Quebec-based pork producer, duBreton®, the #1 producer of Organic and Certified Humane Raised and Handled® pork, recently announced that it will raise 300,000 more crate-free pigs by 2018
Sept 29 – Humane Farm Animal Care® (HFAC), the leading international nonprofit certification program improving the lives of millions of farm animals in food production, announced this week that 300,000 more pigs will be raised, without gestation stalls or traditional farrowing crates.
DuBreton® was the first pork producer to apply for HFAC’s Certified Humane Raised and Handled® label in 2003. At the time, duBreton® had two separate farm operations: their natural pork and organic pork operations and their commodity pork operations. The commodity pork operations allowed gestation crates and farrowing stalls; their natural pork and organic pork operations did not. HFAC certifies “split operations” if farms are geographically separated from each other. The duBreton® natural pork and organic pork operations were geographically separated from the commodity pork operations and met 100% of HFAC’s Animal Care Standards, which in additional to numerous requirements, forbids the use of gestation stalls and farrowing crates.
“Allowing certification of split operations gives farmers a chance to see the impact of the Certified Humane® standards on the animals under their care and the economic effect of the Certified Humane® program on their business,” says Adele Douglass, executive director for HFAC. “Vincent Breton, the President of duBreton® pork made a commitment to me in 2003 that he would work towards eliminating gestation crates and farrowing crates from all of his operations. This announcement shows he’s a man of his word. This is exactly the kind of impact we hoped the Certified Humane® program would have on the future of farm animal welfare.”
HFAC’s mission is to end factory farming through consumer demand in the marketplace rather than through legislative approaches. After several years working on Capitol Hill, Douglass learned that social change often happens faster in the open market place. As a result of that epiphany, Douglass cashed in her retirement savings to launch the non-profit HFAC and create the Certified Humane Raised and Handled® program in the U.S. in 2003.
Farmers may have been slow to adopting more humane standards because humane farming costs more to do. But consumer demand for humanely-raised food products is showing farmers that transitioning to humane farming is worth the extra effort, both for their operations and the welfare of the animals.
“Compared to commodity or traditional farming practices, it costs us 50 per cent more to raise Certified Humane® pork and more than double to raise an organic pig,” says Vincent Breton, third-generation president of duBreton®. “The result is the highest quality pork possible, and as this translates into only a slight increase at retail, we believe it is well worth the cost to preserve the dignity and respect of the animals in our care. Obviously, consumers agree as demand is outpacing supply in many markets where we trade.”
DuBreton® is a family farming business and the only major size pork producer in North America to be verified Certified Humane Raised and Handled®, which promotes and encourages the highest standards of animal welfare. Douglass says no other major pork producer in Canada or the U.S. has been able to meet the Animal Care Standards as set forth by the Certified Humane® program.
HFAC conducts annual third-party inspections of farms in the Certified Humane® program to ensure their Animal Care Standards, developed by a 38-panel scientific committee, are being met. Since the HFAC program was unveiled in May 2003, more than 110 companies, representing thousands of farms and 96.7 million farm animals, have been Certified Humane® through the program.