Programs recognized by NFACC
The Animal Care Assessment Framework
Implementing Codes of Practice: Canada’s Framework for Developing Animal Care Assessment Programs
Table of Contents
|- Cycle for Code Development and Animal Care Assessment
|- Prerequisite Considerations for Commodity Associations
|- Role of the Program Coordinator
|- Terms of Reference for the Program Development Team
|- Guidance on the Use of Consultative Status
|- Guiding Principles for Program Development
|- Examples of Critical Levels and Performance Targets
|- Understanding Assessment Measures
|- Participants (2013 Original Edition)
As a nationally coordinated, standardized framework for developing assessment programs on animal welfare, this framework is the first of its kind in Canada and is unique internationally. It is now generally accepted that while our Codes of Practices serve important purposes, they alone may not be enough in the face of increasing consumer demand for assurances that the Codes are being followed. Assessments are a key mechanism to provide assurance.
The Animal Care Assessment Framework is the culmination of eight years of multi-party discussions facilitated by the National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC). Early discussions beginning in 2005 focused on sharing insights on the principles for verification programs. In 2007, a committee considered the need for a national model and advised that further information was needed to understand what other countries were doing, the current and future market demand, and the benefits associated with assessment programs for producers and others in the value chain. In 2009, having completed a review of the above topics, NFACC assembled a Sub-Committee that developed a first draft.
In 2011 NFACC struck a Steering Committee to finalize the Animal Care Assessment Framework. Representing a broad cross-section, the committee brought together four different national producer associations, auditors, animal welfare advocates, researchers, and representatives from the retail and processor sectors.
The Steering Committee finalized the Animal Care Assessment Framework with input from two stakeholder workshops and a test pilot of the draft by Dairy Farmers of Canada. The project benefited particularly from the experiences of commodity groups that had previously implemented assessment programs and by the involvement of a six-member Retail/Foodservice Advisory Committee.
The need for a nationally coordinated framework to be finalized and piloted has also been supported by NFACC members and subsequently underscored by the National Farmed Animal Health and Welfare Strategy, which included among its goals to “improve farmed animal care and welfare,” and stipulated the following specific outcomes to be accomplished by 2015:
- that Codes of Practice serve as the foundation for Canada’s farmed animal care and welfare infrastructure in that assessment programs are based on the Codes, and provincial and federal regulations reference the Codes as guidelines or requirements and industry best practices
- that an animal care assessment model be implemented.
NFACC wishes to thank all those who contributed to this project over the course of its evolution. More information is available at www.nfacc.ca.
The Animal Care Assessment Framework provides a credible, nationally coordinated process for developing animal care assessment programs based on the Codes of Practice. It has been developed to meet the following broad objectives:
- facilitate the implementation of Codes of Practice by providing an informed framework and useful resources to groups developing an animal care assessment program
- enhance the transparency, legitimacy, and credibility of assessment programs developed according to the framework
- ensure consistency of communications along the value chain
- further develop Canada’s cooperative approach to farm animal care, an approach that can be communicated nationally and internationally, and that builds upon existing initiatives.
The Animal Care Assessment Framework is intended for use by any farmed animal industry. Given the diversity between these industries, there is a legitimate need to achieve a balance of consistency but also flexibility in the framework and the programs developed from it. While the document typically refers to the farm context, it can be used to develop a program for other contexts, such as animal transport.
This framework does not necessitate program development or implementation. It remains the responsibility of industry associations to initiate and implement these programs. However, associations that wish to communicate that their assessment program is based on the Animal Care Assessment Framework must demonstrate to the National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC) that the process outlined herein was followed.
The scope of this document is focused on program development (rather than implementation). However, the project Steering Committee recognizes that assessment programs need to be developed with consideration to implementation and training to ensure a comprehensive animal care assurance system. The Steering Committee believes these considerations may require further development as additional components to the Animal Care Assessment Framework. High level principles have been identified from which further development can be initiated.
Animal Care Assessment Programs
Animal care assessment programs should bring benefits to stakeholders, including:
- facilitate and accelerate technology transfer
- provide assurances to buyers and consumers that animal care standards are being met
- recognize the achievements of program participants and assist them in meeting their management goals for the welfare of the animals in their care
- provide a mechanism for continuous improvements in animal care and welfare
- inform future changes to the Codes of Practice.
Codes of Practice
The Codes of Practice are nationally developed guidelines for the care and handling of the different species of farm animals. They are intended to promote sound management and welfare practices through recommendations and requirements for housing, handling, feeding, and other animal husbandry practices.
The Codes serve multiple purposes, including:
- providing information and education
- serving as the foundation for animal care assessment programs
- providing reference materials for regulations.
Codes of practice have been developed for virtually all farmed animal species in Canada. NFACC’s website provides further details, including access to all currently available Codes and information on NFACC’s Code development process (www.nfacc.ca).
Stakeholders share an interest in seeing the Codes of Practice implemented not only because the Codes were developed for this purpose, but because failure to implement them undermines their role and value in society and makes the agriculture and agri-food sector vulnerable to criticism.
Refer to Appendix A for a summary of the relationship between the Codes of Practice, the Animal Care Assessment Framework, and animal care assessment programs.
How to Use the Animal Care Assessment Framework
The core of the framework consists of the six steps to follow when developing a program (Section 1). Additional resources are provided in Section 2 – Supplementary Information and Resources. The framework also includes a Glossary (see page 5).
The following terms are defined below to establish a common understanding of key terms used throughout this document.
Animal welfare: animal welfare means how an animal is coping physically, physiologically, and psychologically with the conditions in which it lives and dies. 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.1 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.
Assessment: this term is used in a general way to describe any type of conformity assessment. Assessments can be internal (self-assessments) or external (second party and third party).
Assessment cycle: the schedule that dictates how frequently assessments will be conducted.
Assessor: any person authorized to conduct an assessment whether as a first party (in the case of a self-assessment), second party, or third party.In some programs, the term “validator” or “auditor” is used.
Consensus: consensus means all parties agree with, or can live with, a 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. Participants 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 is not about one side winning and the other side losing—it is about finding a solution that recognizes and integrates everyone’s interests.
Continuous improvement: adapting management over time to enhance performance. This is also referred to as “continual improvement”.
