NFACC Information Update: September 2012
In this issue:
- Codes of Practice update
- Pig Code Scientists’ Committee report released
- NFACC welcomes new Associate Members - Sobeys and Tim Hortons
- Code committee members receive awards - Dr. Camie Heleski and Dr. Carol Morgan
- Upcoming events
Following is a summary of each Code under revision:
Beef Cattle – the Scientists’ Committee (SC) report peer review is complete, final edits are being done. The Code Development Committee (CDC), utilizing the SC report, continues to work on the Code. A second survey, targeted at beef producers, assesses routine management practices including animal identification (branding), dehorning, and castration. To participate in the survey visit www.nfacc.ca/codes-of-practice/beef-cattle, click on survey two.
Equine – the SC report has been peer reviewed and finalized. The CDC, utilizing the SC report, continues to work on the Code. A third survey seeking stakeholder input on equine health management and tail alterations is available at www.nfacc.ca/codes-of-practice/equine.
Farmed Fox – the draft Code is being prepared for the public comment period. The 60-day comment period will begin September 10. An official announcement at the start of the comment period will follow.
Mink – the draft Code of Practice is being prepared for the public comment period. The 60-day comment period is tentatively scheduled to start in October. There will be an official announcement at the start of the comment period.
Pig – the SC report has been peer reviewed and finalized. See Pig Code Scientists’ Committee Report notice below for more information. The CDC, utilizing the SC report, continues to work on the revised Code.
Poultry (Chickens, Turkeys and Breeders) – work continues on the SC report. The priority welfare issues list is available at www.nfacc.ca/codes-of-practice/chickens-turkeys-and-breeders.
Poultry (Layers) – work continues on the SC report. The priority welfare issues list is available at www.nfacc.ca/codes-of-practice/poultry-layers.
Sheep – the SC report is being finalized for peer review. The CDC continues to work on the Code.
Visit www.nfacc.ca/codes-of-practice for more details on the Codes and the revision process.
The Scientists’ Committee report for the pig Code is now complete and available at www.nfacc.ca/codes-of-practice/pigs/scientists-committee-report. This peer-reviewed report provides a review of scientific research related to the priority welfare issues selected as part of the pig Code process. The report serves to present the latest findings on the key issues and is used to inform the discussions of the pig Code Development Committee.
A draft of the Code is expected to be ready for public comment early in 2013.
Key points regarding the Scientists’ Committee report:
- The report focuses on research conclusions; it does not make recommendations because science tells us what “is” but does not tell us what “ought to be.” These value-based decisions reside with the Code Development Committee, whose multi-stakeholder composition allows for broad discussions of what is possible, when it is possible and how it is possible. Codes have to balance many important considerations. Codes serve as our national understanding of animal care requirements and recommended practices; they must on the one hand be scientifically informed, but also practical and reflect societal expectations for responsible farm animal care.
- A major challenge in addressing animal welfare is the diverse viewpoints about what precisely defines animal welfare and a good quality of life. The report is based on a definition of welfare that encompasses three aspects of welfare: biological functioning such as health and productivity; affective states such as, pain, fear and contentment; and natural behaviour such as the ability to perform behaviours important to the animal.
- The priority pig welfare issues reviewed by the Scientists’ Committee included:
- Controlling pain: castration
- Methods of euthanasia
- Pig space allowance
- Sow housing
- Group housing (floor feeding, electronic sow feeding, feeding stalls)
- Sow stalls
- Social management of sows
- Space allowance – sows
The Code Development Committee is addressing these topics within the Code, along with many others that impact the care and welfare of pigs.
The Pig Scientists’ Committee includes world-renowned researchers and experts in pig welfare. Members are:
- Harold Gonyou, Research Scientist Prairie Swine Centre and Adjunct Professor, University of Saskatchewan (Chair)
- Nicolas Devillers, Research Scientist, Dairy and Swine Research and Development Centre Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
- Tina Widowski, Professor, Department of Animal & Poultry Science and Director, The Campbell Centre for the Study of Animal Welfare University of Guelph
- Luigi Facitano, Meat Scientist, Dairy and Swine Research and Development Centre Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
- Tim Pasma, Lead Veterinarian Epidemiology Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives
- Robert Friendship, Professor, Department of Population Medicine University of Guelph
- Florian Possberg, producer (ex officio)
- Nadine Ringgenberg (Research Writer)
Significant strides are being made by NFACC to bring the whole value chain and other stakeholders together to develop science-informed approaches to farm animal care. These unique partnerships are valued and integral to addressing public and market concerns. NFACC welcomes the following new associate members.
SOBEYS INC. was accepted as an associate member of NFACC in May. Sobeys has been an active and supportive participant in NFACC’s collaborative approach to farm animal welfare. They represent the retail sector on NFACC’s Animal Care Assessment Model Steering Committee and facilitate broader input from a retail/food service advisory committee.
David Smith, National VP of Retail Strategy and Sustainability for Sobeys continues to offer an inside perspective on what retailers and foodservice companies need to proactively address farm animal welfare challenges, and provide farm animal welfare assurances to their customers. David presented at NFACC’s conference in 2011 and was featured in an NFACC-hosted webinar in March (www.nfacc.ca/webinars).
Sobeys’ supply chain targets, including its approach on animal welfare, can be found at http://sustainability.sobeys.com/en/Governance-Targets-and-Results/Results/Supply-Chain.aspx.
TIM HORTONS was accepted as an associate member of NFACC in June. Tim Hortons is involved in a number of NFACC activities including; the retail/food service advisory committee to the Animal Care Assessment Model Steering Committee and the dairy animal care assessment program advisory team.
Tim Hortons’ animal welfare commitments and approach can be found at: www.timhortons.com/ca/en/difference/animal-welfare.html.
DR. CAMIE HELESKI, Chair of the equine Scientists Committee and Code Development Committee member, is the 2012 recipient of the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Humane Award.
NFACC and Equine Canada were pleased to submit a letter of support outlining Camie’s outstanding contributions to the equine Code as Chair of the Equine Code’s Scientists’ Committee and member of the Equine Code Development Committee. The AVMA Humane Award is given annually to a non-veterinarian to recognize advancements in animal welfare via leadership, public service, education, research/product development, and/or advocacy.
Camie holds a PhD (Hons) with emphasis on animal behaviour and welfare and is currently an Instructor/Coordinator, Horse Management Program, Department of Animal Science at Michigan State University.
DR. CAROL MORGAN, Canadian Federation of Humane Society representative on the pig and sheep Code Development Committees, is the 2012 recipient of the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association Humane Award. This award is presented to an individual whose work is judged to have contributed significantly to the welfare and well-being of animals.
Carol graduated from Western College of Veterinary Medicine in 1988 and in 2009 completed an interdisciplinary PhD at the University of British Columbia Animal Welfare Program and Centre for Applied Ethics focusing on moral decision-making in veterinary medicine with specific interest in the welfare of animals. She has practiced in both mixed and small animal veterinary medicine.
Dr. Morgan sits on the Animal Welfare Committee at the CVMA, and is also the current Chair of the Animal Welfare Small Animal Subcommittee. In 2011, she was awarded the Fredric McGrand Award for Excellence in Animal Welfare by the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies.