Canadian horse welfare code up for comment

Public comment is being invited on a draft Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Equines in Canada.

Submissions on the code, proposed by the National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC) are open until February 14, 2013. All stakeholders are encouraged to provide input to ensure that the Code reflects a common understanding of equine care expectations and recommended practices in Canada.

A Scientists’ Committee report summarizing research on priority welfare topics for equines can be found online alongside the draft Code. This peer-reviewed report aided the discussions of the Code Development Committee as they prepared the draft Code of Practice.

“I’m proud of the collaborative effort committee members have shown since we began our work in early 2011,” said Jack de Wit, Director with the Equine Canada Board of Directors and Chair of the Code Development Committee.

“The next step is opening the draft Code to input from the public. With the public’s help we will have a Code that is good for owners and the animals in their care.”

Dr Bettina Bobsien, Canadian Federation of Humane Societies representative on the Code Development Committee, said the code provided an opportunity to advance the welfare of equines across a diverse industry. “It is important that this Code reflect the best practices available for the welfare of horses, donkeys and mules,” she said.

Anyone can provide comments and suggestions on the Code; all submissions must be made through the online system.

The equine Code revision is led by an 18-person Code Development Committee, which includes participants from across Canada representing the diversity of the industry. Members include horse owners, caregivers, animal welfare and enforcement representatives, researchers, veterinarians and government representatives. The Scientists’ Committee includes researchers with expertise in equine behaviour, health and welfare. The final equine Code of Practice will be released in June 2013.

The equine Code is one of eight Codes of Practice currently under revision as part of a multi-year NFACC project. Codes of Practice serve as our national understanding of animal care requirements and recommended practices. It is important Codes be scientifically informed, practical and reflect societal expectations for responsible farm animal care. The Codes cover housing, feed and water, handling, euthanasia, transport and other important management practices.


The code can be viewed at

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