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Your comments wanted on the new Pig Code

Canada’s Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Pigs has been updated and is now online for public comment. The Code was last revised in 1993, and is one of 14 codes governing farm animal welfare that are overseen by the National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC).

The Pig Code was developed by an 17-member committee representing pig producers, processors, transporters, government, and welfare advocates. The Code addresses a number of important welfare issues including:
sow stalls for female breeding pigs — sow stalls are a key concern for CCFA and a focal point of our campaigning and outreach
space allowance — pigs raised for meat are typically kept in crowded, barren pens and regularly mixed with unfamiliar pigs, which causes aggression, fighting and stress
use of straw bedding in housing — deep straw is vital to natural behaviour such as rooting and nesting, and is an additional source of both comfort and food for pigs
euthanasia — this includes both on-farm killing of pigs and piglets, including blunt force trauma, as well as various commercial-slaughter methods such as electrocution and the use of CO2
castration — this is typically performed without pain relief, and contentious not only because of the pain piglets experience but also because a number of countries in Europe don't do it and are finding alternatives to it
tail docking — this is a standard practice on most industrial farms in Canada that also is performed without pain relief
teeth clipping — this is another standard industrial-farming practice performed without pain relief
Helpful things to know for commenting:
  • The Pig Code, like all the Codes of Practice, is recommended but voluntary. This makes it hard to enforce. CCFA, along with a number of other farm animal welfare groups, would like to see it become mandatory. If you feel the same, we encourage you to indicate this in your online response.
  • There are two types of regulation in the Code: requirements and recommended practices. While the Code is voluntary, requirements carry more weight than recommended practices. In some cases, you may want to suggest “bumping up” a regulation from recommended to required in order to emphasize its importance.
  • Comments are made using an online survey tool. It's easy to use and the questionnaire is set up according to sections in the Code so there's an opportunity to respond to each section. There are also comment boxes for each question, which allows you to provide specific feedback on any section you wish.
  • CCFA will provide in-depth commentary on the Pig Code in our July-August newsletter — please stay tuned!
Don’t miss this chance to help the pigs 
About 30 million pigs are raised for slaughter in Canada, including many millions exported to countries like the U.S. As a CCFA supporter, you know the kinds of conditions many of these animals are raised in and the procedures they routinely endure. Please take this opportunity to respectfully provide your feedback on the regulations that impact their welfare. The deadline for comments is August 3rd.
You can download the Pig Code and provide comments here


If you’re unsure about the science behind a regulation (How much pain does it cause? What alternatives are there? Who else is using them? Are they working?), check out the Review of Scientific Research on Priority Issues. Not only does it provide helpful research and results from animal scientists on key welfare issues that affect pigs, but it’s science-based rather than industry-driven. Two tips for reading it: 1) Start with the Table of Contents -- it’s simple and clear; 2) Each section begins with a bulleted list of conclusions that summarize key findings. To learn more, see our May-June newsletter.

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