Committee looks for input into draft beef code

The committee that formulated the draft beef code of practice is asking for wide input, said one committee member.

The draft opened for public comment Jan. 8 and will close March 8.

Ryder Lee of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association told a Feb. 13 webinar hosted by Alberta Beef Producers that more than 100 people have already commented on the draft and 20 percent had self-identified themselves as animal welfare advocates.

Anyone interested in the code is welcome to comment, Lee told those participating in the webinar, but he said cattle producers should take a particular interest to ensure the code addresses the practical nature of raising and feeding cattle.

The draft code includes both re-quirements and recommendations pertaining to breeding, environment, animal health, husbandry and euthanasia. “It’s kind of the circle of life,” said Lee.

“Husbandry is probably the most difficult issue for the industry.”

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That section of the draft code involves animal handling, use of prods, branding and the use of pain control when castrating or dehorning older animals.

Lee said the code, once finalized, will be used as a supporting document in cases where producers are accused of poor animal handling. Those operating outside the code would likely face tougher penalties.

On the flip side, the code may also provide protection for producers who are managing animals in accepted ways.

“We have seen beef incidents and beef videos and cow videos that are depicted as usual business, and being able to point to a code of practice and say, ‘no, that’s not acceptable to our industry,’ is important for us as an industry to continue having the freedom to raise animals the way we see fit.”

Review and comment on the code can be done online or by printing out the document and submitting written comment, said Lee.

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He encouraged people to use the form so all committee members can review input once the public comment period is over.

“Make sure you put in the feedback, and at least read it, and if you’ve got nothing to say, that’s cool too, but I’d be surprised,” Lee said.

The draft code and comment form are available through the ABP web-site and at www.nfacc.ca/codes-of-practice/beef-cattle.

The comment period for the equine draft code of practice ended Feb. 14.

For a related WP story click here.

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