NFACC Information Update September 2020

In this issue: 


The Code of Practice for the care and handling of pigs was released in 2014. In March 2019 a Code Technical Panel was established to undertake the pig Code’s 5 year review.

The Code Technical Panel (CTP) also needed to address a requirement in Section 1.1.2 of the pig Code that stipulated “greater freedom of movement,” with suitable options being “clarified by the participating stakeholders by July 1, 2019, as informed by scientific evidence.” As such, the decision was made to combine the 5 year Code review process with the Code amendment process, given that an amendment to the pig Code was inevitable. The CTP therefore also served as a Code Amendment Committee with representation from all required participants (click here for a list of members). 

The Five-Year Review Summary Report – Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Pigs outlines the complexities of the issues deliberated by the CTP, the agreements and recommendations made (including proposed amendments to the pig Code), projections for group housing, and a detailed literature review of research priorities and gaps that were identified during the 2014 pig Code’s development. It is a broad summary of the work undertaken by the CTP and provides important context for the proposed amendments to the pig Code.

Unlike a Code update (where the entire Code is open to possible revisions), a Code amendment has a limited scope, relating to a limited set of topics or sections of the Code of Practice. Subsequent to the pig Code’s 5-year Code review, five specific amendments are being proposed within the following sections:

Section 1.1.2 - Gestating Gilts and Sows
Section 1.1.6 - Boars
Section 1.2.1 - Sow Space Allowances
Section 3.4.1 - Recognizing Sickness Behaviour
Section 4.2 - Stockmanship Skills Related to Animal Welfare

The next step in the Code amendment process is the 60-day Public Comment Period (PCP), which begins Monday, September 21, 2020 and ends Thursday, November 19, 2020. The on-line PCP is available from

While only proposed amendments to the pig Code will be open for public comment, it is important to reflect upon the content of the entire Five-Year Review Summary Report – Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Pigs when providing comments. This is a substantial 137 page report. Hence, we’ve developed a “What You Need to Know” clickable document to highlight helpful details and aid in navigating the report.


Farmed Salmonid Code

Over the summer, the Code Development Committee held five online meetings to firm up all aspects of the draft Code of Practice for farmed salmonids (salmon, trout, charr). The committee is now pleased to announce that the public comment period for this Code will start on November 2, 2020 and run until January 7, 2021. On November 2, all stakeholders will be able to access the draft Code through the online system at A press release will announce the beginning of the public comment period.

The Scientific Committee’s research report on priority welfare issues is now finalized following a peer review, and it will be released publicly when the draft Code is released for its public comment period.

Beyond the findings of the report and the knowledge and hands-on experience of Code Committee members, the draft Code was informed by the results of NFACC’s 2019 survey asking stakeholders for their top-of-mind thoughts on fish welfare. The public comment period is a critically important second outreach to all stakeholders and one that will allow direct input on proposed requirements and recommendations developed through the Code Committee’s nearly two-year collaborative effort.

Previous progress reports are available here.

Dairy Cattle Code

Over the summer, the Code Committee’s main activity was an online meeting focused on updating the chapter on pre-transport preparations. As with the current dairy cattle Code of Practice, the updated Code will have an on-farm scope, and the actual transportation process will be covered by the transportation Code of Practice. The committee agreed that the goal of dairy producers should always be to produce healthy, sound cull cows and to make improvements throughout the Code in support of this. Their discussion mainly focused on assessing fitness for transport most notably assessing gait and body condition with an eye to how long the animal may be transported or otherwise in the marketing system. Beyond this, the group discussed appropriate dry off strategies as well specific considerations for calves.

Several subcommittee calls are planned for this fall to put the finishing touches on the draft feed and water chapter, revisit key topics in the health chapter, and begin detailed work on the housing chapter.

The Scientific Committee is in the final stages of addressing valuable input from peer reviewers on their draft report on priority welfare issues.

Previous progress reports are available here.

Goat Code

In July 2020 the goat Code Development Committee [CDC] – in an effort to rebound from earlier Covid-19 interruptions – embarked on a rigorous schedule of virtual sub-committee and regular CDC meetings. Over the course of three months, the CDC has made steady progress on all facets of the Code development process. With the completion of the goat Scientific Committee Report (which will be publicly released when the draft Code is released for its public comment period in December), the CDC has also been able to review and draw upon key research material. During the course of regular, two-hour, “Weekly Wednesday” sessions, Code committee leads have presented the entire CDC with updates, revisions, and proposed content material (developed by their respective sub-committees) regarding their respective Code sections. In turn, all sub-committees have received constructive feedback from the entire CDC that have been reviewed and integrated into all respective chapters.

Weekly collaborations have enabled the CDC to carefully integrate, balance, and reinforce respective sections of all Code chapters. Weekly sessions have also contributed to the development of a highly efficient working relationship among CDC members. While one issue was forwarded to the NFACC Executive for content-related guidance, the committee has been very successful in achieving consensual positions on even complex/delicate matters.

The Code is now rapidly nearing completion (i.e., with regard to the version that will be forwarded to NFACC in advance of the 60 day Public Comment Period commencing in December). With the Code committee having invested a great deal of time, thought, and deliberation in a collective effort to develop an updated Code (i.e., one that strikes a progressive balance between philosophical idealism and pragmatic realism), it will be very gratifying to receive and review public feedback in the New Year.

Previous progress reports are available here.

Transportation Code

Progress continues on the Livestock and Poultry Transportation Code of Practice. The full 23-member Code Development Committee (CDC) is scheduled to meet in its entirety for the first time in September. Given that the feasibility of holding in-person meetings continues to be out-of-reach, once again, the CDC will meet using an online platform. Prior to this meeting, the CDC had only met in smaller group sizes based on members’ availability over multiple sessions. The September meeting will be used to give the full committee the opportunity to hear about the day-to-day experiences, first-hand knowledge, and insights of the three livestock and one poultry transporter representatives. Following this online meeting, three of the five sub-committees that were recently established are expected to commence work in mid-fall.

In addition, the roster for the Intermediary Sites Working Group (WG) has been populated, and an inaugural online meeting for that group will be scheduled for fall, as well. The meeting will be used to orient the WG members to NFACC, the NFACC Code process, and the amended process that the Transportation Code project is following. It will also provide the opportunity for stakeholders to “meet” each other and to gain a better understanding about their roles and expectations moving forward. The Poultry Catching and Transportation WG, the Hatchery Transport WG, and the Mink/Fox/Rabbit WG continue to fine-tune their sections in the Code. All eight species-specific Working Groups will have the opportunity to review and add to the common Code elements with animal-specific text as the Code Development Committee and its sub-committees populate content.

Previous progress reports are available here.

For information on the steps of the Code development process and progress of the Codes being updated follow this link.

Funding for this project has been provided through the AgriAssurance Program under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a federal–provincial–territorial initiative.


Since its work got underway in May 2020, the Code Amendment Committee has made great progress having had an orientation on NFACC’s amendment process and working together in four online sessions to discuss topics being considered as part of the amendment (topics available here). The committee has discussed all topics open for amendment, and subsequent meetings will focus on confirming agreement on proposed amendments to the handling and body condition sections, revisit an option being considered for nest box access, and continue discussions on pen sizes and euthanasia methods.


The National Farmed Animal Health and Welfare Council is pleased to announce the release of the new and improved Canadian Livestock Transport (CLT) training program.

The New CLT program content aligns with current best practice and evolving legislative requirements. To learn more about the program or register for training, please visit


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