1. What are some of the main changes and updates in this Code?

This code outlines regulations, industry requirements that go beyond regulations and recommended best practices. For example, there are regulations on food and transportation. Some industry requirements - by farmers for farmers - include the need to use pain control measures when disbudding/ dehorning a calf, and an industry ban on tail-docking. Recommended practices include cleaning stalls and floors frequently to ensure cow cleanliness, ensuring that the design of barn and stalls allow cows to rise and lie down with ease and prevent injuries and many others, working with the herd veterinarian to manage health and biosecurity, and many more.

For more details, see this PowerPoint presentation

2. Why was the Code of Practice updated?

The original Code of Practice was completed and published in 1990. At the time, it focused on recommendations to improve animal care on dairy farms. Since then, there have been significant advances in scientific research aiming to better understand our animals. The National Farm Animal Care Council was founded in 2002. It established a new process to update the codes of practice in place for animal farming. Dairy Farmers of Canada volunteered to update the Code of practices for Dairy Cattle. This Code will be reviewed every five years or so to incorporate new research and on-farm findings in its standards.

3. Is the Code important to farmers?

All producers have received a copy of the Code of Practice. Dairy Farmers of Canada will provide various communication pieces to producers, veterinarians and stakeholders in 2009 and 2010 to encourage producers to adopt practices outlined in the Code on their farms.

4. Is there an assessment tool producers can use on their farms?

To help farmers assess their practices and encourage the implementation of animal care requirements, DFC has prepared a self-assessment tool (checklist) for producers to use.

There are two other assessment tools producers can use. One was developed through research and consultations with dairy producers in Quebec and deals primarily with the care of dairy heifers. It is promoted through Valacta. The University of British Columbia has also worked on a project to allow dairy producers to benchmark their farms for measures of cow comfort. Moreover, workshops and posters on animal care practices are offered in several areas across the country.

5. What research on animal welfare has DFC funded?

Over the years, DFC and other dairy farmer organizations have funded numerous research projects aimed at improving the care and welfare dairy calves and cows. The University of British Columbia is carrying out a significant portion of research on Canadian dairy animals' welfare. Each year, a summary of research projects is realized, and contains a section on animal welfare . There is also an online database of research where you can find various research projects, including on animal care and welfare that dairy farmers have sponsored. The results of these projects are also regularly distributed to farmers through articles in agricultural publications.

6. What are others saying about the Code?

Geoff Urton, BC SPCA: "The improvements to the Code are enormous. They now clearly stipulate dozens of firm requirements, rather than just recommendations, including the use of pain control when dehorning calves and the elimination of tail docking."Source: http://www.spca.bc.ca/farminfo/news/FarmSense_July_2009.pdf

Dr. Dan Weary, Animal Welfare Program, University of British Columbia told Ontario Dairy Farmer in June 2009: "Canada's dairy industry has taken strong leadership in its initiative and has, I think, positioned itself very will in meeting the expectations of consumers increasingly interested in animal care."

David Fraser, head of the University of British Columbia's Animal Welfare Department, speaking to the Dairy Farmers of Canada Annual Meeting (July 2009):"I want to congratulate you on your new code; it's a progressive and practical guide to dairy animal welfare and you are now able to show the care farmers have for their animals, responding to consumer concerns... This code can inform the public about what farmers can and want to deliver and will contribute to public trust in farmers."

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