In October 2014, the Board made the National Farm Animal Care Council’s Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Dairy Cattle (the Code) mandatory for all licensed BC milk producers. At that time, the Board also implemented random inspections of dairy farms to ensure compliance with the Code. Review of these inspections was carried out by a Board-established committee—the Animal Welfare Inspection Review Committee (AWIRC) to review and make recommendations to the Board. AWIRC members currently include the Chief Veterinary Officer for BC, the UBC NSERC Industrial Chair in Dairy Cattle Welfare, a retired dairy animal veterinarian, a BCMMB Board member, an independent animal welfare inspector and the BCMMB staff lead on animal welfare.
Transition to ProAction®
The Board transitioned its inspection process to the BC Dairy Association (BCDA) in October 2016; the BCDA is responsible for carrying out on-farm validations of all proAction modules, including animal care and reporting to the Board. The proAction® animal care module is based on the Code. In July 2015, the Dairy Farmers of Canada proAction® program was adopted by all provinces. The Board subsequently made registration and compliance with several modules of the proAction program mandatory for all BC producers, in July 2017. Mandatory modules to date, therefore include: Food Safety; Animal Care and Livestock Traceability. The Codecontinues to be mandatory for BC producers.
The Board’s Authority
Although animal care has been transitioned operationally to the BCDA with the proAction program, the Board, as the regulatory body, will continue to maintain its authority to ensure compliance with the proAction and the Code, under its orders. Furthermore, if any severe violation of the Code or suspected animal cruelty is found at any time on a dairy farm in BC, the Board would immediately implement its protocol to suspend milk pick-up and possibly cancel the producer’s licence. A 3rd party animal welfare auditor would be sent to the farm to assess animal welfare (and make recommendations to the Board) as soon as possible in such circumstances. Other authorities would also be notified immediately: the BC SPCA and the BC Ministry of Agriculture. Please see the Board’s “Non-compliance Guidelines” below for more details.
For more information, visit the proAction website: