Maple Leaf Foods recently announced that Stephanie Cottee has joined the company in the new position of Leader, Animal Wellness effective Aug. 11. Cottee will be responsible for leading the establishment of an integrated and comprehensive animal wellness program that crosses the company’s pork and poultry operations and interface with its suppliers and other stakeholders. This will encompass all areas that affect the health and welfare of animals including nutrition, medication, housing, transportation and processing. Cottee will work closely with management, operations and animal care experts to realize this mandate.

“As Canada’s largest meat company, we have a duty to continually advance the humane and ethical treatment of animals within our care,” says Lynda Kuhn, SVP Sustainability and Public Affairs. “This requires staying close to emerging science, processes and technologies that advance both our knowledge and capacity, and that of our industry partners, to raise, transport and process animals in a manner that optimizes good health and protects their welfare.”

Most recently, Cottee was Provincial Programs Advisor at Ontario Pork, where she managed the Canadian Quality Assurance and Animal Care Assessment program. In this capacity she acted as the primary liaison between key pork industry stakeholders to develop, implement and improve swine production programs and animal welfare practices in Ontario. She was also instrumental in implementing a nation-wide swine traceability program. Prior to her role with Ontario Pork, Cottee worked for the Chicken Farmers of Ontario, where she supported a range of projects including on-farm biosecurity, health and safety and traceability.

Cottee has a doctorate in Farm Animal Behaviour and Welfare and a Master of Science in Farm Animal Behaviour and Welfare from the University of Guelph. She was a sessional professor for the University's Animal Behaviour and Welfare program.

Maple Leaf Foods is Canada’s leading consumer packaged meats company, headquartered in Toronto, Ontario. The company employs approximately 11,500 people in its operations across Canada and exports to more than 20 global markets including the United States and Asia.