TORONTO, Ontario – Maple Leaf Foods recently named Dr. Stephanie Cottee leader of Animal Wellness.

Cottee is charged with establishing an "integrated and comprehensive animal wellness program" for the company's poultry and pork operations. The program will include all areas of Maple Leaf Foods' business that impact animal health and welfare such as nutrition, medication, housing, transportation and processing.

"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, 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. 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."

Dr. Cottee has an extensive experience in animal behavior, research and welfare. Most recently, she managed the Canadian Quality Assurance and Animal Care Assessment program as Provincial Programs Advisor for Ontario Pork. She is also credited with implementing a national swine traceability program. Dr. Cottee also worked for Chicken Farmers of Ontario.

Dr. Cottee has a Ph.D. in Farm Animal Behavior and Welfare and a Master of Science in Farm Animal Behavior and Welfare from the Univ. of Guelph. She was a sessional professor for the university's Animal Behavior and Welfare program. She also completed her Honors Bachelor of Science-Zoology degree at the Univ. of Toronto.