Corrective action: action to eliminate the cause(s) of nonconformity or other undesirable situations and to prevent recurrence.2 Generally, corrective actions relate to aspects of animal care or welfare that a producer can control; the action taken should be directed at effectively addressing a given issue.
Critical areas of management: animal care practices or other factors that have the potential to impact animal welfare. They can involve aspects of animal housing (e.g., stocking density, ambient temperature, feed space); animal health (e.g., care of sick or injured animals, record keeping); or routine management procedures (e.g., handling, surgical procedures, placement or mixing of new groups).
Critical level: criterion which separates acceptability from unacceptability.3 Generally, critical levels are established to determine whether a critical area of management remains at an acceptable level. Critical levels are also known as “critical limits”.
Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP): a management tool originally developed to control food safety risks. The HACCP approach is based on prevention by first identifying the risk factors within a system and then establishing procedures to reduce the risks. The HACCP concept has gained wider acceptance and has been implemented in other contexts, including animal care assessment programs. Applying the HACCP approach to animal care involves identifying the management procedures or the aspects of the animal’s environment that cause or have the potential to cause welfare problems and establishing procedures to reduce those risks.
Performance targets: measurable results to be achieved(e.g.,that no more than 1% of animals should fall while being moved in a slaughter facility; that less than 10% of animals are lame).
Random audit: an unplanned and/or unannounced conformity audit. For these audits, the producer is typically given a minimal amount of notice (i.e., enough time to ensure an appropriate person will be available to accompany the assessor).
Recommended Practices: practices that may complement a Code’s Requirements, promote producer education, and encourage adoption of practices for continuous improvement in animal welfare outcomes. Recommended Practices are those which are generally expected to enhance animal welfare outcomes, but failure to implement them does not imply that acceptable standards of animal care are not met.4
Requirements:either a regulatory requirement or an industry-imposed expectation outlining acceptable and unacceptable practices and are fundamental obligations relating to the care of animals. Requirements represent a consensus position that these measures, at minimum, must be implemented by all responsible producers.5
Second party assessment: a conformity assessment that is performed by a customer or any other body that has a formal interest in the party being assessed.
Self-assessment: a systematic evaluation by the program participant to determine their current, historical or projected compliance to a program standard. It is the process of critically reviewing the quality of one’s own performance. Self-assessments are also referred to as a “first party audits” or “internal audits”.
Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs): written step-by-step instructions describing how a particular task is to be done. Establishing SOPs helps everyone on the farm apply requirements or recommendations consistently.
Third-party audit: aconformity audit performed by an auditing or certification body that is independent from the party being assessed.
Trigger audit: a conformity audit that is scheduled following a trigger, such as the results of assessment reports, complaints of non-compliance to the program standards, or by substantial changes to the auditee’s operation.1 This definition of animal welfare is supported by NFACC and consistent with the World Organisation for Animal Health’s definition. See Glossary in Terrestrial Animal Health Code (2023). Available at: www.woah.org/en/what-we-do/standards/codes-and-manuals/terrestrial-code-online-access. Accessed: September 19, 2023.2 International Organization for Standardization (2012) Directives, Part 1 Consolidated ISO supplement: procedures specific to ISO, 3rd edition.3 Adapted from International Organization for Standardization (2005) International standard ISO 22000 Food safety management system: requirements for any organization in the food chain.4 The definitions of Recommended Practice and Requirements are from the Code development process (www.nfacc.ca/codes-of-practice).5 This role is referred to herein as “Program Coordinator”; however, the exact role/title will vary across commodities.
Roles, Responsibilities and Other Considerations (Steps 1–3)
Step One: The national commodity or specialized industry group will contact NFACC to indicate its interest in developing an animal care assessment program according to process set out in this framework. NFACC will supply all appropriate materials and liaise with the contact person as needed. Beyond reviewing the six steps outlined in this framework, the commodity or specialized industry group is encouraged to review the supplementary information, particularly Appendix B which provides a list of considerations to think through ideally before a group goes too far down the process of program development. The commodity or specialized industry group will review the materials, and, if it chooses to proceed, will write to NFACC confirming its interest.
Step Two: The national commodity or specialized industry group will ensure that a Program Coordinator is in place.5 This person will take a lead role in developing the program and will guide the process according to the procedures outlined in this framework.
Reporting directly to the commodity or specialized industry group, the Program Coordinator is also responsible for providing NFACC with updates detailing that the framework is being followed. Appendix C – Role of the Program Coordinator provides further information.
Step Three: The national commodity or specialized industry group will assemble a Program Development Team. If needed, NFACC can assist in establishing this committee. The Program Development Team will develop the program’s content based on the principles and process outlined in the Animal Care Assessment Framework and using information contained in the relevant Code of Practice. The selection of Program Development Team members is a critically important task. While representatives on the team are expected to consult with their constituents, they must also be empowered and entrusted to represent and negotiate in the best interests of their constituents. Final decisions pertaining to the content of the program are the purview of the Program Development Team. Appendix D provides the terms of reference for this team.
In order to have a balanced program and achieve buy-in from stakeholders, there should be broad participation of knowledgeable people serving on the Program Development Team. At a minimum, the following stakeholders must be involved in the program development process, where applicable:
- farmer representatives with knowledge of all types of production systems
- assessor, preferably with experience in the relevant species (the Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization [PAACO] may have suggestions)
- animal welfare scientist with expertise in assessment and knowledge of the Canadian industry (request nominations from the Canadian Society of Animal Science, the International Society for Applied Ethology, or other professional scientific bodies as appropriate for the species [e.g., World Poultry Science Association])
- commodity association staff who will be responsible for implementing the program nationally and/or provincially
- retail or foodservice representative (request nominations from either the Retail Council of Canada or Restaurants Canada)
- animal welfare advocacy representative (request nominations from World Animal Protection Canada or Humane Canada)
- veterinary practitioner with expertise in the species (request nominations from the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association [CVMA])
- processor engaged in the relevant species (request nominations from Canadian Meat Council, Canadian Poultry and Egg Processors Council, or Dairy Processors Association of Canada).
The national lead organization for each stakeholder group will be approached for nominations, as indicated above. The national commodity or specialized lead group should have or source funding for the animal welfare advocacy representative; funding may also be needed for the CVMA representative.
Some of the above stakeholders may be less involved at certain stages in the program’s development. However, the outcome to be achieved, and there are many ways of achieving this, is that the above stakeholders are consulted in meaningful ways and support the content of the final animal care assessment.
