Draft layer Code of Practice released for public comment

OTTAWA, 30 June 2016 /CNW/ - Egg Farmers of Canada and the National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC) are pleased to announce the launch of the public comment period on the draft Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Layers. The public comment period allows stakeholders - poultry producers, consumers and others with an interest in the welfare of laying hens - to view the draft Code and provide input to the final Code.

The draft revised Code is the result of the unique consensus-based, multi-stakeholder approach used across various agricultural sectors, which brings together all relevant stakeholders with responsibility for animal care standards.

"Egg Farmers of Canada is committed to continuous improvements and a high standard of care for laying hens in a manner that is sustainable and implementable by all farmers in Canada," said Peter Clarke, Chairman of Egg Farmers of Canada. "We value the National Farm Animal Care Council's leadership and the rigorous, multi-stakeholder approach to developing the evidence-based standards that will enhance our national Animal Care Program," he added.

Once finalized, the revised Code will promote sound management and welfare practices through recommendations and requirements for housing, care, transportation, and other animal husbandry practices. The process began in April 2012, using the NFACC Code development process. Egg Farmers of Canada initiated the review with the support of the Canadian Poultry and Egg Processors Council and Pullet Growers of Canada.

"The Code development process helps diverse communities work together to improve the lives of farm animals," said poultry welfare expert Dr. Ian Duncan, representing the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies on the Code Committee. "We hope for broad participation in the public comment period. It's an important opportunity to improve the quality and success of each Code."

As of 10:00 a.m. this morning, the draft Code and the public comment system is accessible at: www.nfacc.ca/codes-of-practice/poultry-layers. All comments must be submitted through the online system. The public comment period closes on August 29, 2016. The Code Development Committee will consider the submitted comments after the close of the comment period and the plan is that the final layer Code of Practice will be released by the end of 2016.

"Retail Council of Canada welcomes the release of the draft layer Code for public comment," said David Wilkes, Senior Vice-President, Government Relations & Grocery Division for the Retail Council of Canada. "RCC supports the Code development process and will be submitting comments as part of the public consultation. RCC recognizes the value the Code provides in defining appropriate housing requirements for laying hens."

A Scientific Committee report summarizing research conclusions on priority welfare topics for laying hens can be found online alongside the draft Code. This peer-reviewed report aided the discussions of the Code Development Committee as it prepared the draft Code of Practice. The report, developed by world-renowned animal welfare scientists, should be reviewed prior to making a submission.

The layer Code revision is led by a 17-person Code Development Committee that includes participants from across Canada including producers, animal welfare and enforcement representatives, retailers, researchers, transporters, processors, veterinarians and government representatives. More information on the Code development process is available at www.nfacc.ca/codes-of-practice.

The layer Code is one of five Codes of Practice being developed as part of a multi-year NFACC project. Codes of Practice serve as our national understanding of animal care requirements and recommended practices. It is important that Codes be scientifically informed, implementable by producers, and reflect societal expectations for responsible farm animal care. The Codes cover housing, feed and water, handling, euthanasia, transport and other important management practices.

Funding for this project has been provided through the AgriMarketing Program under Growing Forward 2, a federal–provincial–territorial initiative.

About the National Farm Animal Care Council
NFACC is a collaborative partnership of diverse stakeholders that work together on farm animal care and welfare. It supports robust processes to draft or renew Codes of Practice for the care and handling of farm animals. NFACC would like to acknowledge the Canadian Animal Health Coalition (CAHC) for their role in securing funding for this project. For more information on NFACC visit www.nfacc.ca.

About Egg Farmers of Canada
Now in its fifth decade as one of Canada's leading agriculture organizations, Egg Farmers of Canada manages the national egg supply and promotes egg consumption while representing the interests of regulated egg producers from coast to coast. For more information visit www.eggfarmers.ca.


SOURCE Egg Farmers of Canada

For further information: Jackie Wepruk, General Manager, National Farm Animal Care Council, 403-783-4066, nfacc@xplornet.com; Alison Evans, Director Corporate and Public Affairs, Egg Farmers of Canada, 613-327-4701, aevans@eggs.ca


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