Manitoba’s beef producers care about their animals – for a number of reasons. Financially, it is in their best interest to ensure cattle are healthy, safe, well-managed and not stressed. However, beef cattle producers are in this line of work because they care about their animals and treat them well because it is the right thing to do.
Manitoba’s beef industry is open to conversations with the public on animal welfare issues. Few people outside of the beef industry understand the measures producers take to protect the well-being of their animals. This lack of a conversation between producers and consumers can lead to pressure to pass legislation and regulations that target agriculture, instead of recognizing that producers are society’s partners in welfare protection.
Beef producers follow a Code of Practice. This code is currently in the process of being updated by the National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC). The council includes representatives from civil society, veterinarians, researchers, animal welfare enforcement officers, provincial governments, the federal government; humane, transport and processing concerns and producers from all links in the production chain and from different areas of Canada.
One key to the NFACC process is the Science Committee that helps inform the process on priority welfare issues. This inclusion of the work from the Science Committee helps ensure that the Code of Practice is practical, relevant and science-based.
The Code of Practice is used several ways. It is used by enforcement agencies as the industry expected standard. It is a reference tool for new and experienced producers. It is an extension tool used by industry to discuss production practices that impact cattle welfare. It also has potential to be used as the basis of an assessment program if consumers are seeking more information about how their beef is produced.
You can learn more about the Beef Code of Practice here.