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What are the rules for raising farm animals?
Farmers, like all animal owners, must follow laws for humane treatment. There are currently 14 Codes of Practice for raising different livestock and poultry species in Canada. These codes are created by committees of farmers, veterinarians, animal welfare experts, and humane society representatives, and they detail how animals are to be raised and treated on Canadian farms. The Codes include requirements and recommended practices for:
• Accommodation/housing/handling facilities
• Feed and water
• Health care (e.g. record keeping for sickness or injuries)
• Pre-transportation considerations
• Euthanasia
• Husbandry/stockmanship (including young and older animals/poultry)
• And more
Ten codes have been updated since 2009, including those for beef and dairy cattle, chickens and turkeys, farmed fox, mink, bison, pigs, laying hens, equine species, and sheep. Two codes, for rabbits and veal
cattle, are currently being developed and revised.
The National Farm Animal Care Council leads the process of updating Canada’s Codes of Practice to re ect new advances in animal welfare research. A scienti c committee reviews research related to priority welfare issues for the species whose code is being updated, and the committee’s report is then used to develop these codes. To see all the codes, and
for more information on how they are developed, please visit
Many of Canada’s livestock sectors have developed, or are developing, on-farm animal care assessment programs based on the codes. Farms can be assessed on their animal care standards and protocols through self-audit, by trained auditors, or by third party company auditors. Auditing and assessments provide veri cation that a farm is following best practices, with the goal of  nding problems quickly, and continually improving. Failure to follow audit requirements can result in  nes, closure to market access, and potentially losing the legal right to produce a product altogether.
Pro le
Dr. Daniel Weary
Dr. Daniel Weary’s area of expertise initially focused on wild animals and pigs. But now, as a researcher at the University of British Columbia’s Dairy Research Centre, he looks for ways to improve the lives of dairy cattle – as well as the farmers that raise them. To do so, Daniel spends a lot of time talking to farmers, and conducting research both on their farms and in the lab. He
is currently investigating ways to reduce the risk of hoof and leg issues by understanding what environmental conditions are most preferred by dairy cows and calves.
“It’s important to really get in the cow’s head. You have to know what it  nds important. We learn a lot from the farmers themselves too, and there’s never just one way of doing things.”
(Dr. Daniel Weary)
There are many people with full-time careers in farm animal care. Many specialists dedicate their lives to improving humane handling of farm animals on the farm, on the truck, and at the processing plant.
54 The Real Dirt on Farming
Dr. Daniel Weary

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