by SUSAN MANN
Two years ago, veal industry representatives asked for the veal animal care code of practice to be updated and now project funding is available to revamp the code.
But it will be another two years before the revised code is completed, says Jackie Wepruk, general manager and project coordinator with the National Farm Animal Care Council, the lead organization for farm animal care in Canada. It’s spearheading the update.
“The veal industry had requested a code update back in April of 2013,” Wepruk says. Federal project-based funding finance commodities’ animal care codes, and the veal industry had to wait until the next round of funding was available to have its code updated, she explains.
Funding comes from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada through Growing Forward 2, the national agricultural policy framework.
The current Veal Code of Practice was released in 1998. Stakeholders from all parts of the industry are involved in the code’s revision and update, including farmers, veterinarians, researchers, animal welfare and enforcement group representatives, retailers, food service operators and government, the farm animal care council’s Feb. 23 press release says.
In doing the revisions, the veal code committee will focus on including “up-to-date and practical approaches to the care and welfare of calves raised for the veal market,” Canadian Veal Association president André Roy says in the press release. He’s also chair of the veal code committee.
Wepruk says the committee’s first meeting is this month.
Animal care codes of practice promote sound management and welfare practices through recommendations and requirements for housing, transportation and animal husbandry practices, the release says. “They serve as our national understanding of animal care requirements and recommended practices.”
Wepruk says a lot has changed in 17 years when the last veal code was released. The new code will contain more clear requirements and recommended practices.
Currently there are codes for 14 different farm animal species in Canada. They all deal with the life span of the animal on the farm. The veal code will be the 10th code revised through the national farm animal care process.
Codes cost $150,000 to $350,000 to develop, Wepruk says. “Depending on the challenges the committee faces, every species’ code development is going to be somewhat different.” BF