Code revision initiatedDecember 2014
Public comment periodJanuary 30 - March 31, 2017
Estimated Code release dateFebruary 15, 2018

Code Development Progress

The rabbit Code will be developed through NFACC’s Code development process. The process was initiated by the Syndicat des producteurs de lapins du Québec, which will work in partnership with other provincial rabbit groups to develop the Code. 

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 rabbit Code update:

  • Housing and Facilities
    • Pen and cage design
    • Welfare issues and benefits to group and individual housing
    • Health and behavioural aspects of enrichments
  • Feed and water management
    • Quality
    • Quantity
    • Nutritional needs
    • Hay/fibre
  • Health management
    • Recognizing abnormal behaviour, sickness, pain and fearfulness
    • Tools to measure animal stress and management practices that decrease animal stress
    • Welfare issues that lead to adverse conditions, high disease and mortality rates
  • Reproduction
    • Artificial insemination
    • Productivity/doe management
    • Weaning and kit management
  • Pre-transport
    • Feed and water withdrawal  
    • Loading density
    • Containers
  • Euthanasia and on-farm slaughter
    • Signs of insensibility and death
    • Methods
    • When to euthanize


Code Development Committee

Role Committee Member
Code secretary Caroline Ramsay
Producer Michelle Sanders
  Marion Popkin
  Michel Dignard
  Maxime Tessier (Chair)
  Yan Turmine
Transporter Several representatives with knowledge and expertise
Veterinarian Terry Fisk
Animal welfare organization Meghann Cant
Animal welfare regulatory enforcement body Erika Paul
Retail and food service organization Requested but not filled
Processor See below
Agriculture Canada and/or CFIA Virginie Rochet
  Geneviève Bénard
Technical expertise Brian Tapscott
Researcher / academic Pat Turner
Industry liaison (ex-officio) Michelle Sanders
Special advisor (processor) Joe Abate

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

Code Scientific Committee

  • Pat Turner
  • Stephanie Buijs
  • Jorine Rommers
  • Stephanie Torrey (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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