Beef cattle code draft set for comment by November

Development of a new code of practice for beef cattle has seen some hiccups but is expected to be ready for a two-month public comment period in November.

“It’s coming along quite well,” said Jackie Wepruk, general manager of the National Farm Animal Care Council, which is managing development of new codes for eight types of livestock, including beef cattle.

“It is running just a little bit behind. There are a couple of issues they are still trying to work out and achieve consensus on.”

Committee members are debating appropriate wording, particularly for practices that cause pain to cattle, such as dehorning, branding and castration, she said.

“You want to make sure that you’re developing requirements and or recommended practices that are practical, address societal expectations for animal care but really are something doable by producers because if it’s not practical and producers can’t do it, there’s not much point in laying out a rule they can’t follow.”

The public comment period might be extended if it overlaps Christmas, Wepruk added.

Committee members will take public comments into consideration to develop the final code, which is scheduled for release in April.

The beef cattle code of practice was last updated in 1991.

Committee members include producers, veterinarians, researchers and representatives from processors, food retail, transport, animal welfare and government.

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