Surrey/Chilliwack/Abbotsford – – The B.C. government is adopting the National Dairy Code of Practice (Dairy Code) to improve the welfare of dairy cows in this province.
Animal welfare is a team effort and the announcement today at the BC SPCA Surrey Branch is supported by representatives from the BC SPCA and the BC Dairy Association, Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick said today.
The Dairy Code of Practice outlines standards of care and practices for owners and employees on dairy farms across Canada. It includes an array of applicable areas such as animal handling, feed and water, housing, health and welfare management, and husbandry practices.
Over the past year, the B.C. government, BC SPCA, BC Dairy Association, BC Milk Marketing Board and the provincial dairy industry as a whole have been working closely on ways to further strengthen industry measures which protect the welfare of dairy cattle at B.C. dairy operations. The Dairy Code defines accepted management practices for farmers to use in their daily operations to ensure dairy cows in B.C. are treated with care and respect, each and every day.
Charges under B.C.’s Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act can be laid against anyone who causes suffering or distress to an animal in British Columbia, including owners, managers and employees in the agriculture sector. The maximum penalties that can be levied under provincial legislation against a person who is convicted of causing distress to an animal is $75,000 and up to 24 months imprisonment, the toughest in Canada.
There are just under 500 licensed dairy producers in B.C. with the majority of the operations located in the Fraser Valley. The remaining producers are located in the Thompson-Okanagan, Vancouver Island, Bulkley Valley, Cariboo, Kootenay and Peace River.
Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick –
“As a society, we always need to be working together to ensure all animals in British Columbia are treated with proper care and respect. A conversation on how we could work better with the BC SPCA and the provincial dairy industry turned into action, resulting in the National Dairy Code of Practice being adopted here in B.C. The Dairy Code outlines acceptable care and handling practices for dairy cattle, and I want to thank both the BC Dairy Association and the BC SPCA for their commitment to animal welfare, and working co-operatively to improve it.”
BC SPCA chief executive officer Craig Daniell –
“We couldn’t be more pleased that this day has come. The B.C. government has listened to our concerns about the humane treatment of farm animals. We are delighted by this new regulation that will improve our ability to protect dairy cattle.”
BC Dairy Association chief executive officer Dave Eto –
“The dairy industry in British Columbia is dedicated to ongoing and continual improvement of animal care practices. As an industry, we expect individual dairy producers to have excellent animal care practices at all times. We are pleased with the announcement today.”
- In April 2015, the Government of British Columbia and the BC SPCA recognized Animal Abuse Prevention Day at an event outside Victoria’s Parliament Buildings.
- The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act was updated in 2011 to have the toughest penalties in Canada.
- The maximum penalties that can be levied under provincial legislation against a person who is convicted of causing distress to an animal is $75,000 and up to 24 months imprisonment.
- Balanced Budget 2015 committed $5 million to the BC SPCA. This funding is supporting an eight-year facilities plan that will replace or renovate aging BC SPCA facilities in 10 B.C. communities including Vancouver, Nanaimo, Kamloops, Kelowna, Prince George, Dawson Creek and the Kootenays.
BC SPCA: http://www.spca.bc.ca/
BC Dairy Association: http://bcdairy.ca/
Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act: http://www.bclaws.ca/civix/document/id/complete/statreg/96372_01