Progress Reports

Ninth meeting – June 6 and 7, 2017  

The Code development committee held its ninth and final meeting on June 6 and 7. The focus was to make final changes to the Code with consideration to input from the public comment period (which ran from December 12, 2016 to February 14, 2017). The committee continued to work productively and accomplished its goal of reaching consensus on the entire draft.

Committee members also provided greatly appreciated input on NFACC’s Code development process.  Overall, they noted that the project was a tremendous undertaking but one that was very rewarding. The opportunity to hear from all areas of the veal industry and to work collaboratively with all stakeholders were identified as key benefits. The committee also agreed that having observers join throughout the process from the beef, dairy and milk processor sectors was a strength and is a model for future cattle Code updates. Additional feedback included ensuring the Scientific Committees are well resourced in terms of the timeline of their work and number of researchers on the committee. Effective strategies for broad participation during the comment period should continue to be a priority, particularly from producers, veterinarians, and researchers.

The Code will now be updated and reviewed one final time by all committee members and readied for publication and distribution in the fall of 2017.

Eighth meeting – March 23 and 24, 2017 

This meeting was focused on reviewing the draft Code in the context of input received during the public comment period (which ran from December 12, 2016 to February 14, 2017). The Code Committee noted the very active participation in this comment period which garnered 1000 submissions (and approximately 11,000 actual comments). 

In advance of their face-to-face meeting, committee members reviewed the comments and several teleconferences were held enabling subcommittees to do preliminary work on five chapters of the Code. This advance work helped make for a productive meeting: the committee finalized four chapters (Roles and Responsibilities, Calf Selection and Care of New Arrivals, Transport, and Euthanasia) and worked through several sections under Housing and Feed and Water.    

A ninth and final meeting is scheduled for June 2017. 

Seventh meeting – October 18 and 19, 2016

The Code Committee met for the 7th and final face-to-face meeting prior to the upcoming public comment period. The meeting involved a review of all draft Code sections with committee members each offering prepared comments and recommended edits throughout.  

After much discussion on several key sections of the draft Code, the committee was able to reach consensus on the draft. The Code will now be revised to reflect changes made during the meeting, reviewed once more by all members, and then submitted to NFACC for preparation prior to its release for public feedback.

The committee will meet again in March, 2017 to review input received during the public comment period. 

Sixth meeting – August 31 and September 1, 2016 

Held in Ottawa, meeting 6 allowed the Code Committee to finish the draft chapters on housing and feeding. The Code Committee then discussed management of iron deficiency anemia.

The peer review of the Scientific Committee report on priority welfare issues has been underway since mid-July. The Scientific Committee is currently working on revisions to the report based on the input from the five researchers who kindly agreed to serve as peer reviewers.

The next Code Committee meeting is scheduled for late October 2016. This will be the final meeting prior to the 60-day public comment period. 

Fifth meeting – June 28 and 29, 2016 

Meeting 5 was held in Guelph and began with an overview of the Scientific Committee’s research summaries on anemia and flooring and bedding. The Code Committee then turned its attention to the Housing chapter, which was the main focus for this meeting. Building on preliminary discussions in a previous meeting, the Code Committee made great progress drafting requirements and recommended practices for key housing sections including young animal housing, cattle in groups and flooring.

In addition, the Code Committee reviewed the statement on the scope of the Code (which will appear in the introduction). In addition to milk- and grain-fed veal cattle, this Code will also encompass dairy-beef calves in the starting period (when housing and management systems more closely resemble veal production rather than cow-calf operations covered in the beef cattle Code).

A highlight of this meeting was a visit to a local grain-fed veal farm, which gave the Code Committee a greatly appreciated opportunity to move its discussions from “the boardroom to the field!”

The next meeting is scheduled for end of August 2016. In the meantime, subcommittee work will continue by teleconference. As all chapters of the Scientific Committee report have now been drafted and reviewed by the Code committee, the report will go to peer review.

Fourth Meeting – March 17 and 18, 2016 

The Code committee’s fourth meeting took place in Ottawa. All of day 1 was devoted to reviewing the draft sections on Feed and Water – a complex chapter that brings together much technical research in addition to other important considerations.

Day 2 opened with a review of the many types of housing systems currently in use across the Canadian veal industry. Presentations by producer representatives greatly facilitated these discussions. Following this, the Scientific Committee co-Chair reviewed the synthesis of research on housing. The remainder of the day involved preliminary discussions on possible approaches to the Code chapter on housing. As this was the group’s first meeting on housing, it was a fairly broad discussion that allowed the group to talk through pros and cons of different systems, and build some understanding of general outcomes on which stakeholders could reach consensus. 

As always, the meeting concluded with a brief discussion on next steps, and the Chair of the Code Development Committee thanked the group for their ongoing hard work.

The next meeting is scheduled for June 2016.

Third meeting – October 20 and 21, 2015

The Code Development Committee held a very productive third meeting focused on editing three chapters of the updated Code: Transport (e.g. assessing fitness for transport, arranging transport); Husbandry Practices (e.g. handling, restraint); and selected topics under Health Management.

In addition, three chapters from the Scientific Committee report were reviewed: Management of Milk Feeding; Behavioural and Health Benefits of Fibre; and Risk Factors for Abomasal Damage. The Scientific Committee co-chairs presented a very helpful overview of each chapter and this was followed by open discussion on the research generally and consideration of how to approach the topics in the Code.

The next meeting is scheduled for March 2016. 

Second meeting – July 22 and 23, 2015

The Code Development Committee’s second meeting was focused on editing three chapters of the updated Code: Calf Selection and Care of Newly Arrived Calves; Health Management and Euthanasia.

In addition, the Code committee (which includes a representative from Dairy Farmers of Canada) heard a brief presentation on the dairy industry’s animal care assessment program. The dairy and veal industries are closely linked and the discussion was a good opportunity to hear about the goals of the program and how they are assessing calf care as outlined in the dairy cattle Code of Practice.

The next meeting is scheduled for October 2015. 

First meeting -  March 26 and 27, 2015

The inaugural meeting took place March 26 and 27 in Guelph, Ontario. The objectives for this meeting were to provide committee members with an orientation to the Code development process and allow committee members to get to know each other’s areas of expertise and identify strategies for how they will work together throughout this process.

In addition, the committee established a preliminary outline for the Code and, working with the project’s Scientific Committee, agreed to a final list of priority welfare issues.

Preliminary outline (each chapter will include several sub-sections):

  1. Calf Selection and Care of Newly Arrived Calves
  2. Housing
  3. Feed and Water
  4. Husbandry
  5. Health Management
  6. Transport (on-farm considerations)
  7. Euthanasia
  8. Appendix (e.g. transport decision tree, sample standard operating procedures and other resources)

The group also enjoyed presentations on the Canadian veal industry. This proved to be a highlight of the meeting – it stimulated much discussion and allowed everyone to become familiar with modern animal care practices (including unique approaches in Ontario and Québec).

The next meeting is scheduled for July 2015. In advance of that meeting, the Code Development Committee will begin working on draft sections of the Code. The Scientific Committee will begin its review of research on the priority welfare issues.