The BC SPCA is Helping to Make a Change
Ensuring Welfare On Farms
Farm animal welfare is increasingly important to Canadians. We know British Columbians want a system in place that ensures dairy cattle and all farm animals are treated humanely.
In 2009, a new Canadian Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Dairy Cattle was published and the BC SPCA represented Canada's SPCAs on the development committee, achieving a progressive new standard for the welfare of dairy cattle in Canada.
Currently, there is no independent monitoring to ensure dairy cattle are being cared for humanely. The BC SPCA and its national partner, the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies, have been asking all of Canada's farm animal industries to implement such programs and continue to encourage Dairy Farmers of Canada to work towards this goal. Dairy Farmers of Canada is currently piloting a national farm assessment scheme to ensure the Dairy Code is followed, but full implementation will take 4 years.
The Canadian Codes of Practice for the care and handling of farm animals have yet to be adopted into B.C. law as in some other provinces. Animal protection legislation in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Newfoundland, New Brunswick and PEI has adopted the national Codes of Practice for farm animals to define minimum acceptable standards in those provinces.
- Contact your MLA to ask for the Canadian Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of farm animals to be incorporated into B.C. legislation.
Find your MLA’s phone number and email address using the MLA finder.
Use our Twitter list to tweet your MLA.
- Ask your retailer to stock SPCA Certified products (PDF).
- Write to the dairy processors and ask them to certify their supplier farms.
- Take action on our other campaigns.
Codes of Practice
The Codes of Practice lay out the expectations for standards of care to be provided to farm animals in Canada. Dairy Farmers of Canada expects all of their members to implement the Code on their farms and the Codes are used to determine what constitutes "reasonable and generally accepted practices" in investigations launched under BC's Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.
The Code stipulates 60 clear requirements for the care and handling of dairy cattle, including the following highlights:
Animal handlers must be familiar with cattle behavior and quiet handling techniques either through training, experience or mentorship.
Cattle that are sick, injured, in pain, or suffering must be provided with prompt medical care, or be euthanized. Cattle with untreatable conditions, not responding to treatment, or not fit for transport must be promptly euthanized.
Cattle must have a bed that provides comfort, insulation, warmth, dryness and traction. Bare concrete is not acceptable as a resting surface.
Housing must allow calves to easily stand up, lie down, turn around, adopt normal resting postures, and have visual contact with other calves.
Dairy cattle must not be tailed docked unless medically necessary.
Pain control must be used when dehorning, disbudding, or castrating.
The entire Code can be downloaded on the National Farm Animal Care Council's website.
The BC SPCA operates SPCA Certified, a assurance to consumers that food products come from farms where high standards of welfare are provided. The SPCA Certified Standards ensure that dairy cattle are provided with requirements found in the new Codes and further welfare requirements such as access to the outside in dry seasons.
Only one BC dairy farm is currently SPCA Certified – Little Qualicum Cheeseworks.
To learn more, explore our website for information on the housing and welfare of Canada's dairy cattle, and SPCA Certified, including where you can find our products.
BC SPCA recommends charges of animal cruelty against eight employees of a Chilliwack dairy farm (June 9, 2014)