www.Meristem.com

Meristem Land and Science: Driving Progress in Sustainability

NewStream Farm Animal Care, Volume 3, Edition 9

Insights from Dr. David Fraser

Posted: December 18, 2015

Professionalizing animal agriculture is key to the future, says the animal welfare expert

It's a time of change throughout animal agriculture. But perhaps the most important trend taking place – particularly for key sustainability issues such as animal care - is the increasing movement toward "a professional model" for animal agriculture.

Renowned animal welfare expert Dr. David Fraser offered a range of insights on this topic in a recent webinar hosted by Farm Management Canada and presented by the National Farm Animal Care Council.

A professor in the Animal Welfare Program at the University of British Columbia, Fraser's track record includes a 43 year research career and long-time service both domestically and internationally advising on progress in farm animal welfare.

Here are few key perspectives, among many, from Fraser on the topic of professionalization:

The human factor

"Very different welfare outcomes occur in the same type of physical environment. Why is this? Of course it's because animal welfare depends on so much more than just the physical environment. It depends strongly on the quality of animal care that the animals receive. This in turn depends so much on the knowledge, skill and attentiveness of the producers and staff."

Shift to professional mindset

"Whether it's food safety, environmental stewardship, or farm animal welfare, what we need is a system that rewards that high level of skill, knowledge, dedication and performance. I believe we need a continued shift in our thinking toward what I would call 'professional animal production' as the way forward on these issues."

Aiming for industry-driven progress

"The traditional industry model of enforcement people coming in and correcting problems is what we want to avoid. Industry-driven progress; producers taking charge of responsibility; and advancement – these approaches make us much more like a true profession."


Dr. David Fraser

Validation from business to business pathway

"I think there is no real likelihood of provinces passing acts, in the short-term, that are going to allow animal producer organizations to self-regulate, in a way that is legally recognized. This is where I think involving the retail sector and other parts of the food chain is so important.

"For example, there's a great temptation to retailers to use simple soundbites as a way of ensuring compliance with animal welfare standards. Something like 'free range' which isn't an animal welfare standard. If the retail sector shift from that to become part of the solution, so that they are the ones that say 'we are going to buy from people who apply the accepted standards' I think that's a mechanism that can really work. I see a pathway working together business to business rather than in a legal manner. I'm optimistic that is possible."

Aligning retailer and production standards

"If we think of a company like Loblaws, Canada's largest retailer, which is now coming out with some strong policy statements about animal welfare, I think it's safe to say they see themselves as part of the process rather than someone who is disrupting the process. If a company like that says to their customers that by such and such as date we expect to be selling only products that are part of industry supported assessments and standards, I think that is a huge step in favor of professionalization rather than something that detracts from it."


Click here to return to
NewStream Farm Animal Care,
Volume 3, Edition 9.



NEW FROM MERISTEM

SOCIAL MEDIA

RECENT POSTS

McDonald's Verified Sustainable Beef Pilot final report available

How to load, how to lead

New progress on animal care codes of practice

Headwaters: Snapshots of new developments

Posted: June 2, 2016

Building trust through transportation technology

Can genomics revolutionize animal health?

New knowledge for an animal care-driven world

Headwaters: Snapshots of new developments

Posted: March 17, 2016

Top 10 popular stories of the past year

Headwaters: Snapshots of new developments

Posted: January 21, 2016

Soil Health rises on the sustainability landscape

Data: The big opportunity for beef improvement

Insights from Dr. David Fraser

Headwaters: Snapshots of new developments

Posted: December 18, 2015

Agriculture steps up its game in crisis preparedness

Crisis preparedness 101: Rapid fire tips

Taking the Longview

New Code nears the finish line

Headwaters: Snapshots of new developments

Posted: November 26, 2015

'Care' crosses over

Four to watch

What beef producers are asking about VBP+

Rubber hits the road on new Code

Headwaters: Snapshots of new developments

Posted: September 24, 2015

The new world of 'sustainable beef'

Inside the grocery game

Stampede through different lenses

Headwaters: Snapshots of new developments

Posted: July 16, 2015

Walmart makes waves

Tipping points, trends and the FDA mindset

Tipping points, trends and the FDA mindset

Young dairy farmers talk welfare

Headwaters: Snapshots of new developments

Posted: June 4, 2015

New frontiers take shape in farm animal care

The next big challenge: Professionalizing animal agriculture

Buzzworthy: Three main "take home" messages

Views from the frontlines

#KeepingItReal: Building bridges in 140 or less

Heart of a farmer

Headwaters: Snapshots of new developments

Posted: April 2, 2015

The fallout from California's 'Prop 2'

Drivers of care: Building a winner

New Codes work underway

A&W marches ahead with new chicken focus

Global view: The politics of hidden videos

Headwaters: Snapshots of new developments

Posted: March 12, 2015

Banff Pork Seminar digs deeper on welfare issue

Trust factor rises as lynchpin to swine industry future

Welfare won't derail positive pork outlook

More from Banff

Headwaters: Snapshots of new developments

Posted: January 29, 2015