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Province updates codes of practice after prominent farm animal abuse cases
A chicken is shown after being pulled from a pile of manure at an Abbotsford, B.C. farm in April 2018.
The provincial government is updating its codes of practice to better protect B.C. farm animals from abuse.
In a statement Thursday, the Ministry of Agriculture announced the NDP has opted to adopt standards outlined by the National Farm Care Council.
"By accepting these codes of practice in their animal management practices, farmers and ranchers are making it clear that animals in their care are being treated with the utmost care and respect," Minister Lana Popham said in the statement.
The codes apply to all farm owners and employees, and provide direction for animal handling, feed and water, housing, health and welfare and husbandry, the province said. They will come into effect for poultry, fur and meat livestock in June.
"It is important that industry, government, animal welfare organizations and consumers work together to ensure the highest levels of welfare for the millions of farm animals raised in our province each year," BC SPCA CEO Craig Daniell said.
The update comes about two months after two companies and a B.C. man were charged in connection with a hidden camera investigation into chicken abuse allegations in the Fraser Valley.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency announced a total of 38 charges in December after animal rights activists released video allegedly showing farm workers mistreating chickens. Two years ago, the farm labour company at the centre of the allegations launched a new policy that staff would wear body cameras while inside the barns.
The company is also under investigation from the BC SPCA following a disturbing video allegedly captured at egg farms in Abbotsford last year, which activists say shows widespread mistreatment.
Undercover video was also used in a cattle cruelty case that resulted in a worker serving jail time in 2017.