Standards of Care

Icon of a book   About Standards of Care

There are many different opinions and perspectives involved in the study, husbandry and care of domestic animals, including livestock and companion animals. 

Many countries have developed Codes of Practice for the care and handling of domestic animals in an attempt to try to establish a standard of care. Standard of care can be a legal term. It refers to the attention, caution, watchfulness and prudence [act of being careful] that a reasonable person would exercise. If someone’s actions do not meet the standard of care, then they fail to meet the duty of care which all people should have towards others. 

In Canada, the Codes of Practice are nationally developed, voluntary guidelines for the care and handling of different species of farm animals. These Codes provide required and recommended practices to protect the health and welfare of farm animals. However, they are not legislated, which means they are not laws. The Codes are designed to be used as a tool that help animal owners ensure that sound animal welfare practices are followed. 

The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association has also developed Codes of Practice for dog boarding and breeding kennels as well as catteries, places where cats are boarded or bred.

The Codes of Practice do not cover all situations, but try to define high standards for the basic principles of animal care and management. The recommendations in the Codes of Practice are based on the best knowledge currently available. These recommendations are based on the following “standards”:

  • The purpose of the Codes is to promote the welfare of animals. Those involved with animals must try to inform themselves and others in the proper care and handling practices.
  • People working with animals must have due regard for their welfare.
  • People involved with animals should be aware of the welfare of animals under their care or the care of others.
  • It is the responsibility of people working with animals to be knowledgeable of proper care and handling. Ignorance is not acceptable as an excuse for cruelty and neglect.

Perspectives and Opinions

People can hold differing opinions about what is most important in the care and welfare of animals. Figure 1.2 provides examples of some of the more common opinions… 

Figure 1.2: Different opinions about what is most important in the care and welfare of animals.
(Click for a full-sized PDF version)

Icon of a graded written submission Activity 1.2 – In Your Own Words

Take a few minutes to complete the following activity.

Activity Instructions

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  2. Scroll down to the “In Your Own Words” activity item in the booklet.
  3. Complete each of the activities outlined in the instructions.
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When you are done, proceed to the next topic here in the online module.

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