Meristem Land and Science: Driving Progress in Sustainability

NewStream Farm Animal Care, Volume 1, Edition 2

The Codes 101: What producers need to know

December 6, 2012

Jackie Wepruk

New Codes of Practice are shaping Canada's next generation approach to livestock welfare

One of highest-profile and potentially most powerful tools in Canada's approach to meet rising expectations around livestock welfare is a new set of nationally developed Codes of Practice for the Care and Handling of Farm Animals.

"The Codes" are guidelines designed to support responsible livestock welfare practices and keep everyone involved in livestock care and handling on the same page. They also provide a clear reference livestock industries can point to in addressing questions and rising expectations from consumers, the marketplace and society in general, both domestically and internationally.

But what do the Codes really mean for producers? Are they practical? Do they add cost? What advantages do they bring to improve farm management, productivity, training of staff and other important components of running a livestock operation?

"There are a lot of good questions around the Codes," says Jackie Wepruk, manager of the National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC). "For producers, the most important thing is be informed and be engaged in the discussion. The Code development process is set up to provide producers with a clear voice at the table, to have a strong say in an issue that will have a major impact on their future."

Click here to read the complete feature article.

XL Foods, 24 hour news and the livestock care challenge

December 6, 2012

A reminder about what is essential for a thriving animal agriculture sector

What's the biggest consumer perception challenge?

For today's livestock industry, the answer depends where you live and can change and explode to the forefront as fast as the next crisis event hits the 24 hour news cycle.

In this part of the world, food safety would be a tough one to argue with given the events of recent weeks. But would it be environmental stewardship tomorrow? Or how about animal welfare?

One thing's for sure – preparedness is an easier game than predictions. For a few quick thoughts, NewStream Farm Animal Care went to Dr. John Kennelly, Dean of the Department of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sciences at the University of Alberta. Kennelly was fresh off his presentation outlining challenges and opportunities for the livestock industry at the North American Forum on Sustainable Animal Agriculture. Here's what he had to say.

Building the bank on trust. Like many attending the Forum, Kennelly feels social license is critical. Consumers will always have questions and concerns. Animal agriculture needs to be on the ball and engaged to manage these expectations. Like political capital, the more trust you have built up that you do things the right way, the more you have to spend and avoid damage when a crisis arises.

Click here to read the full story.

The 30,000 foot view: Bold new steps on the global agenda

December 6, 2012

What's happening around the world that matters now for Canada, with colour commentary from UBC animal welfare expert Dr. David Fraser.

David Fraser

We hear a lot about how livestock welfare has become a front-burner issue around the world. But what specifically is happening at that big picture global level that Canadian livestock producers and their industries should keep an eye on?

A good person to ask is University of British Columbia animal welfare expert Dr. David Fraser, who is often invited to international livestock welfare discussions and who participates in several of the major international organizations and initiatives. He regularly speaks to livestock industry groups to provide what he calls "the 30,000 foot view" – a unique perspective on the global animal welfare agenda earned by logging lots of fly time to meetings.

Fraser provides colour commentary on several key international developments that have stuck in his mind based on activities and observations of the past several months (part one of two):

1. 'The Gateway' opens

First up is an ambitious new web-based communications effort that promises to reshape how the world learns and collaborates on farm animal care. It comes from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, in the form of its interactive "Gateway to Farm Animal Welfare" website.

What it is. The Gateway is equal parts information source, a forum for discussion and a platform for the international animal welfare community to engage in collaborative projects.

Why it matters. The FAO is highly influential, especially in the less industrialized countries, and the activity of the Gateway is likely to be a major driver in shaping how the world thinks about and manages farm animal welfare issues.

Click here to read the complete feature article.


December 6, 2012

Quick takes on key activity and what's coming, from NewStream editors

Livestock ER trailers set for Alberta roadways

Emergency first responders have a new resource to handle incidents involving livestock transport in Alberta. Alberta Farm Animal Care (AFAC), along with partners, unveiled a new fleet of state-of-the art "livestock emergency response unit" handling trailers, set for deployment in key areas of the province. Also announced was a new training course under development to support qualified workers operating and using these "livestock ER" trailers.

"As livestock producers, we know that livestock care doesn't end when animals leave the farm," say Heini Hehli, a Rimbey-Alta.-area dairy producer and Chair of AFAC. "Safe transport is a top priority and an area where we have long worked with the transportation industry, those involved in emergency response, and different levels of government, to continually improve approaches and resources." Get more information here.

Circle calendars: Livestock Care Conference 2013 takes shape

The Livestock Care Conference, hosted by Alberta Farm Animal Care in partnership with the Alberta Veterinary Medical Association, has earned a reputation as a leading forum for the discussion of issues and progress in farm animal care.

Dates are now set for the 2013 conference, slated for Thursday March 21 & Friday March 22, 2013. AFAC AGM, poster session and evening reception will be Thursday, with the main LCC agenda throughout the day on Friday. A major theme planned is the challenge and the opportunity around assessment models for farm animal care. Bookmark on the AFAC website to catch more details as they are released.

Horse care news: Code consultation and Temple visit

Now's the time to provide input on the horse Code. Equine Canada and the National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC) announced the launch of the public comment period on the draft Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Equines. You can view the draft Code and submit feedback here until February 14, 2013.

Responsible horse care is also in the spotlight of another announcement. Dr. Temple Grandin will present the Fred Pearce Memorial Lecture at the 31st Horse Breeders and Owners Conference (HBOC), with a talk focused on "Understanding Horse Behaviour. " The conference is January 11 to 13, 2013 in Red Deer. Learn more here.

Industry support drives information leadership

The NewStream Farm Animal Care e-newsletter is building strong sign-up among industry leaders, producers and others in the farm animal care community in the early going of this new effort, which is part of an Information Leadership Initiative sponsored by Alberta Farm Animal Care with support from the Alberta Livestock Industry and the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency (ALMA).

If you're one of the many who has signed-on to receive this e-newsletter since the first edition was distributed in November, as NewStream editors we would like to welcome you aboard. You can access the stories from first edition. We also welcome and encourage your feedback anytime, at . Most important, we encourage you to let others know who may be interested.




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