Code Development Process
Beef Code Development Progress Report
Meeting 1 – November 17, 2010 – Toronto
The first meeting of the Beef Code Development Committee (CDC) was held in Toronto, with the objectives of: striking the group, familiarizing the members with the NFACC Code Development process, identifying a preliminary list of Priority Welfare Issues for review by the Beef Scientists’ Committee (SC), and creating a draft outline for the revised Code. The group successfully met all of these objectives, leaving the Code Development Secretary with the direction to begin drafting a document for review at the next meeting, based on the outline and using supplied reference documents.
Meeting 2 – January 31-February 1, 2011 - Ottawa
The group received an update from the Scientists’ Committee that they are nearly done the first section of their report, and will shortly be reviewing it prior to sending it on to the CDC. This was followed by a discussion of the various constituents that the Committee members represent, and the importance of and tactics for keeping in touch with them throughout this Code revision process. Then, the group brainstormed some important aspects of the working culture of this Committee, which the Secretary combined into a draft Mission Statement for the CDC and which was then approved by the Committee as a whole:
This committee will carry out a comprehensive renewal of the Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Beef Cattle based on science-and experience-based input from a full spectrum of concerned stakeholders in order to protect the welfare of animals in beef production units. The resulting consensus document will balance the interests of animals and producers into a well-defined set of readable, practical guidelines for the beef industry, educators, and policy-makers.
After discussing some criteria for document review, the Committee proceeded with reviewing the first draft of the section on Animal Environment (facilities, housing, etc). The next meeting is planned for April 19-20, 2011 in Calgary.
Meeting 3 – April 19-20, 2011 – Calgary
The Committee met at the offices of the Canadian Cattlemens’ Association in Calgary. After an update on where the group is in the Code revision process, an update was provided from the Scientists’ Committee, which expects to have the draft of the first section of their report (Painful Procedures) available for CDC review at its next meeting. The group then reviewed the first drafts of the sections on Euthanasia and Transportation (on-farm aspects), and Feed & Water, providing solid feedback to the Code Development Secretary for future drafting and edits.
Meeting 4 – September 19-20, 2011 – Ottawa
The focus of this meeting was to review and provide feedback on the first section of the draft Scientists’ Report - Painful Procedures, and to begin incorporating the conclusions of this report into the draft Code document. The Committee was in general very supportive of the SC report, and made a few small suggestions to improve wording, which have since been provided back to the SC for consideration.
The group then shared an open discussion of current industry castration, disbudding/dehorning, and branding practices, which included common methods, ages, and pain control used, if any. Potential animal welfare issues were explored. Based on the SC report, the Committee made some first steps towards balancing animal care with the practical challenges of managing large numbers of animals under diverse conditions.
In addition, the second draft of the section on Transportation was reviewed, with considerable discussion of the CFIA regulations on unfit and compromised animals, and how to incorporate or refer to these regulations in our Code. This section of the Code only applies to the on-farm aspects of transportation, such as fitness for transport, preparation for transport, and loading and unloading. The first draft of the section on Animal Health was partially reviewed.
Next steps include:
- Two teleconferences before the next face-to-face meeting to provide feedback to the SC on upcoming sections of their report.
- Next face-to-face meeting in Calgary in early December.
- Goals: Complete review of Animal Health Section – 1st draft
- Review 2nd drafts of Euthanasia, Housing, and Feed & Water Sections as time permits.
Teleconference 1 – October 13, 2011
The Beef CDC had a brief teleconference to review the Scientists’ Committee draft report section on Feedlot Health in order to provide feedback to the SC and to discuss how to incorporate the conclusions of the report into the draft Code document. It was a productive meeting, and the Secretary will incorporate the Committee’s suggestions into the draft section on Animal Health for review at the next face-to-face meeting in Calgary.
Teleconference 2 – November 8, 2011
The Beef CDC has a brief teleconference to review the Scientists’ Committee draft report section on Weaning.
Meeting 5 – December 1-2, 2011 – Calgary
The fifth face-to-face meeting was held in Calgary, at the offices of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association. After a brief discussion of recent OIE activities related to beef cattle, the group continued with review of draft Code sections. The agenda included review, discussion, and editing of the first draft of the Code chapter on Animal Health and second drafts of chapters on: Animal Environment, Euthanasia, and Animal Husbandry. The group also reviewed draft sections of the Scientists’ Committee report on Painful Procedures and on Managing Extremes in Environmental Conditions. The Secretary will make the instructed changes and provide a revised copy of the draft to the CDC as soon as possible.
Meeting 6 – February 15-16, 2012 – Winnipeg
The CDC met in Winnipeg for two days. The agenda included review of the second draft of the Animal Environment, Husbandry, and Feed & Water chapters, and the 3rd draft of the Transportation and Euthanasia Chapters. Over the lunch break, Dr. Terry Whiting (Manager Animal Health and Welfare Manitoba Agriculture and Food, Veterinary Services Branch) gave a presentation to the group on the role of the Codes of Practice in enforcing animal welfare regulations in Manitoba. Good progress was made on the draft Code, and the next meeting is planned for April. A teleconference is also anticipated to discuss the final draft of the Scientists’ Committee’s report on the Priority Welfare Issues.
NFACC and the CCA will be developing the first of two on-line surveys to help the CDC in its work revising the Code of practice. The first survey will be aimed at assessing general industry awareness of the previous Code, and the anticipated use of the new Code. The second survey will look specifically at the current industry practices with respect to castration, dehorning, and identification.
Teleconference 3 – March 16, 2012
A teleconference was held to review the final version of the Scientists’ Committee (SC) review of literature on the Priority Welfare Issues. The CDC supported the SC report moving into the peer review process.”