In particular, all members of the Program Development Team must be consulted and reach consensus on: (see pages 8–10)
- the mandatory critical areas of management
- the performance targets and critical levels
- the assessment measures
- the overall program content prior to its finalization or, if applicable, before and after a test pilot.
It is strongly advised to have at least one person on this team who was directly involved in the development of the Code of Practice to provide a bridge of knowledge between the projects and help explain how agreement was reached on specific topics in the Code.
The Program Development Team may also wish to consult additional experts, including provincial Board of Director representatives, allied industry groups, and technical experts or extension groups that would be utilized by the program participants to guide their progress.
The Chair of the Program Development Team is either appointed by the commodity association or is elected by the team.
Consultative Status Due to Resource Constraints
Given the limited resources of some stakeholder groups, full participation in the development of all assessment programs may not always be feasible. Hence, stakeholder groups may request consultative status on a Program Development Team if they are unable to be full participants due to human or financial constraints and if funding for full participation could not be sourced despite collaborative efforts by NFACC members. Refer to Appendix E for guidance on the use of consultative status. A record of communications must be kept verifying which organizations were approached and, if they did not identify a representative, noting their decision to request consultative status. NFACC personnel will need this information to verify that the process has been followed in populating the Program Development Team.
Process for Identifying a Substitute Animal Welfare Advocacy Representative
In the rare case that the animal welfare advocacy groups affiliated with NFACC decline to participate in an NFACC process due to their values not being aligned with the industry (as a whole), a process will automatically be undertaken to identify a substitute animal welfare advocacy representative. The CVMA’s Animal Welfare Committee will be asked to identify the substitute by first trying to identify a representative from within CVMA’s ranks. If an appropriate representative cannot be identified from within the CVMA, the CVMA’s Animal Welfare Committee will identify an external representative to serve as the animal welfare advocate representing the CVMA’s Animal Welfare Committee. The substitute animal welfare advocacy representative will be distinct from the CVMA’s veterinary representative and may or may not be a veterinarian. This animal welfare representative will have a depth of knowledge of the species, be able to participate constructively and in good faith, and be an effective advocate for animals.
Overview of Roles and Responsibilities
- assist the commodity or specialized industry group in assembling the Program Development Team, if needed
- provide training/orientation to the Program Coordinator and Program Development Team to ensure the Animal Care Assessment Framework is consistently applied across commodities
- provide oversight that the process is followed
- serve as a national forum for information sharing and discussions on animal care assessment and Code implementation
- make information about the Animal Care Assessment Framework and associated programs available on its website.
National commodity or specialized industry group responsibilities:
- ensure a Program Coordinator is in place
- assemble the Program Development Team
- give advance consideration on select aspects of the program (see Appendix B – Prerequisite Considerations for Commodity Associations)
- work closely with NFACC and the Program Coordinator to ensure the process outlined in the Animal Care Assessment Framework is followed
- provide direction to the Program Development Team as to the program’s implementation.
Role of the Program Development Team Chair:
The Chair plays a critical role within the program development process and is important to the success of the program being developed. This individual must work closely with all participants on the Program Development Team and have strong chairperson skills. Responsibilities include:
- ensure the team functions effectively and meets its obligations and responsibilities
- in collaboration with the Program Coordinator, ensure that the appropriate issues are addressed at and between meetings as required
- ensure all team members have the opportunity to be heard during meetings, and that their interactions are respectful and civil
- encourage dialogue that builds consensus and develops teamwork within the team.
Refer to Appendix C for details on the Program Coordinator’s role.
Step Four: The Program Development Team will develop the specific program content following the principles outlined below and in Appendix F – Guiding Principles for Program Development.
Key principles for all programs to meet:
- the program must be based on the Code of Practice and all Code Requirements applicable to the relevant stage of production must be evaluated within the program as mandatory critical areas of management
- the program must utilize all three types of assessment measures (i.e., animal- or outcome-based, input- or resource-based, and management-based)
- the assessment measures must be practical, and, where possible, provide program participants with information on how the measures are linked to improved welfare, better productivity, or other benefits (important for achieving and sustaining buy-in)
- a performance target or critical level given within a Code Requirement must be included in the program unless the Program Development Team agrees to an alternate approach, as outlined on page 11
- clear sampling procedures must be established.
Beyond these principles, which are further explained in the sections that follow, the specific details related to the program’s content will depend on factors external to this framework and will vary depending on the commodity.
The sections below provide information on key elements of program design and are consistent with the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP)approach. Some aspects of the HACCP approach are completed as a Code of Practice is developed.
Assessing Farms based on Codes of Practice
Codes of Practice developed under the NFACC Code development process contain Requirements and Recommended Practices. All Code Requirements applicable to the relevant stage of production must be evaluated within the program as mandatory critical areas of management. Generally, critical areas of management (see glossary) are established as a Code of Practice is developed. Certain assessment measures (see page 11) offer the benefit of covering multiple Requirements at once thereby keeping the program manageable in terms of time and other resources.
Critical Levels and Performance Targets
Using the information in the Code, the team will also agree on critical levels and performance targets for the program. As much as possible, Codes of Practice contain requirements and recommendations that can be implemented, and criteria that can be used to tell whether a given practice or facility is in compliance with the Code.
For certain criteria, it is possible to identify “critical levels” beyond which welfare is expected to be adversely affected. For example, welfare in some species is noticeably affected if ammonia levels in the air exceed 25 ppm. For other measures (e.g., percent lame) there are no critical levels but it may be possible to set or recommend “performance targets”, for example, that no more than 1% of animals should fall while being moved in a facility.
A target or critical level given within a Code Requirement must be used within the program. However, it is acceptable for the Program Development Team to achieve consensus on an alternative approach to meeting prescribed performance targets or critical limits if:
- a rationale for not using a prescribed performance target or critical limit is provided
- there is support/acceptance from all members of the team, including consultative members and,
- an explanation is provided for how the chosen proxy measure addresses the intent of the more prescriptive requirement with respect to animal welfare.
It is at the discretion of the Program Development Team as to which, if any, of the criteria from the Recommended Practices to include in the program. If there is no specific target or level provided in the Code, the Program Development Team can establish one based on research and other acceptable knowledge sources (e.g., expert opinion/experience, anecdotal evidence).
