Schedules for new animal codes reassessed

Public comment periods for each of the codes may be delayed by 
as much as a few months in some cases due to COVID pandemic

Completed updates to various livestock codes of practice may be delayed due to the impacts of the pandemic.

The National Farm Animal Care Council said it is “re-assessing timelines” for each of the codes being updated, including those for dairy cattle, livestock transport, goat and farmed salmonids. It said public comment periods, which are held for each of the codes, may be delayed by as much as a few months in some cases.

Groups tasked to work on the codes have postponed, cancelled or rescheduled meetings as online events, the NFACC said.

The dairy cattle code, being updated from its last iteration in 2009, was projected to be complete in fall 2021. The scientific committee’s report on priority welfare issues has been filed. Another meeting of the working group is scheduled in June.

The transportation code, which NFACC executive director Jackie Wepruk said is among the most complicated ever undertaken by the council, was scheduled to be ready for public comment in April 2022 and finished by spring 2023. Those timelines may be altered.

Eight species-specific working groups are involved in development of the transport code. Those include cattle, pigs, horses, sheep and goats, bison and cervids, mink, fox and rabbit, poultry and hatchery.

“The 23-member CDC (code development committee) also includes livestock and poultry transporters; researchers; processors; and individuals representing animal welfare advocacy and enforcement, livestock markets, veterinarians and the federal government,” the NFACC said.

With in-person meetings no longer an option, a series of online meetings is planned to continue transport code development.

The goat code of practice, last updated in 2003, was previously scheduled for public comment in August and completion in fall 2021. The draft version of the scientific report is ready and has been submitted for peer review. All committee members will then review it, said the NFACC.

Farmed salmonids have not had a previous code of practice so the one underway will be the first. Public comment on it was scheduled for June 2020 with completion in summer of 2021. The next online meeting of the working group is scheduled in June.

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