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<ul><li>a)1. According to HFAC, in a single level house, a minimum of 1.5 sq. ft. (1350cm2) per hen must be allocated. For...
Certified Organic Vs Certified Humane
Certified Organic Vs Certified Humane
Certified Organic Vs Certified Humane
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Certified Organic Vs Certified Humane

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HFAC v/s CERTIFIED ORGANIC

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Certified Organic Vs Certified Humane

  1. 1. <ul><li>a)1. According to HFAC, in a single level house, a minimum of 1.5 sq. ft. (1350cm2) per hen must be allocated. For pullets up to 18 weeks, the space requirement is only 929 cm2. Litter material and perches are compulsory. A plan of the house must be available at the entry point, indicating the total floor area available, space allowances and maximum number of birds permitted within the house. Records must be kept to easily verify the space allowance. The COABC stipulates that there should be a provision of space in the tune of 6 birds per m2 area which is 1333 cm2 per bird. Assuming that in this case, the farmer has a single level house, the provision for space is sufficient for pullets below 18 weeks of age, though it is slightly less for the older hens in comparison with the HFAC guidelines. </li></ul>2. The COABC guidelines do not specify details about nest boxes. HFAC says that individual nest boxes must be provided (not less than one per 5 hens) and they should have a floor substrate which encourages nesting behaviour. These nests should be enclosed and relatively darker. The farmer provides individual nest boxes, but the proportion is not mentioned. Therefore in this case, there is the need to verify whether the number of nest boxes is adequate or not and also whether the nest boxes have a substrate. So the farmer cannot be assumed to satisfy the requirements of this criterion.<br />3. According to the COABC, poultry should be provided with natural light as per the requirements of production. There are no specifications on the hours of light and darkness. The HFAC stipulates that hen houses must provide a minimum of 8 hours of continuous artificial light and/or daylight; and a minimum period of 6 hours of continuous darkness every day. Lighting patterns in all houses must be recorded and records must be made available. Daytime lighting levels must allow birds to be seen and inspected without difficulty. Patches of artificial or natural high intensity light should be avoided within a house. Reduction of light levels to prevent cannibalism must only be used as a last resort. They also recommend that changes in light hours should be done in a gradual manner. The farmer cannot be assumed to satisfy this criterion.<br />4. According to the COABC, poultry shall be reared in open range conditions and should have access to open air when weather permits. The use of grassy runs should be sufficient. The maximum density for outside spaces is 4 chickens per square metre. Pasture shall have a shaded area, protection against inclement weather, as well as a source of fresh water. The HFAC standards do not require that hens have access to range. When the birds are housed primarily indoors, with outdoor access provided for a period during the day, the perimeter of the range should be within 400 yards of the house. So in this case, there is the need to verify only the spatial data with respect to the outdoor area.<br />5. According to the HFAC standards, ammonia concentration at bird height should be less than 10 ppm and must not exceed 25 ppm except during brief periods. Ammonia concentrations at bird levels should be recorded at least once every two weeks and these records made available to Humane Farm Animal Care during inspection and at other times, upon request. According to the COABC, there are no such standards specified. The farmer cannot be assumed to satisfy this criterion. <br />6. COABC prohibits physical alterations except when absolutely necessary. Beak trimming and de-toeing of birds are to be performed at an early age in a manner that minimizes pain and stress. Operators shall document the measures taken to control or eliminate the behaviour. Farmers shall obtain prior permission for this, from the certification body. According to HFAC, debeaking is not permitted. Similar to COABC, beaks may be trimmed at 10 days of age or younger, done by trained personnel, but using approved machines. Only the tip of the upper mandible may be removed, without inhibiting feeding, ground pecking or preening. The lower mandible may be “stopped” without any beak being removed. Toe clipping is not permitted. So the farmer would conform to this criterion only if the birds have not been toe clipped. <br />b) A notice containing a checklist of the key points relating to welfare must be available at, or near, the entrance to each building in which birds are housed, and be amended accordingly. All data should be recorded and made available during inspection. Space allocation must be verified and done with respect to their age. There should be periodic monitoring of the ammonia levels in the poultry house. Lighting requirements need to be implemented and the pattern should be recorded. Nest boxes should be provided (1 per five hens) with suitable substrate. Perches need to be provided. Toe clipping cannot be permitted. The managers and caretakers need to be trained to comply with the HFAC specifications. Hens have to be inspected twice daily, for signs of sickness or abnormalities.<br />c) Humane Farm Animal Care (HFAC) attempts to improve the lives of farm animals through scientifically proved (based on the values of Five Freedoms) standards for feeding, housing management, health, and transport of animals. It ensures the consumers that the food they eat is humanely produced. It’s a non-profit organisation, providing a voluntary, third-party certification process (user-fee based) to producers, processors, and transporters and even hotels to avoid cruelty to animals. The mandates include “access to fresh water and feed without undue competition, protection from physical and environmental discomfort, fear and distress, ability to perform natural behaviour, and considerate handling, transport and slaughter, designed to avoid unnecessary distress”. There are species specific guidelines and farmers must also comply with local, state or federal mandates as well as the Veterinary Practices Acts. This is an annual certification program. The farm site is inspected frequently and this entails all the stages of growth of the animal. This system mandates employing managers and caretakers who are thoroughly trained, skilled and competent in the husbandry, health and well being of animals. Emergency action plan and animal health plans are to be devised; implemented, updated and required data are recorded appropriately. In addition, records on complaint redressal, production, disease, death and culling need to be maintained. Standard feeds, nutrients, necessary prophylaxis and medications are to be made available. All steps may be taken to ensure the health and welfare of the animals.<br />The Certified Organic Associations of British Columbia is an umbrella organization, representing provincial organic certifying agencies. This falls under the “Organic Agricultural Products Certification Regulation” of the Agri-food Choice and Quality Act and was established in collaboration with the BC Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries. Organic certification is designed to assure consumers that the food they eat (both plant and animal origin) has been produced in a healthy and sustainable way, by avoiding the use of synthetic additives, antibiotics and pesticides and is safe to eat. It presents an alternative to the industrialized agro-food system. It is a holistic system designed to optimize the productivity of animals by providing living conditions appropriate for their behavioural requirements and organically produced feed, supplemented with greens. These practices strive to minimize stress, promote good health and prevent diseases. Only natural substances are used to fight pests and diseases. Organic system plan intends to “nurture living, biological diversity, ecological harmony using sustainable practices and renewable resources including healthy animals and natural livestock socialization”. Primarily intended for environmental protection and human health, they are not specific to individual animal species and don't address several important animal husbandry practices. However, Certified Organic standards do advocate animal welfare when they require that all animals have access to the outdoors, natural sunlight, fresh air and freedom of movement. To be considered for certification, farmers must have kept their operations chemical-free for three years and continue to do so. A certified operation must update its organic system plan and be inspected annually. All inputs used in organic production such as feed, pesticides, vaccinations, veterinary treatments, aids, sanitizing and cleaning materials shall only be those approved by the appropriate government regulatory agency.<br />

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