The Canadian Organic Standards outline minimum animal welfare expectations for Certified Organic farmers. The standards were updated in 2015 and there were many improvements, most notably:
- The use of crates for housing/restraining pregnant pigs who are giving birth are now prohibited
- A ban on tying dairy cows to stalls, effective within 5 years’ time (by 2020)
- Older “minimum ages” at which lambs, calves, and kits (i.e. baby rabbits) can be weaned from their mother
- Annual water testing requirements to ensure safe drinking water supplies for farm animals
- Chickens must be fed at least once daily rather than every other day
- Farmers are required to document animal welfare issues and create a plan to fix them should such issues arise
In September 2018, the next revision process got underway, with completion of the next Organic Standard anticipated to occur in November 2020. Learn how the BC SPCA is involved in the revision process. To review the current (2015) organic standard and propose a specific revision for the committees to consider, visit the Organic Agriculture web page.
The BC SPCA supports the mission of the organic farming industry and will continue to collaborate with organic associations across Canada on improving farm animal welfare in organic production systems.
The BC SPCA also operates its own in-house farm certification and food labelling program, SPCA Certified, with the aim of further improving animal welfare on farms. The SPCA Certified and organic certification programs are complementary. Learn how they compare (PDF).