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Register now for Livestock Care Conference, March 21-22 in Calgary

Posted: February 27, 2013

There's still time to reserve a spot at one of the leading showcase events on farm animal care. Producers and a broad range of livestock industry stakeholders can get an inside track on the latest developments, issues and progress at the Livestock Care Conference (LCC), March 21-22, 2013, in Calgary.

Early bird registration deadline is Feb. 28 for the annual LCC, hosted by Alberta Farm Animal Care (AFAC) in partnership with the Alberta Veterinary Medical Association (ABVMA).

"The conference provides an opportunity for producers, researchers, industry, students, government and the public to address animal welfare issues from all sectors of the livestock industry," says Larry Delver, producer vice-chair of AFAC. It typically draws both speakers and attendance from across Canada, along with representation from the U.S. and internationally.

"The conference has built an anchor role in helping our livestock sectors get a window on what's coming in livestock welfare and how we can work together to meet the challenges and opportunities," says Delver. "The discussion around livestock welfare has never been more important to how we manage, both at the on-farm level and the industry level, to meet today's consumer expectations and stay at the leading edge. We encourage everyone from individual producers to livestock industry leaders to participate as we seek out the best approaches and innovative solutions."

The first day of the conference, on Thursday, March 21, is focused on student activities and the AFAC AGM, which is followed by an evening research posters presentation and welcome reception for the LCC which begins at 8:00 p.m. The main LCC agenda is Friday, March 22, beginning with registration and continental breakfast at 7:15 a.m., with speakers and discussion running from 8:15 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.

The main speaker agenda includes a special focus on major developments and issues on the front burner for livestock producers and their industries. Featured sessions highlight new global standards in animal care, innovative assessment models for the livestock industry, and case-studies of how major livestock producer organizations are meeting new challenges and expectations.

Several interactive components punctuate the agenda, including round-table discussions and a moderated "bear pit" session driven by comments and questions from the floor. A main objective of the bear pit is to generate feedback on where the livestock industry needs to go to succeed in managing the farm animal care issue, including the potential hurdles and benefits for producers.

Among specific highlights, Dr. James Reynolds, College of Veterinary Medicine, Western University, USA, will present a major two-part session on animal welfare assessments. This will be followed by a processor's viewpoint on assessment needs, by Dr. Lily Edwards-Callaway of JBS, the large Brazilian multinational food processing company.

Jackie Wepruk, manager of the National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC), will provide a breakdown of what's happening at a global level with new World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standards, and the implications for Canada. Snapshots of how industry is tackling livestock welfare progress will be showcased in a session slated to include representatives of NFACC, Alberta Milk, Alberta Chicken Producers and the Canadian Pork Council. Closing insights will be provided by long-time livestock industry and farm animal care leader Dr. Darryl Dalton of the ABVMA.

Full conference details including agenda and accommodation information is available at www.afac.ab.ca/lcc. Register online at that address or call AFAC at 403-662-8050.

AFAC is the organization representing all major livestock producer organizations in Alberta with the goal of promoting responsible farm animal care.

An LCC communications program around the conference is also anchored on the AFAC LCC website at www.afac.ab.ca/lcc, including a link to a special "LCC News Blog" covering key action leading up to and during the conference. Watch for Twitter updates at the hashtag "#LCC2013."