Care of Pullets Guidebook
Consideration of animal care is becoming increasingly important for the growing, keeping and farming of animals in Canada and across the world. Practices are now being reassessed in light of new and emerging knowledge, practices and attitudes. The Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Pullets and Laying Hens (Code of Practice) is a nationally developed guideline of animal care requirements and recommended practices promoting sound management and welfare practices for housing, care, transportation, and other animal husbandry practices. The Code of Practice is the result of a rigorous process, taking into account the best science available, compiled through an independent peer-reviewed process, along with stakeholder input. It is meant for consistent application across Canada. A new version of the Code of Practice was adopted and published by the National Farm Animal Care Council in 2017.
Requirements – These refer to either a regulatory requirement or an industry imposed expectation outlining acceptable and unacceptable practices and are fundamental obligations relating to the care of animals. Requirements represent a consensus position that these measures, at minimum, are to be implemented by all persons responsible for farm animal care. When included as part of an assessment program, those who fail to implement requirements may be compelled by industry associations to undertake corrective measures or risk a loss of market options. Requirements may also be enforceable under federal and provincial regulation.
Recommended practices – These may complement the Code of Practice’s requirements, promote producer education, and can encourage adoption of practices for continual improvement in animal welfare outcomes. Recommended practices are those that are generally expected to enhance animal welfare outcomes, but failure to implement them does not imply that acceptable standards of animal care are not met.
Since 2015, Pullet Growers of Canada (PGC) offers the Care of Pullets Guidebook (Guidebook) to pullet growers. The standards outlined in the Guidebook are intended to help growers adopt standards of husbandry appropriate to the physical and behavioural needs of the pullet. They also reflect all elements put forward in the 2017 Code of Practice.
Representation for National Codes of Practice
Canada has national guidelines regarding animal care and transportation which are the Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Pullets and Laying Hens which has been completely reviewed in 2017 and the Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Farm Animals: Transportation which is currently being reviewed and is projected to be completed in the spring of 2023. On both of these Codes of Practice Development Committees, there is a representative of PGC actively participating.