Meristem Land and Science: Driving Progress in Sustainability

NewStream Farm Animal Care, Volume 2, Edition 5

Diamond 7 Ranch produces cattle with care and compassion

March 6, 2014

This ranch builds its brand based on shared values that include animal care

Easing the discomfort and stress on calves during annual processing is just one element in the overall strategy of producing high quality, premium beef, under humane production practices at southern Alberta's Diamond 7 Ranch.

For the past four years at branding, calves have been administered an oral dose of meloxicam, a non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory to help reduce pain related to branding. And brand-sites on the hide are also sprayed with a ranch-prepared lanolin and aloe vera lotion to further speed healing, says Laura Laing, Diamond 7 ranch president and CEO.

"With cattle pasturing on an extensive summer grazing lease, branding remains a necessary part of our operation," says Laing. "But at the same time we do everything possible to ease stress and discomfort and insure the well being of our cattle."

Treatment with the anti-inflammatory is just part of the overall Animal Welfare Protocol, followed at Diamond 7 under the advice of ranch veterinarian Craig Dorin, with AgriHealth Services, based in Airdrie, Alta.

Click here to read the complete feature article.

Fighting back against the activist threat

March 6, 2014

It's time for a new game plan and new approaches are emerging

Just over three years ago one example of a different kind of approach to dealing with animal activists was launched in Canada. The initiative is called the Ag & Food Exchange (AFX).

One reason it's different is its structure and focus. It is a fee-based privately run, specialized information and consultation bureau developed with initial financial support from government and now operates on support from the livestock and food industry. Its focus is strictly on activist activities and related issues.

The second difference is what it does. Paul Hodgman of AFX describes it as both a "411 service" for general information and a "911 service" for emergencies. While there are other private and public initiatives and service companies offering these kinds of communications services, Hodgman is convinced the approach is a useful model for the industry regardless of who provides the services.

Click here to read the complete feature article.

Tough questions for the livestock industry

March 6, 2014

Having clear answers is critical as the sector plans for the future

There are more and more players in the activist arena with new tactics and agendas. Who are they and what do they mean for the livestock industry? What is the best way to respond?

These and other questions are at the forefront, with the industry already divided significantly on some of the answers. Here's a snapshot of the discussion, including insights from Paul Hodgman of Ag and Food Exchange (AFX).

Who is an activist?

There are more and more players in the activist arena with new tactics and agendas, and figuring out which ones to target and how to handle them is an increasing challenge.

Some are very aggressive, some less so. But experience shows that small efforts can grow quickly. A protest started as a daily vigil by one person against an Ontario packing plant has mushroomed to include many players, and new chapters of the effort opening in other locations.

Should we cooperate with activist groups?

This is one of the toughest issues for the livestock industry. There are more examples of the livestock industry cooperating with activists, decisions that divide the broader industry.

Click here to read the complete feature article.

Vet community steps up animal welfare profile

March 6, 2014

Latest example is new joint statement from AVMA and FVE

Dr. Duane Landals during one of his family's horse-packing adventures in Alberta

As the world of farm animal care continues to evolve in the new landscape of sustainability, various interests both within and outside the veterinary community are looking at the role of veterinarians with a different language and a different perspective.

It's all part of a new environment and new lexicon taking shape. Among the latest indications is a new statement, "The essential role of veterinarians in protecting animal, human, public and environmental health," delivered jointly by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe (FVE).

The report observes that the public has a strong appreciation for the important role of veterinarians in the United States and Europe who are engaged in clinical practice caring for the health and well-being of companion and farm/ranch animals. However, the myriad other roles veterinarians play in protecting and advancing human, public, and environmental health are less recognized by the public, yet are essential to the continued well-being of people and animals at the local, national, regional, and international levels.

Click here to read the full story.


March 6, 2014

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

Breaking development: New Pig Code released

This edition of NewStream comes out hot on the heels of an announcement that the new Code of Practice for the care and handling of pigs has been released. See the announcement from the National Farm Animal Care Council and Canadian Pork Council here.

Watch for further reaction and analysis in our next edition.

'Living report' series VeriCare Live available

The world of farm animal care is one that changes rapidly and calls for a new way to access and use information. That's why the VeriCare Live special report series was created as part of the Information Leadership Initiative, sponsored by Alberta Farm Animal Care (AFAC) and the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency (ALMA).

It provides "living reports" on many of the key areas of activity in farm animal care today. Each report has an overview section that provides the background on what you need to know, along with a regularly updated listing of stories on the latest "Thinking. Ideas. Developments." on this topic area and quotes on "What people are saying" as part of the ongoing discussion.

The result is a report that changes over time but is always available in a consistent format. It can be used in several ways:

  • Get farm animal care information organized by topic area. A 'go-to' resource for a succinct overview and regularly updated listing of stories on many of the big topics and issues in farm animal care.
  • Customizable options. A unique special report format with information that can be used online or customized for different needs.
  • Fast reference to help get background and answer questions. Producers, industry and other stakeholders have higher demands to answer questions and manage expectations from customers and the public on many of the topics featured under VeriCare Live. An objective of each report is to provide accurate and timely information, written based on a process that includes talking directly with expert sources, to provide interpretation and language users can have confidence in to help address these demands.

Learn more and check out the report topics currently available here.

Science drives key shifts in the new Sheep Code

The new Code of Practice for the care and handling of sheep has been delivered, as announced by the Canadian Sheep Federation (CSF) and the National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC).

"Our industry's participation in the Code development process demonstrates our producers continued commitment to animal health and welfare, and dedication to responsible animal husbandry," says Corlena Patterson, Executive Director of the Canadian Sheep Federation.

The new Code updates standards and recommendations across the board, including new standards for pain control during procedures like tail docking and castration. An important part of understanding the knowledge basis that underlies the Sheep Code is to understand the findings from the Scientific Committee review, which played a major supporting role in the Code development process. Learn more in this Executive Summary: The Science of the Sheep Code.




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