are all on the same page - from farm workers through to consumers."
PGC will also continue consultations with the National Farm Animal Care Council in reviewing the Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Pullets, Layers and Spent Fowl, ensuring greater specificity to the needs of pullets.