Dairy Cattle




Start: January 2019
Public comment period: November 29, 2021 - January 27, 2022
Projected completion: March 2023 
Code development timeline



Code Development Committee members

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


Committee Member


Code Manager

Caroline Ramsay



David Wiens (Chair)

Dairy Farmers of Canada


Dave Taylor

Dairy Farmers of Canada


Pascal Leduc

Yvan Bastien (2019 – 2022)

Dairy Farmers of Canada


Steve Runnalls

Dairy Farmers of Canada


Gerrit Damsteegt

Dairy Farmers of Canada


Several representatives with knowledge and expertise will serve in this capacity. DFC requested a transportation representative, but the position was not filled. 


Dr. Kelly BarrattCanadian Veterinary Medical Association

National animal welfare association

Dr. Jeff Rushen

Humane Canada

Provincial animal protection enforcement authority

Mike Draper

Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

Provincial government representative with responsibilities in animal welfare

Dr. Jane Pritchard 

British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture (retired)

Retail and food service organization

No representative at this time



Marie Ly

Dairy Processors Association of Canada

Federal government   

Jean Lambert

Lucille McFadden (2019 – 2021)

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada


Dr. Trevor DeVries

Co-Chairs of the Scientific Committee


Dr. Elsa Vasseur

Co-Chairs of the Scientific Committee

Technical Expert

Steve AdamValacta

Program implementation expert

Chantal FleuryLes Producteurs de lait du Québec
Program implementation expertGuy SéguinDairy Farmers of Ontario
Allied industry representativeBrian KeunenCanadian Veal Association
Allied industry representativeKirk JacksonCanadian Cattlemen’s Association

Scientific Committee members 


Named by

Dan Weary, D.Phil

Canadian Society of Animal Science (CSAS)

Elsa Vasseur, PhD (Co-Chair)

International Society for Applied Ethology (ISAE) (Canadian chapter) 

Trevor DeVries, PhD (Co-Chair)

International Society for Applied Ethology (ISAE) (Canadian chapter)

Charlotte Winder, DVM, DVSc

Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) 

Todd Duffield, DVM, DVSc

Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA)

Steven Roche, PhD

Research Writer


Priority welfare issues for the Scientific Committee report

The Code Development Committee and Scientific Committee collectively identified the following list of priority welfare issues. The Scientific Committee is developing a report synthesizing the results of research relating to these animal welfare issues.

Cow-calf separation

  • effects of immediate or delayed separation
  • optimal approaches to separation  

Optimal management and design of indoor systems as it relates to

  • stall design
  • bedding
  • exercise
  • spatial allowance/stocking density, including impact on social interactions
  • air quality and temperature (for calves and cows)
  • outdoor access (pasture and alternatives)

Pain control for painful conditions and procedures

  • main principles
  • mastitis, metritis, diarrhea, and dystocia
  • pain associated with caustic paste disbudding
  • surgical and post surgical

Lameness and injuries

  • risk factors
  • prevention strategies
  • early identification and treatment, including pain control
  • understanding farm-level barriers to reducing occurrence

End-of-life management (culling, euthanasia, and fitness for transport)

  • prognosis and decision-making for vulnerable cows
  • nursing care for down cows
  • link to dry off and culling

Dairy Code of Practice PDFCURRENT CODE (2009)

The current Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Dairy Cattle was released in 2009.

There are various ways to view the Code: the full HTML version, the PDF version (1.3 MB) or select from the Table of Content below. 

There are a limited number of hard copies of this Code. NFACC encourages use of the electronic version and does not store hard copies. 

Other Resources

Table of Contents (2009)

Section 1 Accommodation, Housing, and Handling Facilities
Section 2 Feed and Water
Section 3 Health and Welfare Management
Section 4 Husbandry Practices
Section 5 Transportation
Section 6 Euthanasia
Appendix A- Assembly Yards and Sales Yards
Appendix B- Temperature - Humidity Index Table
Appendix C- Flowchart for Evaluating Free Stalls
Appendix D- Flowchart for Evaluating Tie Stalls
Appendix E- Body Condition Scoring Chart
Appendix F- Gait Scoring System for Dairy Cows
Appendix G- Guidelines for Dealing with Compromised Cattle
Appendix H- Should this Animal be Loaded?
Appendix I- Livestock Transport Consignment Form
Appendix J- Euthanasia of Cattle
Appendix K- Resources for Further Information
Appendix L- Participants

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