If an alternative or proxy measure is to be used in lieu of a prescribed performance target or critical limit within a Code Requirement, groups with consultative status need to be notified and provided with the option of being fully engaged in that specific deliberation.
Appendix G provides sample Requirements with critical levels or performance targets along with an example of how a performance target within a Recommended Practice could be used.
Identifying the Assessment Measures
A main focus for the Program Development Team will be to decide on the measures that will be used to assess the Code requirements and, if applicable, its recommendations.
Three broad types of assessment measures have been identified: animal- or outcome-based, input- or resource-based, and management-based. Appendix H provides further information along with examples of each type of measure. To have a comprehensive program, all three types of measures must be included in the program. Generally, the team will choose one type as appropriate for the Requirement. Again, a measure that assesses more than one Requirement may be preferred.
Establishing Sampling Procedures
The sampling procedures for assessment of animal- and resource-based measures should ensure that the assessment provides a valid indication of the level of animal care and welfare on a farm within a reasonable time frame. There are science-based approaches for determining sampling procedures, and these are continuously evolving as more research is done on practical welfare assessment.
The Program Development Team will need to consider both the sampling methods (i.e., what stalls/pens to look at, ensuring observations are taken throughout the farm) and sample sizes (mainly, the number of animals to observe for animal-based measures).
The Program Development Team should refer to up-to-date information to determine sampling procedures that are valid and representative—this will ultimately benefit producers by ensuring the assessment is unbiased, fair, and provides them with accurate and useful information about their farm.
Step Five: Test piloting the draft program (optional). Most draft assessment programs go through a test pilot phase and this step is strongly recommended.In many cases, decisions pertaining to a test pilot will be made by the commodity or specialized industry group; however, the Program Development Team should be consulted.
What looks good on paper doesn’t always work in the field—an on-farm pilot phase is one way to test out the program before it is finalized. Are the targets or critical levels appropriate? Do the program documents provide clear and concise information? How much time will the assessment take?
Test piloting is also an excellent way to improve the program by allowing input from a wider group of producers. It is also an opportunity for assessors to practise the assessment protocols. Assessor protocols can also be evaluated during this phase to ensure they provide the instructions assessors need to do the assessments consistently.
Any pilot process should ideally take place in a range of conditions and production systems and include a mechanism for collecting feedback from participating producers and assessors (e.g., questionnaires, feedback forums). This feedback will be incorporated into the final animal care assessment program at the discretion of the Program Development Team.
While some programs that are updated (versus developed for the first time) may not need to go through test piloting, other such programs may benefit from even a small-scale test pilot and/or one that tests only the new components of the program. For some programs, there may be interest in collecting feedback not only before the program is launched but also on an ongoing basis so feedback can be continuously tracked.
Step Six: The Program Coordinator will submit the completed Standard Reporting Form along with supporting materials to NFACC. The Standard Reporting Form provides NFACC with information needed to determine that the procedural requirements of this framework were followed, and it is submitted to NFACC at stages in the program’s development. NFACC personnel is then responsible for conducting an objective review of the completed Standard Reporting Form and supporting materials. NFACC personnel will also contact each member of the Program Development Team to confirm they were meaningfully consulted and support the contents of the assessment program.
There should be an open line of communication between NFACC, the Program Coordinator and the commodity or specialized industry group so that the step of reporting to NFACC is as efficient as possible.
Overall, NFACC’s role is coordinator of the Animal Care Assessment Framework so as to:
- facilitate commodities in the implementation of Codes of Practice by providing an informed framework and useful resources to groups developing or revising an animal care assessment program
- enhance the transparency, legitimacy, and credibility of assessment programs developed according to this framework
- ensure consistency of communications along the value chain
- further develop Canada’s cooperative approach to farm animal care, an approach that can be communicated nationally and internationally, and that builds upon existing initiatives.
More specifically, there are two distinct aspects of NFACC’s role, outlined below.
NFACC’s Role as an Oversight Body
There is a collective interest in ensuring the integrity of the process outlined in this framework so that government, animal welfare organizations, buyers (including processors and the retailer/foodservice sector) and industry associations using it have confidence that the process is consistently applied.
Once NFACC has reviewed the reporting form and determined that all procedural requirements were appropriately met, it will advise NFACC’s Board of Directors, and NFACC will then support the program and recognize its use of the Animal Care Assessment Framework. NFACC’s website will provide information on programs that were developed through the framework.
The following explanatory statement can be included in communication materials related to the program (e.g., on program documents, the industry association’s website):
The content of the <name of program> has been independently reviewed by the National Farm Animal Care Council and found to have met all requirements outlined in Canada’s Animal Care Assessment Framework. This national framework was developed by consensus among multiple stakeholders and sets a credible process for developing animal care assessment programs based on Codes of Practice. More information is available at www.nfacc.ca.
Maintaining NFACC Recognition for Updated Programs
Animal care assessment programs will change over time. This section is for organizations that have already developed an animal care assessment program following the Animal Care Assessment Framework that wish to maintain NFACC recognition as their program evolves.
The process as outlined in this framework is the same for both the development of a new program or a revision to an existing program. The designation must be renewed each time a program is revised. Programs are typically revised following an update or amendment to the Code of Practice. It is expected that Codes will be reviewed at least every five years and updated at least every ten years.
The program must only go through the NFACC process if the changes represent a different interpretation of the Code of Practice or for any other substantive or non-administrative changes. Program administrators are advised to contact NFACC regarding any proposed program changes to confirm whether the use of the framework is necessary in order to maintain the program’s designation.
The decision to continue recognizing a program will follow from a commodity group providing NFACC with the necessary information to determine that the procedural requirements in the framework have been met in the updated program.
Commodity groups wishing to maintain NFACC recognition must summarize the changes made to the program (referring to the program originally recognized by NFACC) and provide evidence that the procedural requirements of the framework have been followed by submitting a completed Standard Reporting Form for Maintaining NFACC Recognition.
Members of the Program Development Team may not all be involved in drafting program edits; however, all members of this committee must be meaningfully consulted throughout the program’s update and must also support the changes.
It is recommended that the original Program Development Team be reconvened given their strong knowledge of the program. Where this is not possible, replacements from the representative stakeholder groups must be brought in with any new representatives named in accordance with Step 3 of the framework.
