UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Sustainability in the Canadian Egg Industry—Learning from the Past, Navigating the Present, Planning for the Future Pelletier, Nathan; Doyon, Maurice; Muirhead, Bruce; Widowski, Tina; Nurse-Gupta, Jodey; Hunniford, Michelle


Like other livestock sectors, the Canadian egg industry has evolved substantially over time and will likely experience similarly significant change looking forward, with many of these changes determining the sustainability implications of and for the industry. Influencing factors include: technological and management changes at farm level and along the value chain resulting in greater production efficiencies and improved life cycle resource efficiency and environmental performance; a changing policy/regulatory environment; and shifts in societal expectations and associated market dynamics, including increased attention to animal welfare outcomes—especially in regard to changes in housing systems for laying hens. In the face of this change, effective decision-making is needed to ensure the sustainability of the Canadian egg industry. Attention both to lessons from the past and to the emerging challenges that will shape its future is required and multi- and interdisciplinary perspectives are needed to understand synergies and potential trade-offs between alternative courses of action across multiple aspects of sustainability. Here, we consider the past, present and potential futures for this industry through the lenses of environmental, institutional (i.e., regulatory), and socio-economic sustainability, with an emphasis on animal welfare as an important emergent social consideration. Our analysis identifies preferred pathways, potential pitfalls, and outstanding cross-disciplinary research questions.

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