let's talk farm animals

Farm Animal Council of Saskatchewan pleased with the success of another ‘We Care’ Billboard Campaign!

By Jean Clavelle

TBillboard campaign June 16his year marks another triumph for the “We Care” billboard campaign initiated by the Farm Animal Council of Saskatchewan (FACS).  The program, which began in 1996, feature beef, bison, horse, chicken, egg and swine producers with their animals and are posted around busy thoroughfares of Saskatoon, Regina and Moose Jaw.

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Posted by Farm and Food Care on September 20th, 2013 :: Filed under Activism,Agricultural Advocates,Agriculture Education,Animal care,Beef cattle,Broiler Breeders,Canada,Chickens,Consumers,Dairy cattle,eggs,Faces of Farming,Farm life,Future of Farming,Horses,Media,Pigs,Pork,Poultry,Sheep,Speaking out,Uncategorized
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Pigs in the city

 

Ron and Sharon Douglas of Clifford are shown with their Ontario Premier’s Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence.

Ron and Sharon Douglas of Clifford are shown with their Ontario Premier’s Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence.

By Jeanine Moyer

One Ontario farm couple is so passionate about farming that several times each year they take their farm on the road. Ron and Sharon Douglas of Whispering Brook Yorkshires, Clifford, ON, spend nearly 100 days travelling to schools, fairs, festivals and exhibitions across Ontario each year, educating the urban public about agriculture.

And with them come their own pigs – in the comfort of the Pig Mobile  – a converted livestock trailer with the sides replaced with windows to allow people to see the pigs as they would live on the farm.

The Pig Mobile is as close as you can get to an Ontario hog farm without actually stepping foot in a barn. The animals are carefully chosen to represent hogs at various growth stages including a sow and baby piglets, weaner, grower and finishing hogs. Ron designed the unit himself, modeling the trailer as close to a real pig barn as possible. The unit is complete with ventilation, a farrowing unit, slatted floors and feeders similar to those found in any Ontario hog barn.

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Posted by Farm and Food Care on August 29th, 2013 :: Filed under Agricultural Advocates,Agriculture Education,Animal care,Pigs,Pork,Speaking out
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Dear Ryan Gosling…

Dear Ryan Gosling:

Letter sent to the Globe and Mail – July 11, 2021

To the Editor:

Putting ‘Actor turned animal welfare expert’ criticisms aside, let’s correct the premise first – a pig is not a dog or a chicken or a bat or a dolphin. They all have very different housing, health and care needs.  Although it may not come up at many Golden Globe parties, millions of dollars have been invested in researching farm animal welfare.  Virtually none of that money has come from the animal rights critics Mr. Gosling has aligned himself with to write this commentary, even though they fundraise to ‘improve animal welfare.’

The Code of Practice for Pigs is an amazingly Canadian process.  It’s based on science and put together with input from government, the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies, agriculture and food industry and farmers themselves. There is always a need for continuous improvement in farming, and critics voicing their disapproval is part of that process.  However, I support a more reasonable approach to improving animal welfare based on science and practical farm experience, which may not be as sexy, but might actually help real animals in real barns in Canada today and tomorrow.

Sincerely,

Crystal Mackay, Executive Director, Farm & Food Care Ontario

To see Ryan Gosling’s original opinion piece, visit here: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/commentary/a-tiny-cage-is-not-a-life/article13117337/

 

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Posted by Farm and Food Care on July 18th, 2013 :: Filed under Activism,Agricultural Advocates,Agriculture Education,Animal care,Canada,Codes of Practice,Housing,Pigs,Pork
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Pick on someone your own size!

It’s an interesting and generally unknown fact:  When sows (female pigs) farrow (or give birth), they can have litters of piglets totalling 20 or more. But most sows only have 14 teats – which means they can only nurse up to 14 piglets comfortably.

Piglets feeding from their mother sow.

Piglets feeding from their mother sow.

What do pig farmers do to ensure that all of the newborn piglets receive an equal amount of milk? Find out by reading the latest Dinner Starts Here blog written by Kendra Leslie. You can find it here:http://www.dinnerstartshere.ca/blog/entry/pick-on-someone-your-own-size

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Posted by Farm and Food Care on June 28th, 2013 :: Filed under Animal care,Pigs,Pork
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Time to speak up

Guest blog by Stewart Skinner, sixth generation Ontario farmer

“While what we are about to show you is from one farm in one community, we’re told this can happen and is happening across the country,” stated Lloyd Robertson to a prime time audience on Saturday night.  I don’t know if I’ve ever had such a strong motivation to start writing…that night I was tempted to sit down at my computer and bang out an angry retort.  In the end I decided to give myself a cool down period to make sure that I didn’t say anything stupid in the heat of the moment (not that I’ve done that before).

I am a 6th generation Canadian farmer; my family has fed Canadians almost as long as Canada has been a country.  Like my predecessors, I have a strong respect for the livestock I care for and the land that I farm.  But one thing transcends this level of respect, the call to feed the world.  It is impossible to explain this call – it is an intense feeling of responsibility to feed people while making sure that we are doing it in the most sustainable way possible so that coming generations will be able to grow food.  If farmers fail at their job, people starve.  It is a heavy burden.

