Q&A on conventional production of Canadian Beef

Do growth promoting, antimicrobial or other veterinary drugs affect the food safety of Canadian beef?



Veterinary drugs are regulated by the?Food and Drugs Act?and Regulations. All veterinary drugs go through a Health Canada approval process before they are licensed for use.? The?Health Canada Veterinary Drug Directorate?(VDD) evaluates and monitors the safety, quality and effectiveness, and sets standards for the use of veterinary drugs to ensure that, when used according to label directions, they are safe for both animals and humans.

For a more detailed explanation of the veterinary drug approval process in Canada, download ‘Canada’s Veterinary Drug Approval Process

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Label and veterinary directions indicate proper administration doses and routes for veterinary products, as well as pre-slaughter withdrawal times, which ensure that the product has been metabolized by the animal before the meat is harvested. Most drugs are completely metabolized during the prescribed minimum number of days between the last administration of the drug and slaughter, and therefore leave no residue. Continue reading

Practical and effective methods of pain control: Webinar October 21

Update: Missed the webinar? Find the recording and check for future webinars on our Webinars page: /e8f/resources/webinars.cfm

The knowledge of pain in livestock has advanced steadily over the past 20+ years. Behavioral and physiological indicators of pain have been identified, and researchers’ ability to measure animal responses associated to painful procedures have improved. Research has developed new pain control drugs that are registered for use in cattle in Canada, and knowledge is building on the appropriate dosage, routes of administration and synergy between anesthetics and analgesics.

Meanwhile, consumer pressure is building to avoid painful practices on cattle when possible, and to reduce pain when castration, dehorning, or branding are necessary. The new Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Beef Cattle also makes strong statements about pain control.

Join this free webinar to learn more about Continue reading

Pain Mitigation



Consumer pressure to avoid painful practices on cattle when possible, and to reduce pain when castration, dehorning, or branding are necessary, is building. The new Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Beef Cattle also makes strong statements about pain control.

The knowledge of pain in livestock has advanced steadily over the past 22 years. Behavioural and physiological indicators of pain have been identified, and researchers’ ability to measure animal responses associated to painful procedures have improved. Research has developed new pain control drugs that are registered for use in cattle in Canada, and knowledge is building on the appropriate dosage, routes of administration and synergy between anesthetics and analgesics.

Despite a considerable amount of research, cattle’s experience with pain is… Continue reading

Is Bloodless Dehorning Really Painless?

This article written by Dr. Reynold Bergen, BCRC Science Director, originally appeared in the January 2015 issue of Canadian Cattlemen magazine and is reprinted on the BCRC Blog with permission of the publisher.



In January 2016, Canada’s Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Beef Cattle?will expect beef producers to consult with their veterinarian and?use pain control when dehorning calves after the horn bud has attached. In other?words, producers will be expected to use pain control when dehorning calves?older than 4 months.

Earlier dehorning is easier for you and the calf. The best way to dehorn is to use homozygous polled bulls. Second best is to disbud before the horn has?attached to the skull. Older calves have larger horns, suffer larger wounds,?likely experience more pain, and have Continue reading

Is it OK to use snow as the only water source for cattle?

The Beef Cattle Research Council has funded a number of extended grazing research projects over the years. This puts us in contact with Canada’s leading forage, grazing, cattle nutrition, health and welfare experts, and helps us to answer the winter grazing management questions that inevitably pop up at this time of year.

Here’s a recent question from a producer in Quebec: “I’m reading all I can about bale grazing. Many times, ranchers tell me they don’t give water to cattle and there’s no problem with that. Do you agree? Is it possible to winter cattle only with snow with no negative effects?” Continue reading

Beef Research School video: Beef Care Code essentials in 10 minutes

In the latest episode of the Beef Research School, Ryder Lee with the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) gives us a run down of the Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Beef Cattle.? Ryder explains:

  • how science, practically and societal expectations were considered
  • important changes in requirements, including pain management when castrating or dehorning older animals
  • how cattle producers are responding to the new Code
  • CCA’s plans to expand the Verified Beef ProductionTM program to include animal care, biosecurity and environmental stewardship Continue reading

Do it Early, Do it Right

This article written by Dr. Reynold Bergen, BCRC Science Director, originally appeared in the October 2013 issue of Canadian Cattlemen magazine and is reprinted with permission.



Canada’s new voluntary Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Beef Cattle was released on September 6. The code (available at www.nfacc.ca) lays out guidelines pertaining to everyday beef cattle production practices. Like the 1991 version, the new code includes both should-do’s (recommendations) and must-do’s (requirements).The code was developed with input from cattle producers, industry stakeholders, veterinarians, researchers, government agencies, and the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies. A notable change in the new code relates to pain management when castrating and dehorning. This reflects two decades of change in society and the tremendous amount of research into these practices.

Continue reading

Q&A on conventional production of Canadian beef

Updated with additional links July 4, 2018

Do growth promoting, antimicrobial or other veterinary drugs affect the food safety of Canadian beef?

Veterinary drugs are regulated by the Food and Drugs Act and Regulations. All veterinary drugs go through a Health Canada approval process before they are licensed for use.? The Health Canada Veterinary Drug Directorate (VDD) evaluates and monitors the safety, quality and effectiveness, and sets standards for the use of veterinary drugs to ensure that, when used according to label directions, they are safe for both animals and humans.

For a more detailed explanation of the veterinary drug approval process in Canada, visit Continue reading

Try these weaning techniques for more productive calves this fall

It won’t be long before it’s time to wean calves so that cows can head into winter in good body condition.? The abrupt separation of calves from their dams is the most common approach to weaning, but it’s also the most stressful, and calves that experience a lot of stress underperform.

It’s easy to see why weaning is stressful on calves; sudden deprivation of milk and social contact with mothers, being handled for vaccinations, changes to feed and water sources, and transportation to a different environment with unfamiliar pen mates is a lot for young animals to cope with. The stress calves experience through weaning depresses their immune systems, making freshly weaned calves the most susceptible to bovine respiratory disease (BRD) infections. Stressed calves also have lower feed intakes. Listening to their bawling, seeing them pace in their pens and dealing with sick calves is no doubt stressful on producers too.

This article outlines some ideas to keep stress at a minimum during weaning.? Understanding the principle of low-stress weaning allows producers to wean calves in whatever ways work best on their operation while enjoying the benefits of reduced incidence of disease in calves, reduced costs and time spent on treatments, better weight gain, and a quieter barnyard. Continue reading

Q&A on the science that informed a renewed Beef Code



Following an extensive process that began in 2010, the Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Beef Cattle is now available. The Beef Code is an important tool for the Canadian beef cattle industry to educate producers and to support the industry when challenged by animal care concerns. The previous edition of the Beef Code was published in 1991.

The renewal process was led by National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC) and followed the NFACC code development process set out for the different species of farmed animals. Continue reading