New Code of Practice for Equine Care in Canada Released

Equine Canada (EC) and the National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC) announced the release of the new "Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Equines" on June 27.

The new code is available for download online.

“The development of this new code is perhaps the most important project in recent Canadian history for the health and welfare of equines in Canada,” states Jack de Wit, director of the EC board of directors and chair of the code development committee. “This is a code of practice we can all be proud to have. It is among the most comprehensive of equine codes internationally, and will serve a vital role across our diverse industry.”

The code’s development was led by an 18-person committee comprised of equine owners, caregivers, animal welfare and enforcement representatives, researchers, veterinarians, and government representatives. Aiding in their work was a five-person scientific committee that included researchers with expertise in equine behavior, health, and welfare.

“I am very pleased with the high standards of care required for horses in the new equine code,” states Bettina Bobsien, DVM, BSA, Dipl. ABVP, of the British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, who represented the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies on the Code Development Committee. “It is also encouraging to see this code mandate ethical training methods, exercise requirements and restrictions on tail alterations.”

The equine code is the third of eight farm animal codes of practice currently under revision to be completed through the NFACC code development process. More information on the code development process is available at

Efforts are under way to ensure widespread distribution of the equine code through not only printed copies but also electronic versions for viewing online and for downloading to computers and mobile devices. As printed copies will be in limited supply, stakeholders are encouraged to make use of the electronic format.

Funding for the codes of practice is provided by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Agricultural Flexibility Fund, under the Addressing Domestic and International Market Expectations Relative to Farm Animal Welfare initiative, as part of Canada’s economic action plan.

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