let's talk farm animals

Battle of the sexes

By Leslie Ballentine, Farming and food commentator

Just when I thought I had heard it all, the Globe and Mail recently carried a feature on “gendered meat”. What you ask (as did I) is such a thing? Well apparently there is a demand by some Canadian consumers for selecting their meat based on whether the animal is male or female.


Posted by FFC on April 23rd, 2012 :: Filed under Chickens,Consumers,Food,Misconceptions,Pork,Retailers
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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


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.


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


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.


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).


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

Animal Industry Comes of Age

Farm animal councils in Canada, led by the National Farm Animal Care Council, have taken a lead role in promoting the Codes of Practice to farmers in this country. NFACC is also now leading the development of revised codes for a number of livestock species. We think this article sums the topic up well - OFAC

Animal Industry Comes Of Age
Laura Rance
Manitoba Cooperator

An animal-abuse court case based on the discovery of hundreds of dead, starving, dehydrated and injured hogs in a Notre Dame de Lourdes-area barn earlier this year could be precedent setting on two fronts.

The horrific conditions animal-welfare officers found when they were called to the scene and the number of charges laid against the owners of the barn may make this one of the biggest animal-abuse cases the province has ever witnessed.

But it is also the first time charges have been laid for failing to comply with an industry code of practice — standards of animal care developed under the leadership of these hog producers’ peers.


Posted by FFC on December 13th, 2010 :: Filed under Animal care,Animal cruelty,animal handling,Beef cattle,Canada,Codes of Practice,Dairy cattle,Housing,Pork

Are Consumers Willing to Pay for Animal Welfare?

We found this article interesting. Although it’s out of the United States, the findings would be mirrored in Canada  - OFAC


July 15, 2021 - Research presented recently at the American Dairy Science Association annual meeting looked at consumer-purchasing decisions when it comes to animal welfare.

What would happen if all consumers were informed about the different types of egg and pork production systems available, and were allowed to purchase egg and pork products from these different systems? asked Bailey Norwood, associate professor at Oklahoma State University. The only difference between the food products would be the level of animal welfare. And, suppose that the price premium attached to products with higher standards of animal care exactly equals the estimated cost premiums. What would happen?


Posted by FFC on July 30th, 2010 :: Filed under Animal care,Consumers,Education and public awareness,eggs,Pork,Uncategorized

The end - A PIG’S TALE

Steve Buist, Hamilton Spectator, 2021.06.07

I left the Great Lakes packing plant on May 12 with four boxes of meat piled onto the back seat of my car. Piggy — my pig, the pig I had helped raise and care for — was packed inside those boxes.

Six months of his life, six months of my life, all reduced to four cardboard boxes on my back seat.


Posted by FFC on July 23rd, 2009 :: Filed under Canada,Consumers,Farm life,Pork
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Reporter feels business end of electric prod

Steve Buist, Hamilton Spectator, 2021.06.06

The use of battery-powered electric prods to get hogs moving is a controversial animal welfare issue.

The prod is poked into the back or rump of the pig and with a push of a button, a flash of electric current jumps between two contacts. It’s enough to elicit a loud squeal in some pigs.


Posted by FFC on July 23rd, 2009 :: Filed under Meat/slaughter plants,Pork,Transportation
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