It has been nearly 20 years since Canada updated its welfare standards for raising goats. The recent update to the Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Goats includes changes that will improve the welfare of goats across Canada.
There are approximately 230,000 goats in Canada. Some goats are pets, but most are raised commercially for dairy, meat and fibre (mohair/wool). Goats are sometimes also used as pack animals or to control weeds and prevent wildfires. It is important to have goat welfare standards that apply to all types of goats.
A draft version of the Code was released to the public in 2021, and Canadians had the opportunity to review the Code and suggest changes. There was a huge response from British Columbians – 72% of responses came from B.C.! The Code Development Committee reviewed all comments and made extensive changes to the final code. The Code of Practice now includes important new goat welfare standards around enrichment, space allowance, veterinary care, and pain control.
“While more research is needed on goat welfare, this new code reflects important scientific evidence developed in the last 20 years,” says Melissa Speirs, BC SPCA manager of farm animal welfare.
Speirs, an animal welfare scientist with goat welfare experience, represented Humane Canada (Canada’s federation of SPCAs and humane societies) on the Code Development Committee.
Thank you to everyone who spoke up to improve goat welfare, your voice truly made a difference!
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