Government of Canada Helps Improve Animal Care Practices

Ottawa, ON - Equine Canada is pleased to announce that the Code of Practice for Horses will now be updated. This follows the Government of Canada’s announcement, made at the University of Guelph on April 30, 2010, of its investment in the further development of best-practices for livestock handling.  

“Taking care of the livestock is the first chore in the morning and the last chore at night because farmers know that healthy animals mean a healthy business,” said Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz. “The Government of Canada is proud to partner with Canadian farmers to further develop best-practices that will strengthen our livestock industry.”

The National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC), working with the secretariat support of the Canadian Animal Health Coalition (CAHC), will use this investment of up to $3.4 million to advance animal care and well-being in the farmed animal sector. This investment will help develop a new Codes of Practice for various farmed animal sectors and an on-farm assessment protocol.

As a member organization of both NFACC and CAHC, Equine Canada has been leading the effort since 2005 to update the 1998 Code of Practice for Horses. Equine Canada advocates the humane treatment of all horses, and believes that the equine industry and horse owners have a responsibility to provide humane care throughout the life of the horse.

“The equine sector of Canada is grateful to the Government of Canada for providing funding for Codes of Practice development and renewal,” said Dr. Mary Bell, co-chair of the Equine Canada Health & Welfare Committee. “Without exception, horses will benefit from the equine sector’s commitment to work together to update care and handling guidelines. The updated Code of Practice for Horses will provide an educational tool to assist in improving a horse’s quality of life from birth through death.”   

The NFACC Code of Practice Development Process, finalized in 2009 by consensus from all member organizations of NFACC, will guide Canadian equine industry stakeholders through the process of Code renewal. The NFACC Code of Practice Development Process aims to
•  link Code recommendations with science,
•  ensure transparency in the process,
•  include broad representation from stakeholders,
•  contribute to improvements in farm animal care,
•  identify topics for research and encourage projects,
•  write clearly to ensure ease of reading, understanding and implementation, and
•  provide a document that is useful for all stakeholders.

The Codes of Practice are nationally developed guidelines for the care and handling of the different species of farm animals. They are intended to promote sound management and welfare practices through recommendations and requirements for housing, management, transportation, processing and other animal husbandry practices. Requirements refer to either a regulatory requirement, or an industry-imposed expectation for minimum standard of care. Included are recommended best practices to encourage a higher level of care.

Codes of Practice serve multiple purposes including
•  providing information and education,
•  serving as the foundation for animal care assessment programs, and
•  providing reference materials for regulations.

“NFACC provides a vehicle for ensuring a national coordinated approach on farm animal care among all stakeholders across the entire value chain,” said Edouard Asnong, chair, NFACC. “NFACC appreciates the Federal Government’s support to address farm animal care issues that relate to its members, domestic and export markets, the Canadian and provincial governments and the Canadian public, utilizing science-based and collaborative processes.”

For more information about NFACC, visit  

Funding for this project is being made available through the AgriFlexibility fund, a program delivered in Canada's Economic Action Plan (EAP). The EAP focuses on strengthening the economy and securing Canada’s economic future. For more information on the AgriFlexibility fund and Canada’s Economic Action Plan, please visit and

For more information about Code of Practice for Horses renewal, e-mail  

About Equine Canada
Equine Canada is Canada’s national governing body for equestrianism.  A member-driven, charitable institution, it is the executive branch of the Canadian Equestrian Team, and the national authority for equestrian competition; the national voice for recreational riders; and the national association for equine welfare, breeding, and industry.  Equine Canada is recognised by the Government of Canada, the International Equestrian Federation (FEI), and the Canadian Olympic Committee as the national organisation representing equestrian sport and equine interests. For more information about Equine Canada, please visit      

Photo: Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, fourth from the right, announced the Government of Canada’s $3.4 million investment in the further development of best-practices for livestock handling during a press conference held at the University of Guelph on April 30, 2010.
Left to right: Jackie Wepruk, NFACC General Manager, Susan Stewart, Equine Canada, Bill Herron, Ontario Cattlemen’s Association, Gary Hazlewood, Canada Mink Breeders Association, Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, Dr. Mary Bell, Equine Canada, Edouard Asnong, Canadian Pork Council (NFACC Chair), and Mark Beaven, CAHC Executive Director
Photo credit: Liz Stewartshaver