In Canada today most people get out of bed never worrying about going hungry, there is always a meal around the corner at the grocery store.  This strong sense of food security is what allows Canadians to worry about paying for a house, a car, university tuition, or the welfare of the animal they are eating.  If the vast majority of Canadians didn’t know how they were going to pay for their next meal do you think they would worry about sows being confined in a gestation crate?  No, they would want to make sure that they could buy a piece of pork as cheaply as possible so that they could feed their family.

To read the rest of Stewart’s blog, visit his website at: http://modernfarmer.wordpress.com/

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Posted by FFC on December 13th, 2012 :: Filed under Activism,Animal care,animal handling,Animal welfare,Canada,careers,Farm life,Misconceptions,Pigs,Pork
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Faces of Farming calendar - meet the faces of April.

by Patricia Grotenhuis

Starting up a business is challenging, and starting up a farm is no different.  Add in an international component and it becomes more challenging yet.

Not all farmers take over the family farm.  Amy Cronin and her husband Mike were both raised on dairy farms but became hog farmers after they married.  Thanks to a lot of hard work, the farm has grown and expanded, with farms in both Ontario and Iowa.

Cronin and her six year old daughter Emmy are featured in the 2012 Faces of Farming Calendar published by the Farm Care Foundation. Their page was sponsored by Molesworth Farm Supply because of Cronin’s work on the farm and in the industry.

Amy and Emmy - the faces of April

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Posted by Farm and Food Care on April 4th, 2012 :: Filed under Animal care,Canada,Faces of Farming,Family vs factory farming,Farm life,Pigs,Pork
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Our contract with pigs

by  Patricia Grotenhuis, Lifelong farmer and agricultural ambassador

A number of conversations between a father and his son about why they follow the specific farming practices they did led to the writing of a fable which stretches back to the times before animals were domesticated.

Bob Hunsberger, a pig farmer from Ontario, and his son Kyle, decided to write an explanation showing the evolution of farming practices which have lead us to where we are today.  Writing the document has helped the Hunsbergers answer questions they are asked about animal agriculture and about the farming practices being used with pigs.

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Posted by FFC on June 17th, 2011 :: Filed under Animal care,Farm life,Feeding the world,Pigs,Pork,Sustainability of the family farm
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She’s no “typical” farmer!

Vet tech turned pig farmer in the 2011 Faces of Farming calendar

By Patricia Grotenhuis

Pigs have captured the interest of Katherine Zurczak, a registered Veterinary Technician and city girl turned farmer.

Zurczak had her first encounter with pigs while studying to be a veterinary technician at Ridgetown College.  She was quickly fascinated by her work with the animals, and after graduating in June of 2009, began working at Hog-Wild Farms Ltd. in Ontario.

The face of November in the 2011 calendar

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Posted by FFC on March 8th, 2011 :: Filed under Animal care,animal handling,Education and public awareness,Faces of Farming,Family vs factory farming,Farm life,Misconceptions,Pigs,Pork
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Sweat like a Pig? Not likely!

By Patricia Grotenhuis, Lifelong farmer and agricultural advocate

It’s a hot, sunny summer day, and pigs are all out wallowing in the mud, happy as could be.  Or are they? 

Pigs, when housed outdoors, will use mud to keep cool if necessary.  They lack sweat glands (making it impossible to “sweat like a pig”), so the only way they can cool themselves is by getting moisture on their skin which can than evaporate and create a cooling effect.  Mud would work for this cooling effect, as does water.

Although pigs are normally associated with messes (“your room is a pig sty” probably being the most common example), they actually like clean environments to live in.  Pigs are quite comfortable living in a clean, dry barn with adequate supplies of food and water.

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Posted by FFC on March 1st, 2011 :: Filed under Animal care,Housing,Pigs,Pork,Urban Myths,Weather
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Learning more about a family farm champion

Thanks to veteran American food-industry journalist and commentator Dan Murphy for this profile on a young, Canadian hog farmer. As a side note, Stewart has just been named outstanding pork producer of the year in his county. Well deserved, we’d say! - by the Ontario Farm Animal Council

Field Report: Canada’s Stewart Skinner

by Dan Murphy (www.agnetwork.com)

 We often hear about the aging of today’s farmers and the threat that creates for future food production. What we don’t hear about often enough is today’s young farmers, many of whom are not only tech savvy but media friendly, as well.

One such farmer is livestock producer, blogger and family farm champion Stewart Skinner, a pig farmer in Ontario, Canada, who raises some 400 sows on a family-owned farm in central region of Canada’s most populous province.

Stewart Skinner

“Our acreage has been in the family and in production before Canada was a country,” Skinner noted. “We have been farming here since 1859.” (For any Canadian history-challenged readers, Canada became a confederated dominion in 1867 and an independent nation in 1882).

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Posted by FFC on January 31st, 2011 :: Filed under Canada,Family vs factory farming,Farm life,Pigs,Pork,Sustainability of the family farm