Category: Animal Welfare

Maple Leaf Foods on track to have all sows in open housing by 2024

Moving forward with its plan of having all sows in an open housing system, Maple Leaf Foods confirms as of now, 40,000 sows, or roughly 50 per cent of the herd, have moved over to the new system. When fully complete, Maple Leaf will become the first large-scale producer to have all of its female… Read more »

Get livestock antibiotic information FAAST

Most livestock producers are aware that significant changes are coming to how they’ll access antibiotic medication for animals as of December 1, 2018. Beginning then, several commonly used antibiotic medications (especially those important for human medicine) will no longer be available through your feed or animal supply store, instead being accessible only through your veterinarian…. Read more »

Go slow to get ahead with low stress cattle handling

Sometimes you have to move slow to get where you want to go. The same can be said for cattle handling. Low stress cattle handling techniques don’t just make sense for animal welfare, they’re also a key component of verified sustainable beef production. Veterinarian Dr. Kip Lukasiewicz, head of animal handling, field research and facility… Read more »

Saskatchewan agriculture associations collaborate to urge re-evaluation of strychnine

The 90-day consultation period regarding access to strychnine for rodent control in Canadian fields is drawing to a close. Back in July, Health Canada proposed the de-registration of the chemical, often used to curb rodent population in farmers fields as the department found the chemical was also causing harm to species-at-risk, such as the swift fox and the burrowing… Read more »

Maple Leaf Foods spending $28 million on Edmonton plant upgrades

Maple Leaf Foods (MLF) is spending $28 million to transitioning the company’s Edmonton poultry processing plant to a “world-class controlled atmosphere stunning (CAS) technology facility.” The company plans to convert is transportation, receiving and holding area and handling systems to optimize rest time and create a climate-controlled environment as it implements the CAS technology, the… Read more »

City kids connect farmers to consumers in ‘Before the Plate’

What do you get when you connect two ‘city kid’ filmmakers, a world-class chef, and nine farmers and their families? You get Before The Plate, a genuine behind-the-kitchen-door, on-the-farm look at how food is produced in Canada, and the passion and commitment chefs and farmers apply to their craft. The driving force behind the film… Read more »

Prairie pest finds unlikely ally in the federal government

There is often a good natured debate about what they are called. Officially, they are the Richardson Ground Squirrel. In polite company they are most often called gophers. In farm country, what they are called is mostly unprintable, especially the adjectives. That being said, the much-maligned pest may have just found an ally in the… Read more »

Gene editing allows for polled dairy genetics without the production drag

Semex, a Canadian-based, farmer-owned cattle genetics company, and Recombinetics, a gene-editing company, have formed an alliance to bring hornless dairy cattle genetics forward through the use of TALENs technology. TALENs involves very precise gene editing that makes small adjustments to the genome of an animal to delete, repair, or replace individual elements of DNA. Because dairy cattle breeds… Read more »

Farm & Food Care offers individual membership to bolster funding

It’s been 30 years since a fledgling organization called the Ontario Farm Animal Council began working to counter the efforts of activists opposed to animal agriculture in Ontario. After three decades, which included a name change and an amalgamation with AgCare, a like-minded farm organization concerned about resources and environmental stewardship, Farm & Food Care… Read more »

Building consumer trust is our responsibility, says ‘Farmer Tim’

Tim May says he’s “just a farmer down the road.” But the Rockwood, ON dairy farmer — better known as ‘Farmer Tim’ in the social media world — and his 43 cows are certainly punching above their weight in the fight to help consumers understand what really happens on the farm these days. Three years… Read more »

Inside ‘The Real Dirt on Farming’

Where can Canadians find everything they need to know about farming all wrapped into a neat 60-page package? It’s all in The Real Dirt on Farming. Farm & Food Care Ontario officially unveiled the newest version of its flagship public outreach publication last month. This new Real Dirt is the fourth edition since the project’s inception in… Read more »

A new approach: Turning to consumers for production advice

No one has to tell University of Guelph agricultural economics master’s student Travis Jansen that farmers like him are well-advised to listen to consumers. But he’s doing more than just listening to them – he’s set to learn from them, too. Jansen, who comes from a family hog farm near Seaforth, knows successful farmers have… Read more »

Sausage study challenges consumer confidence

My daughter and grandson share the same birthday, August 7. They’re part of a pork-and-grain farming operation near Thamesville. At their birthday celebration on the weekend, our family barbequed pork sausage from their farm on the campfire. There was no reason to doubt the quality of the sausage. We trust the meat packers in nearby… Read more »

Neither side wins with ‘Pig Trial’ verdict

The recent court case of Anita Krajnc, informally called the “Pig Trial,” has come to a close, and the farming community leaves the courtroom with disappointment. Sort of. Rather than a one-sided legal rout for animal rights activism, the verdict delivered in this criminal mischief case actually supports Ontario farmers in a number of ways. Let’s… Read more »

Watching for ‘Cow Signals’ is time well spent

Every time a cow takes a lame step or stands for a long period of time she’s sending a signal. Farmers who read those signals and respond with efforts to improve cow comfort are rewarded with increased cow longevity and more profit in their pocket. That’s the return on investing in Cow Signals, according to Agribrands… Read more »