Care Conference Aims To Set Welfare Template

ALBERTA, CANADA - The Livestock Care Conference, to be held on 6 to 7 April at Red Deer, is to set the template for the future of the livestock industry.
calendar icon 15 March 2011
clock icon 3 minute read

Few things will define the livestock industry of the future more than farm animal care. There are few better places to capture the issues, opportunities and rapidly evolving progress in Canada and around the world, than the Livestock Care Conference, Red Deer, Alberta on 6 to 7 April 2011.

"It's a sophisticated and fast-changing world and at times it is hard even for those directly in it to appreciate what those trends and developments mean for Canadian livestock producers and their industry," says Doug Sawyer, cattle producer and Chair of Alberta Farm Animal Care (AFAC), the conference host.

"That's why we've worked to make this conference one place where the best of these developments are showcased," he says. "The speaker line-up features experts in their fields, with insights into everything from simple on-farm solutions that benefit animals and the bottom line, to key industry-level initiatives provincially and nationally. The chance to network with so many others is another major benefit."

"The interest in farm animal care has never been higher and there is a lot of opportunity in this area for producers to benefit their livestock, their operations and their industry," says Lorna Baird, AFAC Executive Director. "The conference offers a front row seat to learn about where we are today, where we are headed, and how producers can take advantage of some of the latest knowledge and approaches."

The conference theme is 'Embracing Changes in Animal Welfare' and it offers a broad range of perspectives. A look into the new world of farm animal care progress is provided by Dr Dan Weary, a leading animal welfare researcher and co-founder of the animal welfare programme at the University of British Columbia.

Keynote speaker Dr Allan Preston cuts to the heart of how 'win-win' progress can be achieved. The outspoken veterinarian is Assistant Deputy Minister for agri-industry development and innovation for Manitoba. Dr Preston will discuss 'The Market Value of Farm Animal Welfare – Getting Paid for Doing What's Right'.

Jackie Wepruk, general manager of the National Farm Animal Care Council, provides a play-by-play of recent progress toward the development of updated national codes of practice for the care and handling of farm animals. A real life perspective on how the codes work is provided by Ron Maynard, a partner in a dairy farm in Tyne valley, Prince Edward Island. He provides a balanced look at both the challenges and benefits of 'Living with the Dairy Code of Practice'.

Two sessions focus on dealing with issues – one from a proactive stance and one from a responsive stance. First, communications specialist Lilian Schaer tackles the intriguing world of social media. She looks at the pluses and minuses of the new technology and offers some 'how to' advice on using these tools and getting the right messages across. Next, a discussion on 'In the News: Animal Welfare Crisis Caught on Video' will feature Dr Weary facilitating a discussion of what to do when things go wrong.

Also featured are Q&A sessions with the speakers, poster presentations, AFAC's Awards of Distinction for livestock care leadership, and plenty of opportunities to discuss animal care with livestock industry representatives.

The Livestock Care Conference is open to anyone with an interest in farm animal care, including producers, industry, researchers, students, government and others from across the province and across the country. Registration is available online at the conference web site,, or by calling 403-662-8050. Early registration discounts are available before 15 March. Group discounts are also available.

The conference has a new venue this year: the Holiday Inn 67th Street. Notes on travel options, including shuttle bus service from Calgary to Red Deer, are also available on the conference web site. AFAC is a partnership of Alberta's major livestock groups, with a mandate to promote responsible, humane farm animal care.

For more information, contact Lorna Baird of Alberta Farm Animal Care Association (AFAC); telephone (403) 662-8050; email [email protected] or via the AFAC web site.

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