GFM Network News


Overhead views of sows in a Maple Leaf Foods’ barn in Manitoba using its “advanced open sow housing system.”

Loose housing is a winning approach, says Canadian pork giant

Open sow housing is better for pigs, people, and profits, says Maple Leaf Foods executive

Many questioned whether it would work, but Maple Leaf Foods says open housing is a superior way to raise sows — and will have that system in all of its barns years before it becomes mandatory. “This is part of our vision to be the most sustainable protein company on Earth — part of that […] Read more

The Gulfood trade show in Dubai has one million square feet of exhibition space
 and attracts about 100,000 attendees.

Halal beef a huge opportunity for Alberta, say market experts

The market for beef and food products produced in compliance with Islamic law is big and getting bigger

More needs to be done to tap into the huge and growing market for halal meat, say experts. “It’s a market that people seem to be a little afraid of or haven’t quite understood,” said Grant Winton, a manager with the International Relations and Marketing Section of Alberta Agriculture and Forestry. The word ‘halal’ simply […] Read more


Bernie Rollin

Don’t write off animal welfare advocates as vegans and ‘crazies,’ says expert

Most consumers now believe animals have rights and livestock producers have to respond to their views, says bioethicist

The growing emphasis on animal welfare and animal rights is part of a societal shift, and the livestock sector needs to embrace it. That’s the view of a philosopher who is also a professor of biomedical sciences and animal sciences at Colorado State University and author of several books on animal rights. “Too many people […] Read more

Livestock producers need to accept — and respond to — consumers’ animal welfare concerns, says Lesley Mitchell, international head of policy with World Animal Protection.

Consumer concerns about meat are no fad

Animal welfare expert says livestock producers need to both 
‘raise the bar’ and speak up about improvements they’re making

Global concerns about animal welfare are having an impact on meat purchasing, and the food industry needs to adapt to this new reality. “For the vast majority, price, taste and convenience have been key — but one of the issues that goes across the board now is transparency,” said Lesley Mitchell, international head of policy […] Read more


We can’t turn a blind eye to abuse

Domestic violence and animal abuse do take place 
on farms in our province, and both must be reported

A 2012 report called The Cruelty Connection looked at whether there was a relationship between animal abuse and domestic violence in Alberta. And there was — people who committed crimes against animals also committed crimes against people. The project (a collaboration between the SPCA and the RCMP) found that in 85 per cent of cases […] Read more

We no longer have the luxury of time in making changes

When consumers decide a livestock practice is wrong, 
they expect changes to be made immediately

We used to believe — and many companies still do — that we could maintain consumer trust by going through the exercise of a food safety or production protocol. We have discovered in this very tribal age of transparency, this is not sufficient. Consumers are expecting actions to be taken and are moving away from […] Read more


Nominations sought for AFAC’s Awards of Distinction

Deadline for nominations is Feb. 15

Alberta Farm Animal Care is seeking nominations for its Awards of Distinction, which recognize individuals or groups who have made exceptional contributions in the field of livestock welfare. There are three award categories: The communication award recognizes those who have taken an active role in effectively getting the message out about livestock issues, and informing […] Read more

The Calgary Stampede is under constant scrutiny and learned it’s best to offer “as much accuracy and transparency and detail as we possibly can.”

Transparency key to dealing with animal rights activists

Doing the ‘right thing,’ and owning up when things go wrong, should be 
at the core of any livestock operation — just ask the Calgary Stampede

As the battle over animal welfare heats up, ‘the greatest outdoor show on earth’ has some advice on responding to activists. “We have been on the ‘bleeding edge of the wedge’ in terms of activists targeting the Stampede because of the audience that we deal with,” said Bonni Clark, communications adviser for the Calgary Stampede. […] Read more


Animal agriculture big business for animal rights activists

Undercover videos are rapidly becoming the go-to method of swaying public opinion for animal rights groups

Security personnel at the door at the Egg Farmers of Alberta annual general meeting in Red Deer were a stark sign of how the world has changed for the livestock sector. Four months after an undercover video scandal rocked Canada’s egg industry, security officials were keeping a wary eye out for protesters and allowing in […] Read more