Egg Farmers of Canada and the National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC) have announced the release of the revised Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Layers.
Canada's Codes of Practice are nationally developed guidelines for the care and handling of farm animals. They serve as the foundation for ensuring that farm animals are cared for using sound management and welfare practices that promote animal health and well-being. Codes are used as educational tools, reference materials for regulations, and the foundation for industry animal care assessment programs.
"Canada's more than 1,000 egg farmers are deeply committed to and strive for continuous improvements when it comes to the care and well-being of their hens," said Roger Pelissero, Chairman of Egg Farmers of Canada. "Egg Farmers of Canada is a long-time supporter of the National Farm Animal Care Council. We value the leadership of the Code Committee and their dedication to evidence-based standards that serve as a key building block to our national Animal Care Program," he added.
NFACC's Code development process is a uniquely consensus-based, multi-stakeholder approach that ensures credibility and transparency through scientific rigor, stakeholder collaboration, and consistency. Updates to the layer Code were led by a 17-person Code committee comprised of egg farmers, animal welfare and enforcement representatives, researchers, transporters, egg processors, veterinarians and government representatives. Aiding in their work was a five-person Scientific Committee that included research and veterinary expertise in laying hen behavior, health and welfare. A public comment period was held in the summer of 2016 to allow the public and all stakeholders to provide input.
"The new Code provides progressive standards for hen welfare in Canada," said poultry welfare expert Dr. Ian Duncan, representing the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies on the Code Committee. "We worked diligently for almost four years to secure these important new welfare commitments."
Canada's Codes of Practice are a powerful tool for meeting rising consumer, marketplace and societal expectations relative to farm animal welfare. Codes support responsible animal care practices and keep everyone involved in farm animal care and handling on the same page.
"The Code of Practice is an important tool for egg farmers across the country," explains Glen Jennings, egg farmer and Chair of the Code Development Committee. "The new Code is the result of four years of in-depth scientific evaluation and rigorous discussion. The outcome balances hen welfare, behavior and health in a manner that is sustainable and achievable by farmers."
The layer Code is the ninth Code of Practice updated through NFACC's Code development process. For more information on the Codes of Practice and NFACC's Code development process visit www.nfacc.ca.
The new layer Code is available online at www.nfacc.ca/codes-of-practice/poultry-layers.
Funding for this project has been provided through the AgriMarketing Program under Growing Forward 2, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative.