Meristem Land and Science: Driving Progress in Sustainability

NewStream Farm Animal Care, Volume 1, Edition 18

Farm animal care part of the 'rebar' in Canada's beef brand

September 26, 2013

Photo courtesy Canada Beef Inc.

Important part of the Canadian Beef Advantage highlighted at annual forum in Calgary

Wide open spaces. Fresh water. The world-class natural scenery of Canada.

All of this imagery is not just a backdrop to beef production in Canada, but an integral part of how Canadian beef is perceived by customers and consumers both at home and internationally, say two beef marketing leaders with Canada Beef Inc., who presented at the Canada Beef Annual Forum, Sept. 20-21 in Calgary.

Now more than ever, the image and reputation of producers and industry taking good care of cattle throughout their lifetimes is an equally critical component interwoven into the fabric of Canada's beef brand, which is now further supported through an updated branding-marketing-communications strategy led by Canada Beef called the Canadian Beef Advantage (or "CBA" in industry shorthand).

"The CBA is the core DNA of our beef brand - the attributes of Canadian beef and the supply chain from a gate to plate perspective, which supports our value proposition," says John Baker, Executive VP Global Marketing. "Animal care is a key part of that. It's clearly an area that is getting higher profile and attention. It's important to our reputation and what Canadian beef stands for."

Linked with quality, sustainability

Just how important is reflected is the newly unveiled CBA document, highlighted at the forum as a "tool to start a conversation around the CBA," which features animal care paired alongside environment in one of the main sections. The information on "Animal Care & Canada's Natural Environment" links the essential role of both to the updated vision of a pristine and responsible Canadian beef industry, emphasizing that "Care for animals and the environment supports sustainable high-quality Canadian beef production."

Click here to read the complete feature article.

Five branding insights

September 26, 2013

Photo courtesy Canada Beef Inc.

Five branding insights

There are increasing signs that farm animal care has a growing role in how Canadian beef production is regarded both at home and around the world. But what does this mean for producers and the role as ambassadors of a successful Canadian beef brand?

Ron Glaser and John Baker of Canada Beef Inc. provided a number of insights relevant to this and other beef branding questions at the recent Canada Beef Annual Forum. Here are a few examples that serve as key points for producers to consider.

1. Authenticity is critical. If you don't walk the walk, you can't talk the talk. "For a brand to have meaning and impact it has to be trustworthy," says Glaser.

The Canadian beef brand resonates because it reflects the actual product quality as well as the real, on-the-ground approaches and initiatives that industry has adopted. "Ultimately our brand identity is the mechanism for us to market the investment that has been made by industry at different levels," says Baker. "It reflects the attributes of Canadian beef and the supply chain from a complete gate to plate perspective."

2. Unity creates strength. The Canadian Beef Advantage beef branding strategy was led through the collaboration of Canada Beef Inc. and the Canadian Cattlemen's Association. However, very significantly, it was developed with broad industry participation and has been reviewed and endorsed by all major beef industry stakeholder organizations across the country. "That is very important in being able to communicate the collaboration in our industry," says Baker, "as well as the depth of our commitment to the brand promise."

Click here to read the full story.

Groups or stalls: Prairie Swine Centre weighs in

September 26, 2013

Photo courtesy of Prairie Swine Centre

What the science says on the question at the heart of today's debate

"Gestation stalls" — arguably no two words have become a greater lightning rod for controversy and passionate debate from many sides around the issue of animal welfare in livestock production.

But no matter the viewpoint one element that can be consistently relied upon to cut through the emotion and support informed and productive discussion is the science.

The Prairie Swine Centre is among the latest to add valuable scientific perspective to the conversation, with the release of a scientific review of the "group or stalls" question led by researchers Dr. Jennifer Brown and Dr. Yolande Seddon.

Click here to read the full story.

Sobey's launches fresh foods initiative

September 26, 2013

Part of campaign with celebrity chef Jamie Oliver that touts "certified humane" choices

Sobeys has taken a bold step forward in the welfare-related branding arena that carries implications for livestock producers across the country.

The retailer announced the launch of a new "Sobey's Fresh Foods Initiative" that includes a major component focused on animal welfare.

"We're passionate about animal welfare," states Sobeys in the language for the initiative. "It's why Sobeys is the only major Canadian retailer to offer beef, pork and poultry that meet Certified Humane® standards."

The initiative is part of a broader new campaign that features celebrity chef Jamie Oliver and also includes a focus hormone and antibiotic free choices. Certified Humane is emerging as a lead player in the certified welfare arena.

Learn more from the Sobey's perspective here on the Sobeys website.

NewStream Farm Animal Care previously interviewed David Smith, VP of Sustainability of Sobeys this spring on "The Sobeys Farm Care Approach". His perspectives offers insight on the backdrop to this development. Watch for more on this in future editions of NewStream Farm Animal Care.


September 26, 2013

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

Beef industry launches Beef Advocacy Canada program

Canada's beef industry is tackling consumer relations head on with a new advocacy program and animal care will be a beneficiary. Modeled after the Masters of Beef Advocacy (MBA) program of the National Cattlemen's Association in the U.S. the Beef Advocacy Canada (BAC) program is set to launch in November, 2013.

The training course is web-based with an introductory level and a more advanced level, designed for producers and others who want to help carry the beef industry message in a consistent manner. The advanced level will include media training, regular industry updates and access to an alumni website with resources for further information and messaging.

BAC is jointly developed by the Canadian Cattlemen's Association and Canada Beef with financial support from the Alberta and Livestock Meat Agency (ALMA). More information is available from Annemarie Pedersen at Canada Beef or Jolene Noble at the Canadian Cattlemen's Association.

Stakeholders deliver feedback on Pig Code

How much interest and engagement is there in process for updating Canada's Pig Code?

The numbers tell the story.

Over 4700 submissions. Representing 32,340 individual comments.

That's where the tally stood on the feedback received on the draft Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Pigs when the public comment period closed in August.

It represents a lot for the Code Development Committee to consider and that what the committee will be busy doing over the next few months.

Submissions came from across Canada, the United States and around the world, reports the National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC), which coordinates the process. Producers, processors, veterinarians, animal welfare advocates, the general public and many others contributed valuable input.

"The response has been tremendous. The National Farm Animal Care Council appreciates the level of engagement across interest groups and constructive input that so many provided in their submissions," says Jackie Wepruk, NFACC General Manager.

There is a lot at stake in where the decisions land on the Pig Code for producers and their industry. NewStream Farm Animal Care will continue to monitor and report on the key developments.




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