Food Sovereignty and Livestock Production in Canada

When the Beyond Factory Farming Coalition was founded in 2002 we placed food sovereignty at the centre of our mission. The concept of food sovereignty provides an over-arching framework for understanding the multi-faceted social justice issues of food and agriculture. “Who controls food production”, “who benefits”, and “what is the meaning of food and farming in our society” are the central questions which food sovereignty addresses. Food sovereignty allows us to think about how trade policies, for example, affect what food is produced, how it is produced, who has access to it, and what are the social, cultural, health, and economic consequences of these policies.

Some of the key elements of the Nyeleni Declaration that Beyond Factory Farming supports include:

  • the ability of Canadians to determine our own livestock producing systems and policies that provide us with good quality, adequate, affordable, healthy and culturally appropriate meat, eggs, dairy and poultry;

  • that all people in Canada be able to live with dignity, earn a living wage for their labour and have the opportunity to live in their homes;

  • that food sovereignty be recognized in Canada as a basic human right, recognized and implemented by our communities, governments, and in international relationships;

  • to conserve and rehabilitate rural environments, fish stocks, landscapes, and food traditions in Canada based on ecologically sustainable management of land, soils, water, seas, seeds, livestock and other biodiversity;

  • genuine agricultural reform that includes the assurance of decent jobs with fair remuneration and labour rights for all, and a future for young people in the countryside;

  • revitalizing inter-dependence between producers and consumers, ensuring community survival, social and economic justice and ecological sustainability, and respect for local autonomy and governance with equal rights for women and men;

  • defending peoples’ power to make decisions about their material, natural and spiritual heritage;

  • the right of all peoples to defend their territories from the actions of transnational corporations.