Meristem Land and Science: Driving Progress in Sustainability

NewStream Farm Animal Care, Volume 1, Edition 23

Year of ideas 2013

December 12, 2013

Taking farm animal care management to a new level

It was a year of "transformative" change. And the fuel was ideas - from producers, their industries and the broad spectrum of the farm animal care community.

Farm animal welfare as an area of management focus grabbed attention like never before. New Codes of Practice, new assessment models, and a range of other major developments continued to shift the landscape. Consumer and retailer trends forged new pathways bringing both higher pressures and expanded opportunities. New research and fresh ways of thinking added energetic new elements and solutions to the mix.

Tough obstacles and challenging economics persisted on a number of fronts. But at the same time more producers found ways to apply new knowledge to simultaneously raise the bar on both animal care and production advantages.

Here's a look back at 10 of the key concepts, among many, that drove progress in 2013, from the pages of NewStream Farm Animal Care (presented in no particular order):

Click here to read the complete feature article.

Give us your thoughts on NewStream

December 12, 2013

Give us your thoughts on NewStream

We need your help.

About a year ago we launched the first edition of NewStream Farm Animal Care. It was designed to capture thinking, ideas and developments in farm animal care and get them into the hands of decision-makers, from producers, researchers and educational institutions right on up the value chain.

Two things are clear from this experience of interviewing people on the frontlines of the farm animal care world. One is that farm animal care is a complex issue that is continually and rapidly evolving on many fronts. The second is that there is a tremendous amount of knowledge and judgment in this community.

If you haven't taken our NewStream Feedback Survey, please take a few minutes and give us you feedback. It will help us plan the next generation of this service. You can reach it here.

As well, if you have ideas for stories or comments on any article, positive or negative, we welcome those as well.

Click here to take our survey.

Inside the new consumer thinking

December 12, 2013

Michael von Massow

Inside the new consumer thinking

Today's questions on consumers and animal welfare: what they think, what they know and why it matters, have huge implications for livestock producers and their industries. One of the key developments today is the development of unique food value chains, says Dr. Michael von Massow, a featured speaker at the upcoming Livestock Care Conference, hosted by Alberta Farm Animal Care (AFAC).

"The demand for food is changing," says von Massow, a professor in the College of Management and Economics at the University of Guelph. "Consumers are looking for a range of attributes that often go beyond the specific physical characteristics of the food product. This is fundamentally changing what people buy, where they buy it and how it is produced, processed and brought to consumers."

Digging deeper to understand value creation

The Livestock Care Conference, slated for March 26-27, 2014, in Edmonton, is an event where producers and a broad range of livestock industry stakeholders can get an inside track on the latest developments, issues and progress in farm animal care. Click here to register and get more information.

The evolving consumer mindset is a tremendous factor in animal agriculture today.

Click here to read the full story.


December 12, 2013

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

FACs conference: Subway steps up its welfare activity

The big players in the food industry continue to boost their focus on animal welfare.

This was clear as the Farm Animal Council of Saskatchewan hosted its annual conference, themed "Fence Lines to Corporate Board Rooms."

One of the featured speakers was Elizabeth Stewart, the Marketing Director for Franchise World Headquarters who oversees global Corporate Social Responsibility for Subway restaurants.

Headquartered in Milford, Connecticut, the company today has more than 40,000 restaurants in 102 countries. Stewart says Subway is on a journey to "become as environmentally sustainable and socially responsible as possible" and that includes a key focus on animal welfare. One of her main messages was that the supply chain needs to work together to ensure the highest standards and best practices are in place.

An overview of the Subway corporate responsibility approach, including how it presents this to the public, is available on the Subway website.

Britain: Shoppers call for clarity on animal welfare standards

Among the next frontiers in farm animal welfare, as it relates to consumers, is how to address product labelling.

This discussion is heating up in Canada and a good window on where things may be headed and what some of the options are is Europe.

A new source of information is a survey recently conducted by England-based. The Grocer magazine. The results indicate that the majority of shoppers are confused about animal welfare standards and would like clear, hierarchical rankings to help them better understand different standards, schemes and logos. Learn more here.




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