Forces Impacting Animal Agriculture in Canada – A Synthesis
CAPI undertook a White Paper initiative to provide a better understanding of the effects of animal agriculture, from the broadest of perspectives, so that an audience involved in the policy dialogue – but not necessarily ensconced in animal agriculture – could identify and understand the essential strategic elements in a holistic manner, and so that a database and accompanying analyses could allow the industry to formulate proactive strategy more easily.
To facilitate this, CAPI developed an extensive framework based on the UN TEEB initiative (“The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity”). This framework was chosen because it had sufficient breadth and a balance sheet-type of structure that accounted for stocks and flows, as well as multiple dimensions through which to evaluate outcomes: environmental, human health, economic, and social. It allowed the capital stocks deployed in animal agriculture to connect with flows of outputs – farm products and wastes – which could then be organized into supply chain discussions.
This generated an extensive White Paper report, well over 150 pages in length. It involved a literature review, data analysis and visualization, and interpretation, leading to a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats). In so doing, the White Paper attempts to strike a balance between the granular detail of original research and specific mechanisms and relationships with high-level overview and strategic perspective.
The White Paper serves as the due diligence document from which this report is based. As such, this report draws from the White Paper, but it stands alone in its character, interpretation, conclusions, and thematic recommendations.
- Animal agriculture in Canada is a complex and interconnected system, and while there are differences, many challenges and opportunities are shared. Its value and impact cannot be measured with simple metrics and requires a comprehensive approach.
- Improving economic, environmental, and social sustainability across animal agriculture requires common solutions, including growth-oriented policies, investments in research and innovation and in transportation and infrastructure, and an enhanced data framework.
- Risks facing animal agriculture, such as disease, loss of grassland, markets, and extreme weather, are increasing and require greater focus and innovative policy solutions.
- Export-oriented and domestically focused value chains both have growth opportunities, but each faces unique barriers. A constructive, strategic dialogue is needed on how to unlock each value chain’s full potential.
- Canadian animal agriculture has among the lowest emissions intensities in the world. Policies that integrate sustainability, food security and growth can help meet climate targets and SDGs, and build Canada’s comparative advantage.
CAPI would like to thank Grand River Agricultural Society, UFA Co-operative, Dairy Farmers of Canada, Canadian Cattle Association, and the Livestock Research and Innovation Corporation for their financial support of this project.
CAPI also benefitted from the engagement of a steering committee, three rounds of consultations with a broader audience in the development of the accompanying white paper, and a focussed dialogue to discuss an earlier draft of this report.
Link to extensive white paper document to follow.