NFACC personnel will conduct an objective review of the completed standard reporting form and supporting materials and contact each member of the Program Development Team to confirm they were meaningfully consulted throughout the program’s update and that they support the changes. The outcome of the review will be brought forward to NFACC’s board for approval. This might include a presentation by the commodity association as an opportunity to share information about the program and its evolution.
Program Updates for Topics or Practices Not Currently Addressed in a Code of Practice
If an assessment program needs to address a new topic or practice not currently addressed in the Code, it is difficult to follow the Animal Care Assessment Framework, and verify adherence to the framework, since the process is focused on developing program content directly based on the Code of Practice. As such, the commodity group may develop a temporary addendum to the program for use only until the Code is updated to include guidance on the new topic or practice. The program, excluding the addendum, can maintain NFACC recognition if the commodity group:
- communicates to NFACC the context of the addendum noting how a temporary addition to the program is needed to avoid a gap in the animal welfare assessment as well as confirmation of its commitment to updating the Code of Practice and ensure the program is then updated in accordance with the procedural requirements of this framework (timelines should be provided)
- submits the temporary addendum to NFACC so personnel can review it to confirm that the addendum does not conflict with the Code and that it clearly states it is a temporary addendum separate from the NFACC recognized program.
Any use of this policy will be brought forward to NFACC’s board for approval. Codes of Practice are intended to comprehensively address all relevant animal care topics or practices for the species; therefore, use of this policy is expected to be rare.
Withdrawal of the Designation
A program’s designation can be withdrawn by NFACC if program revisions are done outside the framework or the Standard Reporting Form indicates that the procedural requirements were not met.
NFACC’s Role as a National Forum
The NFACC table will serve as a national forum for information sharing and discussions on animal care assessment and Code implementation. In NFACC meetings and conferences, members will also have opportunities to provide updates on the status of their assessment program, its uptake by producers, and share insights on successes and lessons learned.5 This role is referred to herein as “Program Coordinator”; however, the exact role/title will vary across commodities.
Principles for Program Implementation
This section provides an overview of the main factors to consider as part of the implementation strategy for a program. Generally, decisions related to how the program is implemented will be made by the commodity or specialized industry group at a board level rather than by the Program Development Team; however, this committee should be consulted.
- the method of assessment, assessment cycle, and method of reporting the results of the assessment are clearly defined and transparent
- the implementation strategy includes a mechanism intended to encourage continuous improvement in animal care and welfare (e.g., benchmarking, action plans, corrective action requirements)
- the program participants sign a self-declaration attesting that the information they provided during the assessment is true to the best of their knowledge
- the results of the assessment are reviewed by the farmer as well as an external monitor/reviewer (the external reviewer will depend on factors such as the method of implementation, e.g., a mentor, veterinarian, program administrator).
Beyond the list of principles provided above, the specific details related to a program’s implementation strategy will depend on factors external to this framework and will vary depending on the commodity.
Those developing an assessment program are strongly encouraged to consider benchmarking, which can be used before, during and after the program is rolled out. Benchmarking has been described as any learning process structured to enable those involved to compare their practices and performance to that of others or to an agreed upon standard and make changes that result in improvements. Benchmarking is a very valuable tool that can make the assessment programs more valuable to producers by providing them with important information about their farm. The process can also assist with and demonstrate continuous improvement and allows groups to evaluate the effectiveness of their assessment program or other outreach materials.
In the context of animal welfare, there are at least three different ways benchmarking can be used:
(1) Establish a baseline for what is currently happening in an industry
- used to collect data on current producer practices or any conditions affecting animal health and welfare or overall farm productivity (e.g., lameness prevalence, transport times)
- provides important but limited information. The baseline data can be used for future benchmarking or to create goals for the industry. It may also help gauge the appropriateness of certain performance targets or critical levels. However, baseline data is often limited to specific indicators and typically does not provide a complete analysis necessary to develop strategies for addressing any issues.
(2) On-farm comparative analysis with feedback to producers
- used to provide producers with a summary of their performance compared to that of their peers or the Requirements or Recommended Practices in the Code of Practice. Research shows that this type of benchmarking is a valuable learning tool, is viewed positively by producers, and can create motivation for change.
(3) Benchmarking for animal care assessment programs
- while assessment programs are not generally set up as benchmarks, they could be depending on how the program is designed and how information is collected and used internally. For instance, an outcome of an assessment could be the development of a written action plan tailored to the farm. Subsequent assessments could focus on evaluating the effectiveness of those actions and benchmarking the farm’s progress over time.
Methods of Assessment
There are three main methods of program assessment: self-assessments, second-party assessments and third-party audits. These methods are widely recognized by organizations such as the American Society of Quality and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and while they are used in a variety of assessment contexts (e.g., food safety, environmental standards) have been explained below specifically in the context of animal care assessment. Beyond the three main methods of assessment, some programs also incorporate random audits or trigger audits as a component of their overall implementation strategy.
All three assessment methods are interdependent. Programs should be capable of accommodating a coherent system for self-assessment, second-party assessment and third-party audits. The system should ensure that the different methods of assessment complement each other and are as seamless as possible.
The different types of assessment provide different levels of assurance. The method(s) chosen will depend on what the goals of the program are. If the goal of a program is to inform producers about the Code’s requirements and recommendations, a first-party assessment can serve that role. A second-party assessment may provide adequate assurance to suppliers, but if the purpose of a program is to provide assurance to buyers and end consumers, a third-party assessment is recommended.
Self-assessments are conducted by the program participant and are a systematic evaluation to determine the current, historical, or projected compliance of the program participant to a standard. It is the process of critically reviewing the quality of one’s own performance. Self-assessments are conducted on an individual basis and are also referred to as “first party assessments” or “internal audits”.
The key to successfully implementing a program and seeing benefits to animals and producers is farmer ownership of the program; it is advisable to include self-assessments in any program to allow participants to assess their own operation before incorporating other methods of assessment. Self-assessments are excellent tools for measuring continuous improvement and measuring the benefits of those efforts and are therefore used to help achieve and sustain success.
Producers should be involved in assessing their own performance and developing action plans for continuous improvements that are tailored to their own farm circumstances.
Second Party Assessments
Second-party assessments are a conformity assessment that is performed by a customer or any other body that has a formal interest in the party being assessed.
