NFACC Information Update May 2023
- Closing off the Advancing Animal Welfare and Public Trust Through Codes of Practice project
- Future Codes Plans
- NFACC in the news
- Upcoming events
The project, “Advancing Animal Welfare and Public Trust Through Codes of Practice” is ending. It’s now time to reflect upon what has been achieved and lessons learned. Three Codes of Practice have been updated or developed during this project:
- Canada’s first ever Code of Practice for the care and handling of farmed salmonids was released in November of 2021,
- The Code of Practice for the care and handling of goats was updated and released in November of 2022,
- The Code of Practice for the care and handling of dairy cattle was updated and released in March of 2023.
These Codes are now part of a family of Codes developed through NFACC’s collaborative, multi-stakeholder, and consensus-based process.
We also hit road bumps along the way, notably with updating the transportation Code of Practice (more details are below). What follows is a summary with links for more information.
Dairy Cattle Code
The new Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Dairy Cattle was released on March 30, 2023. Accompanying the updated Code was a What We Heard and How We Addressed It report summarizing how input from the comment period was considered. The new dairy cattle Code, along with an abundance of other resources can be found at: www.nfacc.ca/codes-of-practice/dairy-cattle.
The new Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Goats was released November 18, 2022. A What We Heard and How We Addressed It report summarizing how input from the comment period was considered, along with a list of goat welfare research needs is also available. The new goat Code, along with the Scientific Committee report and other resources can be found at: www.nfacc.ca/codes-of-practice/goats.
Farmed Salmonids Code
Canada’s first ever Code of Practice for the Care of Handling of Farmed Salmonids was released November 9, 2021. A What We Heard and How We Addressed It report summarizing how input from the comment period was considered, along with a list of farmed salmonids research needs is also available. The new farmed salmonids Code, along with the Scientific Committee report other resources can be found at www.nfacc.ca/codes-of-practice/farmed-salmonids.
As those of you who have followed the progress of the update to the 2001 Transport Code know, NFACC put a pause on this project in the summer of 2022. The NFACC Board has now decided that no further action will be taken by NFACC to update the Code.
We recognize that many of you are disappointed in this development, and we understand and share in that disappointment. However, it is our hope that this communication will help explain how and why we arrived at our decision. In addition, we would like to share some of the lessons learned.
By way of background, when this update was initiated in 2018, it promised to be a challenging and complex undertaking; a multi-species Transport Code covering animals from 14 national on-farm Codes.
Since that time, intervening events have only increased the challenges in updating this Code. These include:
- Lack of a national lead organization. The absence of a national livestock and poultry transport organization meant there was no lead to undertake the many roles and responsibilities in shepherding a Code to its conclusion.
- The pandemic. After February 2020, Code Working Groups and the Code Committee were unable to meet in person, a crucial element and one that facilitates the consensus-building so essential to the process.
- An evolving regulatory environment. Shortly after the project began, federal regulations around animal welfare in transport were materially and significantly amended. The Health of Animals Regulations Part XII: Transport of Animals were heavily revised and evergreen Interpretive Guidance added. New, robust regulations and an Interpretive Guidance, combined with the lack of a national lead, made it difficult to envision the role and purpose of an updated Code.
Early in 2022, it was clear that despite best efforts and a strong desire to update this Code, it would not be possible to meet its completion date of March 31, 2023.
To review all potential options and next steps as comprehensively and inclusively as possible, NFACC undertook a Risk Assessment (RA) and Collaboration Planning Exercise (CPE). This two-phase data collection process was undertaken from November 2022 to February 2023. An executive summary of the RA and CPE is available here.
The RA identified potential options and the inherent risks (threats and opportunities) associated with each course of action, while the CPE examined the top priorities of NFACC and project stakeholders in determining next steps. A careful review of the RA and CPE findings supported the conclusion that the Code update could not proceed.
While the destination wasn’t what we envisioned when we started down this road in 2018, nevertheless, there were many positive aspects that emerged from the project, including:
- The alignment of the transportation sections of 11 on-farm Codes with the updated Health of Animals Regulations.
- The opportunity for stakeholders to participate and collaborate.
- The gathering of information through a top-of-mind survey and report, which assisted NFACC in gaining greater awareness of current evolving concerns of stakeholders and interested parties.
- Greater sharing of inter-industry information and enhanced communication.
- Affirmation of NFACC’s role and the guardrails in place to support CDP work.
We hope this summary and the detailed information contained in the links explains how NFACC arrived at the decision not to proceed with a Transport Code update.
Thank you for sharing our interest in and commitment to farm animal welfare in Canada.
Funded in part by the Government of Canada under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership’s AgriAssurance Program, a federal, provincial, territorial initiative.
A measure of the trust that NFACC continues to engender is the next generation of Codes in the queue for updates. The Hatching Eggs, Breeders, Chickens and Turkeys Code, as well as the Beef Cattle, Equine, Pigs, and Sheep Codes are all slated for updates over the next five years.
It’s important to remember that while NFACC’s operations are funded through membership dollars, Code of Practice updates require NFACC (through Animal Health Canada, of which NFACC is a division) to apply for project funding. A new funding application is in the works through the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership (Sustainable CAP) program.