OTTAWA, Ontario – The Canadian Cattlemen's Association (CCA) recently released a new Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Beef Cattlewhich is touted as setting higher standards to improve the welfare of beef cattle in Canada.

Stakeholders in the Canadian beef cattle industry developed the code in response to rising consumer and marketplace expectations for animal welfare and handling, according to CCA. The code contains recommended practices, and it provides a foundation for animal care assessment programs and, in some cases, regulatory activities.

Guiding development of the new code was a 15-person committee of beef cattle producers, animal welfare and enforcement representatives, researchers, transporters, processors, veterinarians and government officials. Additionally, a six-person Scientific Committee provided research findings and expertise in beef cattle behavior, health and welfare.

“Canadian cattle producers care for their cattle every day”, said Ryder Lee, CCA’s manager of Federal and Provincial Relations. “What that care entails is not often fully understood by people unfamiliar with livestock production and the practices of the industry in general. The updated Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Beef Cattle will give people a better understanding of all that’s involved in raising beef cattle. And they can feel good knowing that the Code takes into account science-informed practices that are practical for producers to use and meet the public’s expectations for animal care.”

For example, the document details best practices in the areas of animal environment, nutrition and feed management and proper handling of sick, injured and cull cattle.

“This Code of Practice sets a new standard that will improve the lives of beef cattle across Canada,” said Geoff Urton of the BC SPCA, who represented the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies on the Code Development Committee. “I’m encouraged to see this Code define minimum acceptable standards for cattle care and chart a path for more use of pain control during procedures like castration and dehorning.”