NewStream Farm Animal Care, Volume 3, Edition 4
Views from the frontlines
Posted: April 2, 2015
Identifying the building blocks of a strong future
The Livestock Care Conference provided a showcase of ideas and insights from a range of speakers helping drive progress in farm animal care.
Here are a few examples among many, which provide a window on the trending thoughts and evolving issues in increasingly high-profile area:
"Our commitment is that Alberta continues to be a leader in animal welfare and that consumers around the world know that. Accessing new international markets for our agricultural products is a priority and animal welfare is key to market access."
– Jason Krips, Deputy Minister at Alberta Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development
"Let's celebrate our strengths. We need to lead the conversation. It starts with the people in this room."
– Dr. Duane Landals, long-time veterinarian and animal care leader
Telling 'our story'
"The goal is not to fake perfection. Tell our story - the good, the bad, the imperfections. The more real we are the more we can truly connect with people and build good relationships. . . . We all have a story to tell and we need to be the ones telling it. Misinformation is the greatest threat to animal agriculture."
– Dr. Cody Creelman, Veterinary Agri-Health Services Ltd.
"We need to tell our story. At the same time, as producers, we need to ask ourselves, can my farm story be told and shown on the front page of media? We need to make sure we are always operating in a way that is acceptable to the public and telling people about that in a way that is easy for them to understand."
– Hugh Simpson, Proprietor Beekeeper at Osprey Bluffs Honey Company
"Research into consumer perceptions is important. It reads the tea leaves and tells you what people are thinking out there. But when it comes to influencing those perceptions, the question becomes 'What are you going to do about it.' Education is critical and you need to think 'Where are people getting their information from?' When it comes to animal welfare, one of the opportunities is to become stronger as that go-to resource."
– Nick Black, Managing Partner at Intensions Consulting
"The bottom line is that perception is reality. When there are problems, we need to take ownership, stand up and demand corrective action. As an industry we need to demand 100 percent compliance and become 100 percent responsible. It's about doing the right thing and owning the term animal welfare. Social license is about transparency."
– Brent Moen, President of Verus Swine Management Services Ltd
Producers taking the lead
"There is a large and growing segment of consumers who want to know more about how their food is produced. As a farmer or rancher, they want to look you in the eye and get straight answers that fit what they expect. We need to provide those answers. One of the things I believe we all can do, especially as primary producers, is make a much more concerted effort to get our message out to the consumers."
– Dr. Terry Church, ?Manager at Canadian Rocky Mountain Ranch Ltd.
"We need to always be thinking how our practices would be viewed by the public. Just because we can do something doesn't mean we necessarily should do it. Everything we do needs to fit what is responsible and acceptable. This is especially important to always consider in areas of diversified livestock, where we don't always have the structure and resources of other areas of livestock production. It starts with us as producers."
– Dawn Sutton, Director, Alberta Goat Association
Strong progress, bright future
"Think how far we've come. We have many robust animal care programs in place. We have resources available to improve practices. We have Codes of Practice for nearly every species and livestock sector. We have robust research. And we have most importantly dedicated and inspiring people to champion animal welfare. . . . I want everyone in this room to be proud of where we've come from, proud of where we are, and proud of where we're going."
– Dr. Angela Greter, Acting Executive Director, Alberta Farm Animal Care