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Province of British Columbia
NEWS RELEASE
For Immediate Release
2015AGRI0045-001044
July 8, 2015
Ministry of Agriculture
Dairy Code strengthens expectations of care for B.C. cows

SURREY – The B.C. government is adopting the National Dairy Code of Practice (Dairy Code) to improve the welfare of dairy cows in this province.

Animal welfare is a team effort and the announcement today at the BC SPCA Surrey Branch is supported by representatives from the BC SPCA and the BC Dairy Association, Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick said today.

The Dairy Code of Practice outlines standards of care and practices for owners and employees on dairy farms across Canada. It includes an array of applicable areas such as animal handling, feed and water, housing, health and welfare management, and husbandry practices.

Over the past year, the B.C. government, BC SPCA, BC Dairy Association, BC Milk Marketing Board and the provincial dairy industry as a whole have been working closely on ways to further strengthen industry measures which protect the welfare of dairy cattle at B.C. dairy operations. The Dairy Code defines accepted management practices for farmers to use in their daily operations to ensure dairy cows in B.C. are treated with care and respect, each and every day.

Charges under B.C.’s Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act can be laid against anyone who causes suffering or distress to an animal in British Columbia, including owners, managers and employees in the agriculture sector. The maximum penalties that can be levied under provincial legislation against a person who is convicted of causing distress to an animal is $75,000 and up to 24 months imprisonment, the toughest in Canada.

There are just under 500 licensed dairy producers in B.C. with the majority of the operations located in the Fraser Valley. The remaining producers are located in the Thompson-Okanagan, Vancouver Island, Bulkley Valley, Cariboo, Kootenay and Peace River.

Quotes:

Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick –

“As a society, we always need to be working together to ensure all animals in British Columbia are treated with proper care and respect. A conversation on how we could work better with the BC SPCA and the provincial dairy industry turned into action, resulting in the National Dairy Code of Practice being adopted here in B.C. The Dairy Code outlines acceptable care and handling practices for dairy cattle, and I want to thank both the BC Dairy Association and the BC SPCA for their commitment to animal welfare, and working co-operatively to improve it.”

BC SPCA chief executive officer Craig Daniell -

“We couldn’t be more pleased that this day has come. The B.C. government has listened to our concerns about the humane treatment of farm animals. We are delighted by this new regulation that will improve our ability to protect dairy cattle.”

BC Dairy Association chief executive officer Dave Eto –

“The dairy industry in British Columbia is dedicated to ongoing and continual improvement of animal care practices. As an industry, we expect individual dairy producers to have excellent animal care practices at all times. We are pleased with the announcement today.”

Quick Facts:

  • In April 2015, the Government of British Columbia and the BC SPCA recognized Animal Abuse Prevention Day at an event outside Victoria’s Parliament Buildings.
  • The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act was updated in 2011 to have the toughest penalties in Canada.
  • The maximum penalties that can be levied under provincial legislation against a person who is convicted of causing distress to an animal is $75,000 and up to 24 months imprisonment.
  • Balanced Budget 2015 committed $5 million to the BC SPCA. This funding is supporting an eight-year facilities plan that will replace or renovate aging BC SPCA facilities in 10 B.C. communities including Vancouver, Nanaimo, Kamloops, Kelowna, Prince George, Dawson Creek and the Kootenays.

Learn More:

BC SPCA: http://www.spca.bc.ca/

BC Dairy Association: http://bcdairy.ca/

Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act: http://www.bclaws.ca/civix/document/id/complete/statreg/96372_01

A backgrounder follows.

 
Media Contacts:
 
Dave Townsend
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Agriculture
250 356-7098
250 889-5945 (mobile)
 
Marcie Moriarty
Chief Prevention and Enforcement Officer
BC SPCA
604 647-1318
604 258-8642 (mobile)
 
Trevor Hargreaves
Director of Producer Relations and Communications
BC Dairy Association
604 603-7872
 

 
Province of British Columbia
BACKGROUNDER
For Immediate Release
2015AGRI0045-001044
July 8, 2015
Ministry of Agriculture
Dairy Code strengthens expectations of care for B.C. cows

The Dairy Code includes an array of applicable areas such as animal handling, feed & water, housing, health and welfare management, and husbandry practices.

Modern dairy farming should not cause unnecessary discomfort or distress. In general, producers should consider the following animal needs:

  • Shelter.
  • Feed and water to maintain health and vigor.
  • Freedom of movement and exercise for most normal behaviour.
  • Company of herd mates.
  • Light during daylight hours and night-time lighting to enable inspection.
  • Slip-resistant flooring.
  • Veterinary care, diagnosis and treatment, disease control and prevention.
  • No unnecessary surgical alterations.emergency preparedness for fire, mechanical breakdowns, and the disruption of feed supplies.

Handling:

  • All dairy operation must be equipped for the safe restraint and handling of animals.
  • Provide non-slip flooring.
  • Ensure restraint devices are used properly. A slow steady motion with optimal pressure is calming to cattle. Excessive pressure that causes pain or discomfort should be avoided.
  • Ensure the entrance to a restraint device is well lit.
  • Ensure handling equipment is engineered to minimize noise. High-pitched sounds are more disturbing to cattle.
  • Ensure restraint devices do not exert uncomfortable pressure points on an animal's body.

Feed and Water:

  • Cattle must have access to palatable and clean water in quantities to meet their needs.
  • Ensure the composition of diets reflects production level, reproductive stage, body size, housing and weather conditions.
  • Ensure all rations have been balanced and that all feed components used in the ration are of good quality and free of spoilage.
  • Minimize factors that create stress or aggressive behaviors within a herd.
  • Keep a consistent feeding schedule.

Housing:

  • Must allow cattle to easily stand up, lie down, adopt normal resting postures, and have visual contact with other cattle.
  • Cattle must have a bed that provides comfort, insulation, warmth, dryness and traction. Bare concrete is not acceptable as a resting surface.

Health and Welfare Management:

  • Have best management practices in place.
  • Ensure farm staff are trained in, and apply, best management practices.
  • Ensure cow health is monitored regularly.
  • Ensure that the interactions that calves and younger cattle have with people are rewarding rather than aversive.
  • Avoid behaviors that cattle find aversive (e.g., hitting, shouting, aggressive tail twisting, electric prods and kicking).

Husbandry Practices (Handling, Moving, Restraining, and Treating Animals):

  • Cattle are social animals with a natural desire to gather together in herds.
  • Herd management and husbandry procedures should not compromise their social activity or isolate them unnecessarily.
  • Animals should always be handled with care and in a calm, easy manner, following a consistent routine.
  • This will reduce fear, avoid injury, make observation and treatment easier, and enhance animal well-being and productivity.

Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Dairy Cattle:
http://www.nfacc.ca/codes-of-practice/dairy-cattle

 

 
Media Contacts:
 
Dave Townsend
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Agriculture
250 356-7098
250 889-5945 (mobile)
 
Marcie Moriarty
Chief Prevention and Enforcement Officer
BC SPCA
604 647-1318
604 258-8642 (mobile)
 
Trevor Hargreaves
Director of Producer Relations and Communications
BC Dairy Association
604 603-7872
 

 
Connect with the Province of B.C. at: www.gov.bc.ca/connect