Recommended Code of Practice for Dairy Cattle Released for Public Comment



    OTTAWA, Jan. 14 /CNW Telbec/ - A draft version of the new Recommended
Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Dairy Cattle has been released
for public comment. The draft Dairy Code was developed under a newly revised
Code of Practice development process led by the National Farm Animal Care
Council (NFACC).
    Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC) stepped forward in 2006 to update the
previous version of their Dairy Code of Practice (1990) based on NFACC's new
Code development process. The federal government, through Agriculture and
Agri-Food Canada's Advancing Canadian Agriculture and Agri-Food (ACAAF)
program, provided funding to develop the new Dairy Code, which is serving as a
test pilot of NFACC's new Code of Practice development process.
    The draft Dairy Code can be viewed, and submissions made, through NFACC's
website (www.nfacc.ca) until February 13, 2009. Anyone is invited to provide a
submission as outlined on NFACC's website. A final Recommended Code of
Practice for the Care and Handling of Dairy Cattle will be ready by March 31,
2009.
    Michael Hall, Dairy Code of Practice Development Committee Chair and
dairy farmer explains, "The primary end user and target audience for the Dairy
Code is the farmer. However, Codes will also be used by others and should
reflect standards that are acceptable to society as a whole. Dairy farmers are
committed to responsible animal care practices that are based on sound
science. This is reflected within the draft Dairy Code."
    "I commend dairy farmers for being the first to update their Code of
Practice based on NFACC's new Code development process," says Geoff Urton of
the the British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
(SPCA), who represents the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies on the
Dairy Code Development Committee. "This experience has really demonstrated
what can be accomplished when participants dedicate themselves to a Code
process that uses the best scientific evidence available."

    Codes of Practice History

    Canada initiated the development of Codes of Practice for the care and
handling of farm animals in 1980. Since then, Codes of Practice have been
developed for virtually all farm animal species in Canada. NFACC's website
provides access to Codes currently available (http://www.nfacc.ca/code.aspx).
    "When NFACC was established in 2005, one of its key objectives was to
update the Code development process. Following broad consultation, consensus
was reached to move forward with Code development under the auspices of NFACC
and a new Code development process was established," says Edouard Asnong,
NFACC Chair and a pork producer from Quebec.
    Animal care guidelines and standards should take advantage of the best
available scientific research findings. In re-establishing a Code of Practice
development process, NFACC recognized the need for a more formal means of
integrating scientific input into the process. A Scientists' Committee review
of priority animal welfare issues was instituted to provide valuable
information to the Code Development Committee in developing or revising a Code
of Practice.

    Codes of Practice Future

    The new NFACC Code of Practice development process:

    
    - Provides clearer linkages between science and Code recommendations
    - Clearly articulates principles and criteria for Code development
    - Improves the transparency of the Code development process
    - More clearly distinguishes between requirements for care and
      recommended best practices

    In addition, the new process will play an important role in:

    - Educating producers about appropriate animal care practices
    - Communicating industry standards to downstream stakeholders who require
      such information
    - Forming the rationale and basis for industry-developed on-farm
      verification programs
    - Illustrating to our trading partners that Canada has a process for
      identifying, communicating, and ensuring sound farm animal care
      practices.
    

    Canada's farmed animal sectors recognize the value of Codes of Practice.
Several sectors have indicated a desire to update their Codes based on the new
NFACC Code process.

    The National Farm Animal Care Council is a member-driven organization
whose mission is to provide a discussion forum for farmed animal care in
Canada, to create and uphold a standard approach for the development of the
Recommended Codes of Practice and other animal care tools, and to coordinate
information sharing between governments, agriculture industries and other
interested stakeholders.

    DFC is a national marketing, policy and lobbying organization
representing farmers living on over 13,000 farms. DFC works to create
favourable conditions for the Canadian dairy industry by advocating policies
that foster the viability of Canadian dairy farms and promoting dairy products
and their health benefits.

    Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) is pleased to participate in this
project. AAFC is committed to working with our industry partners to increase
public awareness of the importance of the agriculture and agri-food industry
to Canada. Opinions expressed in this document are those of the National Farm
Animal Care Council and not necessarily those of AAFC.




For further information:

For further information: Jackie Wepruk, NFACC Coordinator, National Farm
Animal Care Council, (403) 783-4066, nfacc@xplornet.com, http://www.nfacc.ca;
Thérèse Beaulieu, Assistant Director Communication and Policy, Dairy Farmers
of Canada, (613) 236-9997 x 2571, therese.beaulieu@dfc-plc.ca;
www.dairyfarmers.org

Organization Profile

Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC)

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NATIONAL FARM ANIMAL CARE COUNCIL

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