Animal Welfare

Codes of practice for care and handling

Canada’s codes of practice are guidelines developed on a national scale for the care and handling of farmed animals. These documents provide a baseline for ensuring that farmed animals are treated in accordance with rational management and protection practices that promote their health and well-being. The codes serve as teaching tools, reference documents for regulations, and foundations for the industry’s animal care evaluation programs. They are reviewed on a regular basis to ensure practices reflect the latest scientific knowledge, technological advances, and applications in the field.

Four codes apply to the cattle sector:

Last version of the code published in 2013   Last version of the code published in 2017   Version 2009 of the code effective until March 2024. Consult the revised code version relased March 30, 2023.    Last version of the code published in 2001. Under revision.

Our involvement

Production of quality meat requires sound herd management practices that assure the welfare and proper development of the animals we raise. For cattle producers, raising a herd is more than just a means of providing a living – it is also a passion. For each animal to produce quality meat, the producers raise their animals under conditions that satisfy more than their basic needs. They ensure that each animal develops in a calm environment that will allow it to engage in its natural behaviour.

Quebec cattle producers adhere to recognized animal welfare principles and implement practices to monitor herd health.

In this perspective, the Federation is involved in animal welfare through:

  • Dissemination of information intended for producers regarding animal welfare and best practices;
  • Involvement in research in order to develop efficient management practices;
  • Training producers in new techniques that offer calm and quiet herd management;
  • Participation in the drafting of the Codes of Practice by providing expertise on veal and beef production.

Quebec animal welfare legislation

In December 2015, the Quebec government passed the Animal Welfare and Safety Act. The Ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation du Québec (MAPAQ) is responsible for enforcing the Act; it also steps in when animal health and/or welfare is at risk. Inspections are conducted on farms across the province.

To find out more about the MAPAQ’s role and about the Act, click here.

Animal transport and handling

Animal transport is governed by standards and regulations. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) regulations were updated and published in 2020. Handling animals with the proper techniques and equipment ensures animal welfare is respected. If you would like to read more on this topic, there are many resources for you to consult:

Regulations Amending the Health of Animals  – Part XII : Transport of Animals  (CFIA)

Interpretive Guidance for Regulated Parties (CFIA)

 Infographic developed by CFIA

World Organization for Animal Health (WOAH)

Temple Grandin : animal welfare specialist

Agri-Réseau : cattle handling videos (french only)