An introduction to the
NFACC is the only organization in the world that brings together animal welfare groups, enforcement, government and farmers under a collective decision-making model for advancing farm animal welfare
NFACC is the national lead for farm animal care and welfare in Canada. The organization is a collaborative partnership of diverse stakeholders that:
- facilitates and coordinates a consistent approach to farm animal welfare* in Canada, demonstrating credibility in domestic and international forums
- facilitates communication and collaboration among all partners in Canadian agriculture focusing on responsible farm animal care and welfare.
NFACC is based on a foundation of trust, communication and respect. It is a member-driven organization whose mission is to:
- make best use of resources and capabilities through improved coordination
- add value to stakeholders by collaborating, communicating and sharing tools, approaches, knowledge and information/experience
- facilitate proactive approaches to livestock care.
Significant strides have been made in bringing together the whole value chain and other stakeholders to develop science-informed approaches to farm animal care.
* The National Farm Animal Care Council supports the following definition of animal welfare: Animal welfare means how an animal is coping physically, physiologically and psychologically with the conditions in which it lives. Physically includes pain and injury; physiologically includes environmental or disease stressors; and psychologically includes stressors that affect the senses, especially those that result in fear, fighting, distress or stereotypic behaviours due to either frustration or boredom. Animal welfare refers to the state of the animal; the treatment that an animal receives is covered by other terms such as animal care, animal husbandry, and humane treatment.
NFACC works to:
- uphold a credible, science-informed approach for the development, update, and maintenance of Codes of Practice for the care and handling of farm animals
- uphold a standard, credible approach for the development of animal care assessment programs and align with organizations that can support credible approaches for the delivery of such programs
- build recognition of and value in NFACC and its processes
- implement a communication strategy that:
- builds and facilitates understanding of NFACC and its processes
- supports NFACC’s partners in effectively communicating on NFACC and its processes
- enables NFACC spokespeople to promote NFACC when requested.
NFACC is a forum where all believe in progressive and achievable advances in animal welfare, coming together, and deliberating upon how to support the welfare of animals used in agriculture (via Codes of Practice and Animal Care Assessment Programs).
All NFACC members must support and abide by the following core values:
- agree to constructively and in good faith advance the welfare of farmed animals in Canada (see context below)
- commit to respectful collaboration and working together to advance the welfare of farmed animals (see additional context below)
- believe that animals should be treated humanely
- support approaches that are scientifically informed.
NFACC acknowledges that the acceptance of certain animal uses can shift over time. However societal views on the acceptance of certain uses of animals are not universal across Canada. Regardless, all farmed animals in Canada deserve standards of care that support their well-being.
Core Value 1 allows for some variance in acceptance of all uses of farmed animals, while maintaining an important guardrail of not opening the door to membership for groups seeking to abolish animal agriculture. Members have differing values and beliefs about certain uses of animals but as a general principle they cannot oppose animal agriculture and must accept animal use in agriculture.
NFACC’s focus is on farmed animal welfare for all legal uses of animals. NFACC cannot and should not determine what is an acceptable use of farmed animals. However, its member organizations may have positions against some industries. NFACC as an organization needs to have animal welfare at the forefront even if some farmed animal industries are not acceptable to all its members.
Core Value 2 aims to support the conversations between members that will build understanding of each member’s organizational realities, along with positively impacting how public communications are developed. In practical terms, it means that we commit to engaging with each other outside of NFACC meetings.
NFACC uses consensus to reach decisions regarding policy, membership and activities related to its goals and objectives. Consensus is the way a group of equals makes decisions. The process rests on the fundamental belief that each person has a piece of the truth. Each member of the group, therefore, must be given a fair opportunity to be heard and each must be listened to with respect.
Consensus is often simply defined as “general agreement”. Consensus means all parties agree—or consent—to the final decision. Consensus may mean that there is full agreement on everything or that there is agreement on the overall package of solutions, some of which would not be agreed to if the solutions stood alone. Consensus is reached when each stakeholder can live with the outcome. Stakeholders may not achieve all their goals, but they feel heard and can attest that a rigorous process was followed to try to find an optimal solution in everyone’s interests.
Consensus decision-making brings together a group of people to address interests or concerns underlying each parties’ position on an issue. The focus is on finding solutions to the problems faced by each party so every participant can agree to an eventual decision. Consensus is not about one side winning and the other side losing. It is about finding a solution that recognizes and integrates everyone’s interests. While it can be challenging to reach consensus, the advantage of this process is that it ensures all interests are represented and respected; gives all parties a say in the outcome; and promotes better understanding and respect for different viewpoints.
Those who feel that they cannot live with a proposal have a duty to help suggest solutions that would make the proposal more acceptable while still meeting the interests of fellow board members.
NFACC is a division of Animal Health Canada.