This method of implementation verifies that requirements are being followed or assesses the capability to meet requirements and identifies possible causes of any issues by conducting a comprehensive assessment of the tasks, procedures, and any relevant records. Second party assessments promote partnerships and lead to a better understanding of customer expectations by providing guidance and advice, which will benefit animal care and welfare if the right measures are in place.
A second party assessor reviews the results with the program participant to identify priority areas for improvement and to assist in developing an action plan tailored to the farm. Priorities can be identified and areas not requiring attention can be given less emphasis. This is also an opportunity to highlight things the participant is doing well. A re-assessment cycle is established to monitor progress on action plans and continuously adjust them according to progress made along with ongoing self-assessment results.
Second-party assessments can help make animal welfare a part of the everyday mindset and can provide information on how accurately self-assessments have been conducted. They can also be used to prepare for a third-party audit.
Third party audits validate the program participant’s compliance to a written standard. These audits are usually performed by an auditing organization (e.g., Validus, Silikur, PAACO) or an independent certification body or similar third-party organization that is independent from the party being assessed. Their primary role is to conduct an independent evaluation of animal care and welfare on the farm. As such, third party audits are seen as a credible tool by processors, the retail and foodservice sector, and end consumers. In contrast with a self- or second-party assessment, they do not necessarily aim to educate program participants.
Generally, the implementation of third-party audits will be driven by external forces (e.g., demands of downstream buyers or public expectations). Third party auditors will benchmark the farm against the program standards to provide an assurance to buyers as to the farm’s compliance. This will include verifying that measures of animal care and welfare are within the program’s critical levels and validating that information in records and action plans accurately reflect farm management.
Choosing an Assessment Cycle
An assessment cycle dictating how frequently the assessments will be conducted will need to be established. An ideal approach may be to harmonize with the assessment cycle of pre-existing quality assurance programs. Examples of assessment cycles that have successfully been implemented include:
- second party assessments conducted every three years and self-assessments performed in the intervening years
- second party assessments conducted every seven years and self-assessments performed in the intervening years. As well, in any given year, a percentage of farms undergoing a self-assessment is subject to a random audit as well as trigger audits based on past assessment reports or major changes to the participant’s farm
- a full validation done by a third-party auditor every four years; in the intervening years, either a partial validation by a third party is done or a farmer self-assessment is done. A full validation is an evaluation of all program requirements; partial validations consist of an evaluation of components of the requirements, at least three program recommendations and corrective action requirements. In addition, each year 5% of producers in their self-assessment year are randomly selected for a partial validation
- third-party audits every three years and quarterly or monthly self-assessments.
The addition of random and trigger audits enhances a program’s credibility. Third party audits do not necessarily have to be applied to all farms. Program administrators could have a percentage of farms audited by a third party for enhanced credibility and assurance their program is meeting its goals. Alternatively, a retailer or processor could ask that their supplier farms not be assessed to the existing second party assessment program, but instead by a third-party auditor.
Providing Results of the Assessment
Another factor to consider is how the results of the assessment will be tallied and provided to the producer (e.g., pass/fail; point systems). There are many ways of doing this and the method chosen will depend on the objectives of the assessment. It may also depend on how results of existing quality assurance programs are summarized for producers, particularly if there is an interest in harmonizing the programs.
If various methods are being considered, it may be good to strive to ensure the method chosen:
- can be easily explained to stakeholders (e.g., producers, buyers)
- frames the results positively and acknowledges what the farmer is doing well
- is repeatable across all farms
- is precise enough so that improvements can be tracked over time
- allows producers to know more about the Code of Practice and see how well they are meeting it
- allows producers to understand how the results from their farm compare to those of other farms and how their results change over time.
The method chosen will have implications for how continuous improvement can be tracked. As an example, for most pass/fail programs where all program components must be met, continuous improvement happens and can be tracked at an industry-wide level when you upgrade the requirements or the critical levels/performance targets. Whereas a program whose reporting structure involves a point or grading system assigned to individual farms could potentially track continuous improvement for each farm.
Assessment Programs and the Regulatory Realm
This section outlines considerations regarding how animal care assessment programs may, on rare occasion, intersect with provincial or federal regulations. Provincial governments oversee the enforcement of animal cruelty/neglect legislation; the federal government oversees the enforcement of humane transport legislation.
Animal care assessment programs have a strong potential to proactively address concerns long before they may result in cruelty or neglect. However, appropriate authorities need to be contacted in cases where animal abuse or neglect is observed or where the standards of care are found to be egregiously below those outlined in the Code of Practice. Failure to comply with the requirements of an animal care assessment would not necessarily indicate that animals are being neglected.
Those developing an assessment program are strongly encouraged to consider the following as part of their discussions on program policies or implementation:
- clear protocols for when animal welfare authorities should be notified
- step-by-step procedures taking into consideration all parties involved (e.g., producers, assessors, commodity association staff and regulatory authorities)
- appropriate privacy provisions.
In some provinces, there are agreements in place between the provincial enforcement body and provincial industry association to collaboratively address legitimate complaints of animal cruelty. These existing systems should be factored into any decisions on program policies.
This section outlines broad principles related to producer and assessor training; it should not be interpreted as a comprehensive list of considerations.8 For most animal care assessment programs, especially those that are newly developed rather than updated, a training strategy for both producers and assessors will need to be established. Generally, decisions related to the training strategy will be made by the commodity or specialized industry group at a board level; however, the Program Development Team should assist in identifying training needs. One option may be to employ the services of a company that specializes in assessment training. Alternatively, an internal training program can be created.
Producers may benefit from receiving training for specific program measures, such as gait scoring. Producers who participate in training sessions should be encouraged to record their professional development and should be recognized for their efforts.
A comprehensive training program for assessors:
- will generally be comprised of two phases: firstly, “classroom” training using audio-visual materials that clearly demonstrate examples of all measures (e.g., instructional video on body condition scoring); secondly, field training on sites that represent the spectrum of production systems
- will ensure that assessors
- understand the program’s assessment measures and procedural requirements
- possess a high level of competency for accurate and repeatable assessments (specific protocols should be provided for each measure so the assessments are done correctly and consistently)
- understand the difference between resource- and animal-based assessment, including the different methods employed to assess each
- undergo periodic retraining and calibration.
