CPC Position on Proposed Content in Code of Practice10 June 2013
CANADA - On 1 June, the proposed Code of practice for the care and handling of pigs was released for public comment. The public comment period is a critical step in the code development process as it provides an opportunity for the content of the Code to be reviewed by a much broader audience than the confidential development phase.
While the Canadian Pork Council requested that the revision process be undertaken and appointed representatives to the process, the CPC has not yet taken positions on the various revisions within the Code. Much of the draft document reflects the way producers raise hogs today, but there are key areas where significant change is being proposed, both in terms of management practices and in housing design.
One of the revisions the Canadian Pork Council is asked most frequently to comment on is gestation sow housing. Stalls were originally introduced several decades ago to improve welfare and provide individualized care for the animals. As the Code proposes to move away from this system – one that producers are very familiar with – there are some very strongly held opinions among producers.
Some producers are already using loose housing systems. Others agree with a move in that direction. Still others, however, disagree strongly that loose housing should become a requirement within the Code. They believe, rather, that producers should be allowed to choose what type of housing system works best for their farm. There is agreement, however, that a transition to open housing needs to be carefully managed for best welfare outcomes. Producers also agree that the cost of transition must be spread across the value chain.
The CPC recognizes there are different opinions on the key elements requiring change in the draft Code. We look forward to the public comment period as it will provide the opportunity to reach all producers and hear their views on how the Code will impact the animals in their care and their farm operations.
Information gathered through the public comment period will serve several purposes, one of which will be to provide member insights to the CPC. These insights will inform any input the CPC provides to the National Farm Animal Care Council via the public comment process.
The CPC is confident a path forward to an acceptable revised Code of Practice will become clearer after the public comment period is over and the Code Development Committee continues its work.
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