14 February 2017

WELFARE - Public Input Needed on Rabbit Codes of Practice

The National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC) began the revision process of the Codes of Practice for Rabbits in February 2015.

The Codes of Practice are guidelines for the care and handling of farm animals in Canada.

They serve as a national understanding of animal care requirements and recommended practices.

The Codes are educational tools, reference materials for regulations and the foundation for farm animal care assessment programs.

The next step in the revision of the Codes of Practice for Rabbits is public comment.

Priority welfare issues for rabbits include:
  • Housing and Facilities
    • Pen and cage design
    • Welfare issues and benefits to group and individual housing
    • Health and behavioural aspects of enrichments
  • Feed and water management
    • Quality
    • Quantity
    • Nutritional needs
    • Hay/fibre
  • Health management
    • Recognizing abnormal behaviour, sickness, pain and fearfulness
    • Tools to measure animal stress and management practices that decrease animal stress
    • Welfare issues that lead to adverse conditions, high disease and mortality rates
  • Reproduction
    • Artificial insemination
    • Productivity/doe management
    • Weaning and kit management
  • Pre-transport
    • Feed and water withdrawal  
    • Loading density
    • Containers
  • Euthanasia and on-farm slaughter
    • Signs of insensibility and death
    • Methods
    • When to euthanize.

Since 2009 seven Codes have been updated and released through the NFACC process.

Three other Codes are in the process of being updated: bison, poultry-layers, and veal cattle.

Visit www.nfacc.ca/codes-of-practice for details and a timeline outlining the steps and progress made on the various Codes.

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