Alberta Farm Animal Care Association

Handling of Livestock

Posted by Melissa Moggy on  June 8, 2017

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Category: industry practices
All livestock will be handled in some way throughout their lifetime while in production. The way in which livestock are handled has a major impact on animal welfare and productivity (1). Positive interactions with handlers will improve animal well-being and productivity while improper interactions will negatively impact the animal’s welfare by causing stress and fear (1,2). Stress and fear increase the safety risks to both animals and stock people, and decrease meat quality (e.g. “dark

Castration of Cattle and Pigs

Posted by Melissa Moggy on  June 7, 2017

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Category: insights
Castration is a common practice in modern Canadian agriculture and around the world. Castration involves the removal or destruction of the testicles in male animals (1,2).  Castration is divided into 3 major groups: physical, chemical and hormonal, with physical being most common (3). Methods of castration include surgical removal (knife), burdizzo (clamp used for physical crushing of testicular cord), elastrator/banding (damage scrotal and testicular blood supply) and immunocastration (immunization against gonadotropin-releasing hormone; 1,2). In cattle,

Layer Housing

Posted by Melissa Moggy on  May 20, 2017

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Category: industry practices
Farmers want their birds to be in the best shape possible and strive to care for them as best they can, using the equipment, technologies, and knowledge available to them. Selecting a production system and housing design is a complex, multi-factorial issue that requires great consideration. The issue of cage systems vs. cage-free is not as simple as some would like to think. Let’s take a look at why. Chickens are kept in barns to protect

Finding Ways to Ask Cows How They Feel

Posted by FRGoDk1fIQ on  May 20, 2017

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Category: insights
post-imageDr. Gosia Zobel, AgResearch Ltd. ​As the public becomes more knowledgeable and more aware of food production practices, the need to provide assurances about the quality of life of our farm animals is growing in importance. This is, however, easier said than done given that many of the people not involved in agriculture rarely ask about how much milk a cow is producing but rather focus their questions on whether she is ‘happy’. As a

Creating and Housing the Modern Laying Hen

Posted by FRGoDk1fIQ on  May 20, 2017

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Category: insights
post-imageDr. Victoria Sandilands, Behavioural Scientist ​The poultry industry has evolved over the last several decades and it is important to understand how and why those changes have taken place. In this article we will explore the modern laying hen and why we can be proud of these birds. The modern laying hen evolved from the insectivorous jungle fowl, which lived in dense forests and spent 60-80% of the day foraging. Historically speaking, poultry were the
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