Code revision initiatedDecember 2014
Public comment periodNovember 21 - January 19, 2017
Estimated Code release dateSpring 2017

Code Development Progress

The process for updating the Code of Practice for bison began December 2014, using the NFACC Code development process. The Canadian Bison Association initiated the review.

Priority Welfare Issues List

The priority welfare issues are topics that are considered to be important for animal welfare and that will particularly benefit from a review of the available scientific literature.

The Scientific Committee (SC) and Code Development Committee (CDC) collectively identified the priority welfare issues list at their inaugural meeting in March 2015. The SC will undertake a review of the scientific research on these priority issues and develop a report synthesizing/summarizing the research. The SC will also identify gaps that would benefit from further research. See full SC Terms of Reference.

The CDC will use the SC report to develop requirements and recommendations around the priority welfare issues. Other topics not on the final priority welfare issues list but that are important to animal welfare will still be included in the Code.

Following is the priority welfare issues list for the bison Code update:

  1. How does seasonality affect the nutritional requirements of bison (i.e., specifically heifers)?
    • including minerals
  2. Appropriate euthanasia/slaughter on farm (including field harvest)
  3. Understanding bison behaviour, specifically males, females, young. Body language
    • Including requirements for wallowing and rubbing
    • Including requirements (for needing / not needing) bedding, shade, wind protection
  4. Pain
    • Recognizing and identifying pain
    • When to intervene?
    • What is a painful process for bison?
    • Dystocia
    • Semen collection: is there pain associated with different methods?


Bison Code Development Committee

Role Committee Member
Code secretary Jeffrey Spooner
Producer Mark Silzer (Chair)
  Frank McAllister
  Sharif Fahamy
  Todd Dowd
Transporter Requested but not filled
Veterinarian Roy Lewis
Animal welfare organization Kaley Pugh
Animal welfare regulatory enforcement body Terry Whiting
Retail and food service organization Requested but not filled
Processor Requested but not filled
Agriculture Canada and/or CFIA Sarah Johannson
Researcher / academic John Church
Technical expertise Jayson Galbraith
  Terry Kremeniuk
Industry liaison (ex-officio) Terry Kremeniuk

Participants are defined as per NFACC’s Guiding Principles for Codes of Practice.

Bison Code Scientific Committee

  • John Church
  • Rob McCorkell 
  • Jayson Galbraith 
  • Fiona Lang (Research Writer)

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

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