Teleconference 4 – March 27, 2012
The CDC met by teleconference to review the draft Code section on Feed and Water. The issue of snow as a water source received much discussion. The group agreed that there needed to be clear criteria to guide producers on the suitability of using snow as a water source in order to protect animal health and welfare.
Meeting 7 – April 17-18, 2012 – Toronto
The seventh face-to-face meeting of the beef CDC was held in Toronto. At this meeting, the group reviewed and revised:
- Second drafts of the chapter on: Animal Health;
- Third drafts of chapters on: Animal Environment, Feed and Water, and Husbandry;
- Fourth drafts of chapters on: Transportation, Euthanasia;
- Appendices and resource materials, such as tables, illustrations.
The first of the two on-line surveys will be released later this month.
On-line Survey #1 – Launched April 30, 2012
The first of two planned on-line surveys was launched. The goal of the survey is to assess awareness of the Code of Practice in the Canadian beef industry, the anticipated use of the revised Code, and attitudes towards animal welfare issues.
In the first three weeks, the survey received 424 responses from across the country.
Teleconference 5 – May 29, 2012
The group met briefly to discuss some issues related to the Transportation chapter and related Appendices. Some changes were made to bring the draft Code more in line with existing CFIA regulations.
Meeting 8 – June 20-21, 2012 – Ottawa
The Committee started the meeting with an update and discussion around the recently-approved Beef Production guidelines from the OIE. It was noted that these guidelines are created with input and ultimate approval from over 170 countries, and that signatories (including Canada) are expected to meet or exceed these guidelines. The Committee reviewed an update on the recent Beef Welfare Symposium, held in Saskatoon earlier this month. The Code Development Secretary attended this meeting, and will circulate her notes from the various presentations to the Committee members.
The Committee reviewed the entire Code document. Outstanding issues remain around routine management procedures causing pain (dehorning, castration). As a result, NFACC is launching a second on-line survey later this month to try and establish a better baseline understanding of the methods, timing, and pain mitigation techniques currently in use by Canadian beef producers. The results of this survey will be helpful to the CDC in its work.
On-line Survey #2 – Husbandry Practices
A second on-line survey was launched at the end of June 2012. The goal of this survey was to assess the methods and timing of certain husbandry practices currently in use, specifically: disbudding/dehorning, castration, and branding. The feedback from this study will assist the CDC in devising practical and realistic guidelines for these practices in the updated Code.
Teleconference 6 – September 10, 2012
The CDC had a teleconference to further discuss outstanding issues related to painful procedures (castration and dehorning). Discussion revolved around research results, logistics of administering pain control, drug availability, protocols and costs, and age of animal for conducting procedures. In addition, it was noted that through the development and revisions of the Codes of Practice, the Codes should meet or exceed OIE standards as a demonstration of Canada’s implementation of OIE standards. Meeting or exceeding OIE Standards could benefit Canadian industries by demonstrating that they meet the accepted international standards (as published by the OIE) even though the OIE is not specifically recognised as a standard setting organisation in the Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT).
Teleconference 7 – October 1, 2012
The CDC held a teleconference to do an overall review of the draft Code in preparation for it going to Public Comment, hopefully before the end of the calendar year. Some loose ends were identified in formatting, tables, and the Table of Contents. These will be resolved. The draft document will now be proofed and formatted in preparation for the Public Comment Period.
Teleconference 8 - November 21, 2012
A brief teleconference was held to explain some draft changes to the Transport chapter following our last teleconference. Changes were made to clarify some questions about the interpretation and implementation of proposed Requirements and Recommended Practices.
Teleconference 9 – December 11, 2012
The CDC met by teleconference to discuss some last-minute issues that arose concerning the proposed Requirements and Recommended Practices related to castration. The availability of various pain control measures was discussed along with the challenge of castrating mature bulls. After considerable discussion, the Committee landed on a balance of Requirements and Recommended practices that it was comfortable submitting to the Public Comment Period (PCP). The PCP will be implemented as soon as possible, in order to complete this step before the end of the project fiscal year. The group looks forward to feedback on the document. After the PCP, the group will meet again to review the feedback and make any resulting changes.
Public Comment Period – January 8- March 8, 2013
The draft Beef Code of Practice was opened for Public Comment on January 8, 2013 for 60 days. At the same time, the SC report on Priority Welfare Issues for Beef Cattle was also released as a supporting document to the draft Code.
Response to the PCP was strong, with feedback from 33 organizations and 449 individuals.
Of the organizations, there were: 10 producer organizations, 5 veterinary organizations, 9 animal welfare organizations, 5 government organizations, and 4 other agricultural organizations.
The breakdown of individual respondents was as follows:
- Producers – 88%. Of these:
- Cow-calf – 55%
- Feedlot – 13%
- Seedstock – 10%
- Stocker/Backgrounder – 21%
- Consumers – 11%
- Transporters – 7%
- Vets – 4%
- Other Beef Production Chain – 3%
- Educator – 5%
- Researcher – 4%
- AW Advocate – 13%
- Animal Welfare Enforcement Org – 2%
- Other – 15%
Meeting 9 – March 20-21, 2013 – Calgary
The CDC met in Calgary to review feedback from the Public Comment Period, and revise the draft Code as appropriate. Over the two days of the meeting, the Committee reviewed the chapters on Environment, Feed and Water, and Husbandry. The goal throughout was to improve the clarity of the wording, particularly of the Requirements, recognizing the wide audience and ultimate range of uses of the final Code. Many improvements were made in this regard. Although great progress was made, there was not sufficient time to complete the review and revision of the document. Therefore, a second meeting on the PCP feedback will be required, likely at the end of May.