Canada's Code of Practice for Equines to be updated - BC SPCA
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Canada’s Code of Practice for Equines to be updated

May 6, 2024

Are you passionate about the welfare of equines in Canada? Now is your chance to share your concerns about equine welfare and make a difference for horses, ponies, miniature horses, donkeys, mules, and hinnies across the country.

The National Farm Animal Care Council has announced that the Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Equines, published in 2013, will be updated. The Code contains requirements and recommended practices for on-farm care of equines.

An important first step in the Code development process is the initial survey to capture top welfare concerns from all interested individuals. The input received will help the Code Development Committee understand the kinds of issues people wish to see considered in the update. Everyone is invited to participate! The survey is open until May 16.

Update: this survey has now closed.

Close-up of horse outdoors on pasture.

To ensure your submission is reviewed, please follow these tips for filling out NFACC’s survey:

  • Use your own words – share your unique perspective; identical submissions may be ignored
  • Be concise – the survey does not provide much room to enter your submission
  • Be polite – submissions that include profanity or derogatory language will not be considered
  • Address on-farm welfare issues – the Code does not apply once equines leave the farm, so it does not cover transport


Key welfare issues for equines that we would like to see addressed include:

  • Ensuring there is shade, shelter, and dry resting areas to accommodate all equines at the same time when outdoors
  • Minimizing social isolation and stereotypic behaviour due to poor turnout, exercise, and socialization opportunities
  • Clear space allowances both indoors and outdoors
  • Pain control for painful procedures such as branding, and for painful injuries and illnesses
  • Minimizing the use of handling and training equipment that causes pain

Next steps

After the survey closes, the Code Development Committee, made up of farmers, veterinarians, animal welfare organizations, researchers, transporters, government representatives, and others, will review the submissions and create a list of priority welfare issues.

A group of researchers will compile the most recent research on these topics to help the Code Development Committee create a science-informed Code. A draft Code will be released in approximately two years for public review and comment. The BC SPCA will share the draft Code when it is ready.

Learn more


Donkey grazing outdoors.
Photo credit: Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals Media

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