Providing frequent training, including sessions that focus on calibrating the assessors to standardized protocols, will help ensure that there is consistency in how assessors are seeing, documenting, and scoring the measures across farms. It may also be desirable to have new assessors under supervision and/or mentorship for a period of time to ensure they are competent.
Farm assessments can be variable and include subjective criteria. Also, several factors change over time and influence assessments in farm settings (e.g., facility design, weather/environment, stage of production). Therefore, all those performing animal care assessments will need to have a good understanding of the industry, common production practices, and animal welfare and behaviour in order to understand what they are assessing and report it correctly.
Animal care assessment programs that are amalgamated with other quality assurance programs may have their existing auditors also assess the farm to the animal care component. These assessors will already have a number of core competencies but, for the reasons above, may need additional training for the animal care component.6 Commodity or specialized industry groups that are following the requirements of the Federal-Provincial-Territorial On-Farm Food Safety Recognition Program will most likely have met or exceeded the requirements set out in Section 2 of this framework.7 Pajor, E.A. Benchmarking: the key to measuring improvements in animal welfare. Presentation. National Farm Animal Care Council Conference Advancing Animal Care and Addressing Market Expectations. Oct. 5-6, 2011 (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada).8 In developing the Animal Care Assessment Framework, the Steering Committee agreed that Canada lacks a comprehensive infrastructure for assessor training. The committee has advised that NFACC should facilitate future discussions on this topic.
The diagram below shows the relationship between the Codes of Practice, the Animal Care Assessment Framework, and associated assessment programs. The Codes are the foundation. Step one in this cycle is to use the NFACC Code development process to develop the Code. Then, the process set out in the Animal Care Assessment Framework can be followed to develop an assessment program (with program content based on the Code).
As groups develop species-specific Codes, their input on the Code process can inform future updates to the Code process. Similarly, as groups use the Animal Care Assessment Framework, their input on that process can be used to inform future changes to that process. Lastly, the development of an assessment program can also lead to valuable feedback on the Code, which can be useful when that Code is revised.
Below are aspects of a program that the commodity or specialized industry group should think through ideally before they go too far down the process of program development.
Animal care assessment programs developed according to the Animal Care Assessment Framework are based on the Codes of Practice and their primary goal is to implement a Code of Practice. However, as a first step, the commodity or specialized industry group should agree on specific priorities for the program for both the short and long term. These priorities will guide the way in which the program evolves and can be a useful reference for the Program Development Team.
Program Delivery and Implementation
Decisions on how the program will be implemented and delivered generally evolve with time. Nevertheless, commodity groups should, at a minimum, have concepts in mind at the outset of program development for how program delivery and implementation will occur in order to guide the Program Development Team in their work.
Some broad questions include:
- what is the scope of any existing quality assurance programs and are there ways to avoid redundancies between programs?
- will the program be offered on the same platform as pre-existing quality assurance programs? If yes, are there key people who should serve on the Program Development Team to facilitate this?
- how will the program be managed? What policies need to be established so the program functions efficiently across provinces?
The Animal Care Assessment Framework provides useful information on the main components of an implementation strategy (see pages 13–17).
Consideration should also be given to some type of communications plan as the program is under development, finalized, and implemented. For instance, when and how will producers and other stakeholders be updated about the program? What will be the key messages about the program?
Test Piloting the Draft Program
Will a test pilot be done once the draft program is developed? If yes, consider:
- the funds and other resources that will be needed
- criteria for determining the farms that will be included in the test pilot
- the training that might be needed for those conducting assessments for the test pilot
- how results from the test pilot will be summarized for the Program Development Team.
The Program Coordinator will guide the Program Development Team to create an animal care assessment program, ensuring the NFACC process is followed. The Program Coordinator should be a team player with a background in animal care assessment, along with strong facilitation, communication (written and oral) and critical thinking skills. A willing, positive attitude and open mind are fundamental to the position.
- assume responsibility for the successful development and test piloting (if applicable) of an animal care assessment program
- use the Animal Care Assessment Framework as a guide in carrying out duties
- organize and attend meetings of the Program Development Team (includes preparing minutes as required)
- prepare and revise drafts of the animal care assessment program as required
- ensure communications/documents (via email, print, and at meetings/teleconferences) are available in both official languages as necessary
- facilitate the discussions of the Program Development Team such that members are heard and able to communicate their views
- provide a print-ready copy of the animal care assessment program once complete.
The Program Coordinator will report to the commodity association or specialized industry and is also responsible for liaising with NFACC throughout the program’s development and providing NFACC with detailed updates on how the Animal Care Assessment Framework is being followed.
The Animal Care Assessment Framework provides a credible process to follow when developing animal care assessment programs based on the Codes of Practice. The Codes are nationally developed guidelines for the care and handling of the different species of farm animals. They are intended to promote sound management and welfare practices through recommendations and requirements for housing, management, transportation, and other animal husbandry practices. Animal care assessment programs have long been in place in some sectors and are a key way to demonstrate that a Code of Practice has been implemented on farm.
Objectives and Responsibilities
The role of the Program Development Team is to develop the animal care assessment program according to the principles and process outlined in the Animal Care Assessment Framework and using the information contained in the relevant Code of Practice. The selection of Program Development Team members is a critically important task. While representatives on the team are expected to consult with their constituents, they must also be empowered and entrusted to represent and negotiate in the best interests of their constituents. Final decisions pertaining to the content of the program are the purview of the Program Development Team.
Working with the Program Coordinator and NFACC, other responsibilities include:
- be an active participant in meetings and teleconferences, collaborate with other team members and contribute to the development of the program
- represent the interests of the association they represent and consult with constituents as needed
- consult with stakeholders external from the team as appropriate and consider any input that may come via a test pilot of the program. In the case where an existing animal care program is being revised, the team will also consider any feedback collected over the course of the program’s implementation
- provide a summary of feedback related to the relevant Code of Practice (which will be of use when that Code is eventually revised)
- compile feedback on the procedures and resources provided in the Animal Care Assessment Framework so that it can be improved over time.
Consultative status may be requested by a required stakeholder organization when approached to participate on a Program Development Team. Consultative status is offered as an option to create a mechanism for meaningful input and consultation on key areas of concern while recognizing the resource limitations of some stakeholder groups. Consultative status should not create delays in the overall program’s development.
