Last week, we learned how farm animals survive outside in the winter. This week, let’s look at some of the issues involved in raising animals on ourfarms today. The information provided is from ‘Farm and Food Care Ontario’ (www.farmfoodcare.org).
Farmers, like any animal owners, must follow laws for humane treatment. In addition to laws, farmers have helped develop “Recommended Codes of Practice for the Care and Handling of Farm Animals”, in co-operation with animal scientists, government, and many other partners. This spells out what is appropriate in the daily care and handling of livestock and poultry. It outlines acceptable standards for areas such as: shelter and housing, feed and water, healthcare, breeding, animal identification, handling and supervision, transportation, sales yard and processing facilities, and emergency procedures.
The Codes of Practice are internationally recognized as models of responsible animal care and will continue to evolve. They are currently being updated to reflect new advances in animal care research.
Many of Canada’s livestock sectors have created, or are creating, their own animal care programs, based on these Codes, to provide assurance to consumers that animals are being raised with the utmost care and respect.
The livestock sector has people with full-time careers in farm animal care. Specialists dedicate their lives to improving humane handling for animals on the farm, on the truck, and all the way through the food chain.
Unfortunately, there are some instances of animal abuse, but there are controls in place that work. Neglect and abuse of animals of any kind is against the law. Farmers and ranchers, like all animal owners, are responsible for caring for their animals and meeting many regulations, including the Criminal Code and provincial animal care legislation.
It’s important to note the vast majority of farmers and ranchers are doing an excellent job in caring for their animals. In rare cases, the level of care or management of farm animals isn’t what it should be. Farm organizations have recognized this issue, and have developed their own peer services to help improve farm animal care.
If and when there is a problem, Canada’s farmers are actively working to be part of the solution. The first farm animal council, dedicated to responsible farm animal care, was formed by farmers in Ontario over 20 years ago and similar organizations now exist at the national level.
From time to time, pictures and videos of undercover farm animal cruelty make the headlines when it’s released to the media or on the internet by certain animal activist groups. Animal cruelty is always unacceptable and these pictures are disturbing for anyone who cares for animals, including our farmers. Every case is different but questions on the accuracy and the true purpose of the videos and the groups that release them always arise. Any extreme case (which is always one too many) does not reflect the care that the other millions of farm animals receive every day.
Remember, just because you see it on television or on the internet does not mean it is typical or true. Our Canadian farmers and ranchers really do care for their animals.
Think about this – The place of your greatest failure can become the place of God’s greatest miracle.
Just some food for thought.