Maple Leaf Foods has demonstrated a commitment toward the health of its animals with the creation of an animal wellness leader position. Dr. Stephanie Cottee will join the company in this capacity to establish an integrated and comprehensive animal wellness program that crosses the company’s pork and poultry operations and interface with its suppliers and other stakeholders.

The animal wellness program will encompass all areas that affect health, including nutrition, medication, housing, transportation and processing. Cottee will work closely with the company’s management, operations and animal care experts to assure the program is operating well.

"As Canada's largest meat company, we have a duty to continually advance the humane and ethical treatment of animals within our care," said Lynda Kuhn, senior vice president of sustainability and public affairs, Maple Leaf Foods. “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. Dr. Cottee's deep experience across the scientific, academic and applied areas of animal wellness will be vital in implementing a strong program that distinguishes Maple Leaf in this vital area of corporate responsibility."

Cottee brings significant academic and applied experience in animal behavior, research and welfare. Most recently, she held the position of provincial programs advisor - 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. She has also worked as a research writer to support the development of two codes of practice for the National Farm Animal Care Council.

Cottee has a PhD in farm animal behavior and welfare and a master of science in farm animal behavior and welfare from the

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University of Guelph. She was a sessional professor for the university's animal behavior and welfare program. Stephanie completed her honors bachelor of science zoology degree at the University of Toronto.