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Animal Care in the VBP+ Producer Reference Manual

Animal Care in the VBP+ Producer Reference Manual

The Animal Care section of the new VBP+ Producer Reference Manual is a great resource for producers to brush up on animal management techniques. Like the other sections, Animal Care includes self-assessments for certified operations to check their progress towards meeting the requirements for a successful audit. In addition, this section is packed full of great information on a variety of animal care topics, as well as other resources for producers.

Animal Care in the manual is divided into five parts: NFACC Code of PracticeHandlingProceduresHousing and Facilities, and Reproduction and Calving. Each sub-section contains key information for producers looking to get certified, or who want to learn more about these topics.


The NFACC Code of Practice outlines recommended and required practices for Canadian beef producers. Read it here.

The first sub-section, NFACC Code of Practice, helps producers interpret the structure of this important document. The National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC) published the new Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Beef Cattle in 2013. This document upholds the standard for beef cattle management in Canada, and was developed in partnership amongst producers, animal welfare groups, and other stakeholders. Check out the Animal Care section to better understand how to interpret the recommendations and required practices outlined in this document.

Next, the Handling sub-section discusses low-stress cattle handling and its benefits to producers and animals. Specifically, this part of the manual describes specific guidelines for handling tools and principles for animal movement. Additionally, this section ties into the NFACC Code of Practice by providing producers with the recommended handling practices from this document.

Procedures helps producers understand specific guidelines for a variety of common on-farm techniques, including restraint, branding, disbudding/dehorning, castration, weaning, predator control, and tail docking. These components help producers best accomplish these tasks while balancing animal welfare, practicality, efficiency, and effectiveness. For producers new to VBP+ or who want to clarify best practices, this part of the Animal Care section is key. As a bonus, links to several helpful resources from the Beef Cattle Research Council are provided.

The Housing and Facilities sub-section describes how to best manage animal care outside, in confinement, and with specific facilities. This part of the manual lays out key considerations in each of these scenarios and helps producers improve the environment their cattle are exposed to in order to maximize animal health, welfare, and performance.

Finally, Reproduction and Calving Management discusses facilities, monitoring, colostrum, calving issues, and prevention of undesired pregnancies. These topics combined allow producers to improve their calving practices so as to maximize success in terms of calf survival. NFACC guidelines are also provided throughout to help producers note key points from this document.

Together, the sub-sections of Animal Care help producers enhance their cattle management to improve animal health and welfare, which in turn improves performance and profitability for VBP+ operations. Stay tuned for the next section of the VBP+ Producer Reference Manual!