NFACC Information Update August 2022
- 2021-2022 NFACC Achievements Report released
- Episode Two of NFACC-Conversations podcast released
- Update on Codes of Practice under revision/development
- NFACC in the news
- Upcoming events
The latest project Achievements Report is available at: Achievement Reports (nfacc.ca). The report summarizes the accomplishments and progress made in the project, Advancing Animal Welfare and Public Trust Through Codes of Practice, along with other notable developments and “did you know” snippets regarding the National Farm Animal Care Council.
The second episode of the NFACC Conversations podcast featuring a retail, restaurant, and foodservice panel discussion is available at: National Farm Animal Care Council - Podcasts (nfacc.ca).
Panel members were:
- Angela Griffiths, Vice President of Food Safety, Quality Assurance and Animal Welfare, A & W,
- Jason McLinton, Vice President of the Grocery Division and Regulatory Affairs, Retail Council of Canada,
- Paolo Dimanno, Senior Director of Strategic Sourcing, Recipe Unlimited,
- Michael Yarymowich, Director, Sustainability, Aramark.
They provided their perspectives on the value and use of, and expectations for, the Codes of Practice; how food companies can support the achievability of Codes of Practice; expectations for on-farm animal care assessment programs; thoughts around the “citizen-consumer paradox” when it comes to food purchases; and much more.
Dairy Cattle Code
Since the public comment period ended, the entire Code Committee (or subcommittees) have met 17 times, including a two-day hybrid meeting with most committee members joining in-person (Montreal, QC) and all others joining online. These meetings initially focused on how best to organize and analyse the input from the more than 5,884 comment period participants. Later meetings focused on general principles of the Code update, namely economic implications of some potential changes, general comments on the Code overall, and other topics that apply throughout the Code and therefore benefit from being considered at once.
A brief summary of the quantitative analysis done about this record-setting comment period is available here.
Committee members, observers, the industry liaison, and NFACC personnel collaborated on summaries of the input received during the comment period. These summaries are proving to be indispensable towards helping the committee understand not only the main perspectives brought forward (often very diverse in nature) but also the more detailed technical points. Given how important housing is to all stakeholders and the especially high volume of input on the housing chapter, additional analysis of the housing comments was done to identify the main themes from all the input. These themes, and other insights from the comment period, will be summarized in an eventual report to be published alongside the final updated Code of Practice.
Thanks to the committee’s hard work, they have finalized the Feed and Water chapter, Husbandry Practices chapter, most key housing topics, and a short first chapter on training and responsibilities. We’ll resume a busy schedule of meetings in the fall focusing on cattle health, euthanasia, preparation for transport, and the remaining housing topics.
Previous progress reports are available here.
As it has done throughout the entire span of the goat Code development process, the goat Code development committee undertook yet another series of intense, week-over-week (frequently multi-week), virtual meetings that concluded on July 18th, 2022. The Code committee is very pleased to announce that they have now reached consensus on the final Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Goats, which will be published this fall. A report summarizing how input from both the public comment period and the Top-of Mind survey (done at the outset of this project) was considered will be published alongside the final Code.
Not surprisingly, the main issues identified through the top-of-mind survey (housing, painful procedures, feed and water, transportation, and health management) corresponded closely with the topics in the draft Code that generally received the most comments during both the public comment period and the subsequent Code committee deliberations. It is a tribute to the commitment and dedication of all Code committee members in successfully reaching an agreement on a single Code that spanned care and handling protocols commensurate with dairy, meat, fibre, and hobby related sectors.
Previous progress reports are available here.
An update to the 2001 transportation Code has been underway since December 2018. This multi-species Code of Practice, covering animals from 14 national on-farm Codes, has been a massive undertaking. Additionally:
- It has had to take into consideration robust federal regulations governing the transportation of animals in Canada (Health of Animals Regulations (HAR) Part XII: Transport of Animals), the long-awaited update of which was published in February 2019 along with an “evergreen” Interpretive Guidance for Regulated Parties.
- The COVID 19 pandemic hit in 2020 halting all in-person meetings and requiring the nine Working Groups and the Code Development Committee to meet exclusively online. This was a huge learning curve for many and impeded the relationship-building opportunities and open dialogue that in-person meetings offer.
- It is the first Code using NFACC’s Code development process that is not intended for on-farm use, and included the care of animals during transportation as well as when offloaded at specific types of intermediary sites.
- It was initiated by NFACC versus a national stakeholder group representing transporters and other primary stakeholders, which has led to additional challenges in following the Code development process.
At the outset it was recognized that this complex Code required all the time afforded under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership’s (CAP) AgriAssurance Program time allowance. Unfortunately, over the last several months it has become apparent that a finalized transportation Code is not achievable by the CAP program end date of March 31, 2023. Initially, attention was focused on finding alternative means for completing this Code. However, in recent months further challenges surrounding the lack of national lead organizations have led to concerns with proceeding to update the transportation Code. It has become prudent to take stock of the issues being raised and consider alternative approaches for addressing humane transportation of livestock and poultry.
After deliberations with varied perspectives being brought forward, the NFACC board agreed, and secured support from our project funders, to pursue a Risk Assessment (RA) coupled with a Collaboration Planning Exercise (CPE). It was further agreed that RA & CPE are the soundest approach to:
- Make best use of the time remaining under the current project to identify a path forward,
- Ensure that we make best use of the time and funding already invested,
- Ensure that we make best use of content developed to date through the project,
- Unite the diverse interests around humane transportation into an achievable and cohesive plan,
- Ensure that any decisions are consistent with NFACC’s mission and processes (and risk tolerances),
- Ensure that we identify a viable path forward for the future.
Additionally, transporters and intermediary site operators are key stakeholders who need to be more formally involved/engaged in a way that facilitates sector-wide inclusivity. Hence, the remainder of the project will focus on conducting a RA and CPE with the goal of determining viable options that can be operationalized with the broad support of stakeholders.
Thank you to the many people who have participated in working groups and committees. There is a wealth of information in the work already produced under this project activity and a strong desire has been expressed to make best use of the content that has been developed to date. Both the RA and CPE are expected to provide possible approaches for further consideration (e.g., incorporating transportation within commodity-specific Codes of Practice).
It should also be noted that while updating the transportation Code by March 2023 is not possible, much has already been accomplished through this project. Aside from progress on various drafts of the transportation Code:
- The transportation sections of 11 on-farm Codes were aligned with the new Health of Animals Regulations, an effort that required a significant investment of resources from 2019 until early 2022. The transportation Code team undertook this massive effort and worked with national livestock and poultry groups and CFIA.
- A substantial update to the Environmental Scan of Regulatory and Operational Considerations report was undertaken in 2019, which included incorporating significant updates from both the Health of Animals Regulations and the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations.
- A survey at the outset of the project captured top-of-mind concerns related to humane transportation with a report produced.
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.
Funded in part by the Government of Canada under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership’s AgriAssurance Program, a federal, provincial, territorial initiative.