Consultative status on animal care assessment programs must include early engagement whereby those stakeholders who decline full representation around the table are solicited relative to important issues to be addressed. Stakeholders requesting consultative status must provide their input at the start of the program development process by clearly articulating no more than 3–4 key areas of concern relative to issues needing consideration within the program, which may include a preferred approach on those issues.
Checkpoints in time for updates/reporting back to those with consultative status will need to be identified (and 1–2 times a year would be considered sufficient, as an example). Updates and reporting back should include advising how previously identified key areas of concern are being addressed. All reasonable efforts should be made to address key areas of concern to the satisfaction of participants with consultation status; however, the Program Development Team is not required to take the direction requested by those with such status. Participants who hold consultative status must promptly bring forward any issues in this regard to the commodity group and/or NFACC.
The demonstration of “meaningful consultation” would include documentation from reporting back sessions, a log of meeting dates and agendas, and evidence that the Program Development Team had fulsome discussions on key areas of concern (e.g., meeting notes). If a key concern cannot be addressed in the manner desired by those with consultative status, a rationale for not doing so needs to be provided. An acceptable rationale includes evidence of impracticableness, lack of scientific support, or economic consequences.
With the consultative process having been appropriately followed, participants with consultative status are expected to accept the outcome of the Program Development Team’s decisions.
If an alternative or proxy measure is to be used in lieu of a prescribed performance target or critical limit within a Code Requirement, groups with consultative status need to be notified and provided with the option of being fully engaged in that specific deliberation.
- Programs must be based on the Code of Practice for the species and/or industry involved. As needed, the Program Development Team may also rely on the Scientific Committee Report or other scientific research to guide the program’s development. Other acceptable sources include existing assessment programs, expert opinion/experience and anecdotal evidence.
- Programs must be developed such that all relevant stakeholders have meaningful input and buy-in to the program. Relevant stakeholders include, but are not limited to:
- those who will be assessed (e.g., producers, animal handlers)
- those doing research in animal welfare
- those trained in and conducting animal welfare assessments (e.g., veterinarians, PAACO certified auditors)
- those requiring proof of assurance (e.g., retailers, foodservice sector, animal welfare groups)
- Programs should provide tangible benefits to the producers who implement them. The act of reviewing processes and taking a systematic look at an operation builds efficiency, productivity and financial viability, since “you manage what you measure”. Good animal husbandry generally leads to lower costs and improved returns. In addition, the marketability of animal products is enhanced when good animal care and welfare can be demonstrated.
- Programs should not be cumbersome, but based on simple, effective strategies. Efforts should be focused on priority welfare areas first, to keep programs manageable, practical and effective.
- Programs should strive to include measures that are:
- scientifically valid - the extent to which they measure what they are intended to measure and/or accurately assess animal welfare
- repeatable - the degree of similarity in the observations made by those using the measure
- reliable - the extent to which the results may vary depending on factors such as the point at which they are used
- feasible - in terms of the time required, cost and other logistics
- Ideally, all aspects of the program will be objective, including the assessment measures and the questions asked of program participants
- Programs should be reviewed regularly, particularly following an update to the relevant Code(s) of Practice
- Program details must be publicly available once a program is finalized and implemented.
Sample Requirement with a critical level:
A Code of Practice could theoretically include the following requirement: “The concentration of ammonia in indoor facilities must not exceed 25ppm.”
The critical area of management is the requirement overall (air quality - specifically, ammonia). The critical limit is 25ppm and the team could decide that this will be assessed first by human observation (i.e., by smell or irritation to the eyes) and if a problem is suspected, it can be measured by use of litmus paper or other means that provide a more accurate concentration range.
Sample Requirement with a performance target:
Codes of Practice might also include a Requirement such as “Sick pens must be available and must provide shelter, bedding, dryness, and a source of feed and water.”
Here, the critical areas of management are the facilities provided to sick animals. The “target” to achieve is having a sick pen with the provisions listed in the Requirement. This Requirement could be assessed by viewing the sick pen at the time of the assessment and by asking the producer to describe his/her bedding practices etc. for the sick pens.
Sample showing how a performance target provided in a Recommended Practice could be used:
Some Codes include a Requirement regarding lameness, such as “Lame animals must be diagnosed early and either treated, culled or euthanized.” And they may also provide a Recommended Practice, such as “Routinely observe animals for lameness and aim for a prevalence of <10% for severe lameness.”
A performance target of <10% of animals with severe lameness is provided by the Recommended Practice. The team could decide to evaluate this Requirement by including gait scoring as part of the program and they could further require that producers work to achieve the performance target of <10% severe lame.
The three types of assessment measures are animal- or outcome-based; input- or resource-based; and management-based. An overview of each is provided below.
Animal- or Outcome-Based Measures
Input- or Resource-Based Measures
Assess the actual state of the animal
Assess aspects of the animals’ environment
Assess the overall level of management, including animal care procedures
Observing that all animals are able to lie down at the same time without lying on top of each other
Assessing the body condition scores of animals
Measuring that 120 ft² per cow of resting area is provided in a bedded-pack barn
A written standard operating procedure for identifying and caring for sick animals is available
Reviewing that all haulers are trained and hold certification in a trucker quality assurance program
1Note: the information in Appendix H is consistent with the OIE document ‘Guidance from the Animal Welfare Working Group to ad hoc groups on the development of animal welfare standards’ (2010).
Steering Committee Members
Chicken Farmers of Canada
Canadian Cattlemen’s Association
Canadian Pork Council
Dairy Farmers of Canada
Dairy Farmers of Canada
Anne Marie de Passillé Ph.D.
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Ed Pajor Ph.D
University of Calgary
Tina Widowski Ph.D
University of Guelph
Canadian Federation of Humane Societies (BC SPCA)
Loblaw Companies Limited
Jorge Correa Ph.D
Canadian Meat Council
J. Woods Livestock Services
Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food and Ontario Ministry of Rural Affairs
The Steering Committee would like to thank Thérèse Beaulieu for her contributions to this project and acknowledge the following people who served on the committee: Pauline Duivenvoorden DVM and Bruno Letendre (committee members from March 2011 - October 2012), Bianca Kitts (committee member from July 2011 - August 2012) and David Smith (committee member from March 2011- June 2013). The contributions of all committee members is greatly appreciated.
The Animal Care Assessment Framework is supported by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Agricultural Flexibility Fund, as part of Canada’s Economic Action Plan.