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RECOMMENDED CODE OF PRACTICE FOR THE CARE AND HANDLING OF FARM ANIMALS

FARMED DEER

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THE CODES OF PRACTICE:

The Codes of Practice are nationally developed guidelines for the care and handling of different species of farm animals. Codes are not intended to be used as production manuals; instead, the Codes are designed to be used as an educational tool in the promotion of acceptable management and welfare practices. The Codes contain recommendations to assist farmers and others in the agriculture and food sector to compare and improve their own management practices.

THE RECOMMENDED CODE FOR FARMED DEER:

The Canadian deer industry recognizes the need for a national Code of Practice which addresses issues of animal welfare in balance with normal management practices. This Code was initiated by the deer industry with a review of Codes of Practice and publications from a variety of Canadian and international sources. The Canadian Federation of Humane Societies and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada were then approached by the Canadian Venison Council and a Review Committee was selected to provide further input and develop the code.

Deer, including wapiti (North American elk), have been raised commercially in Canada for over 25 years. Historically, this has been on a small scale. However, the industry has grown significantly in the last decade as farmers seek new, economically viable and environmentally sustainable alternatives to traditional agriculture.

Species and numbers of farmed deer vary from province to province. Wapiti, red deer and fallow deer are currently considered most adaptable to farming in the Canadian environment. Deer are farmed principally for the sale of live animals, venison (meat) and velvet antler. Deer are adapted behaviourally and physiologically to regional environments. Temperate and arctic species have strong annual cycles of reproduction and metabolism which are synchronized by photoperiod (day length). These adaptations allow deer to survive winter hardships and capitalize on the brief pulse of vegetation growth.

This factsheet only highlights a small amount of the
information found in the complete Recommended Code of
Practice for farmed deer.

A copy of the complete recommended Code of Practice can
be obtained from your local commodity organization or
provincial agricultural office.

HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE RECOMMENDED CODE OF PRACTICE FOR THE CARE AND HANDLING OF FARMED DEER:

SECTION 2: PRODUCERS

Producer's skills and responsibilities:


SECTION 3 : ANIMAL CONSIDERATIONS

Nutrition:

Pastutes:

Handling:

Breeding:

                                     Natural Mating Systems


Wapiti, red deer and fallow deer use a harem mating system in which dominant males control groups of several to over 20 females. In some situations, fallow deer may use a lek system - males compete on a central display arena. In the wild, moose, white-tailed deer and mule deer males rove widely during the rut, tending and breeding females in sequence.


Delivery and neonatal care:

Herd Health Care:


SECTION 5 : TRANSPORTATION

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All codes are presently developed by a review committee made up of representatives from farm groups, animal welfare groups, veterinarians, animal scientists, federal and provincial governments, related agricultural sectors and interested individuals. The following are some of the individuals that provided input at various stages in the drafting of this code.

In 1995, the Canadian Agri-Food Research Council (CARC) and its Canada Committee on Animals and its Expert Committee on Farm Animal Welfare and Behaviour, took the lead, along with the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies in updating existing codes and developing new commodity codes.

Further information on the process of Code Development can be obtained from the Canadian Agri-Food Research Council (CARC), Building No. 60, Heritage House, Central Experimental Farm, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0C6

Request for copies of the Codes can be addressed to the national commodity group and/or specific provincial organizations.

This factsheet was prepared by Penny Lawlis, Animal Care Inspector, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and reviewed by the Code of Practice Committee. This factsheet has been printed and distributed with the financial support of your provincial agricultural ministry.

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