Animal welfare has become an important pillar in the sustainability of Canadian agriculture. With more media involvement than ever, it has heightened both the need and producer demand for the proper training, skills and tools for farmers to assess and improve the way their animals are cared for.
Animal welfare is a top priority for Veal Farmers of Ontario (VFO). As part of the training offered to help producers continually enhance their husbandry practices, VFO is developing a video series addressing the three main areas of an on-farm animal care assessment: housing, management and animal indicators. The videos will be based on an assessment tailored for veal production by Jennifer Woods, a livestock handling specialist based out of Blackie, Alberta. Woods has been involved in the agriculture industry for over 25 years, and has been part of numerous animal welfare assessment development committees. The assessment is intended to help veal farmers identify possible areas of improvement in order to continue providing veal cattle in Ontario with the highest standard of care.
VFO will be bringing Woods to Ontario in early fall 2016. We are looking for two volunteers to host tours for Woods and allow her to perform the animal care assessment on their farm. The walk through will be filmed and edited into the video series that producers can watch to learn more about the assessment process. The intent is not to go into a barn to criticize, but rather to identify strengths and areas of improvement. Every effort will be made to remove all identifying information about each farm from the videos.
Participating producers will receive a complete assessment report from Woods, and a small honorarium. A welfare assessment completed by a veterinarian or qualified auditor is a prerequisite for accessing Growing Forward 2 funding under “Assurance Systems – Animal Welfare”. This funding can be used to modify existing structures, implement new technology, or purchase equipment to improve animal handling or husbandry procedures in order to make changes to align your farm with the Code of Practice for the care and handling of veal cattle.
by August 15, 2016. All farms interested in participating will need to return their completed application form and have a pre-screening visit by VFO staff.
On behalf of Veal Farmers of Ontario, thank you for your consideration and we look forward to hearing from you.