GFM Network News


Give your view on livestock welfare

Survey, focus group participation open until Oct. 31

The second phase of the Livestock Welfare Engagement Project is getting underway. There has been strong participation in an online survey, said Alberta Farm Animal Care, which is facilitating the initiative requested by Alberta Agriculture and Forestry. The province wants a better understanding of the “animal welfare landscape.” The second phase will involve five focus […] Read more

Animal care advocates honoured

Dr. Merle Olson was presented with the Award of Distinction for Innovation at the recent Livestock Care Conference. The veterinarian and longtime farm animal care advocate was honoured for “his tireless efforts in the research, development, and commercialization of much-needed pharmaceutical options that are effective, economical, safe and practical, for pain management and parasite control […] Read more


Nominations wanted for livestock awards

Nominations close March 1

Nominations are open for the Alberta Farm Animal Care awards of distinction, which recognize individuals or groups who have made exceptional contributions in the field of livestock welfare. There are three award categories: communication, industry leadership, and innovation. If you know an individual or organization whose contributions to animal care enhance their community and inspire […] Read more

Passionate about livestock? AFAC needs you

Alberta Farm Animal Care (AFAC) is seeking volunteers to help with the ALERT line. Volunteers need to be passionate about livestock welfare and knowledgeable about current practices of care. AFAC is especially in need of volunteers with knowledge of any livestock species in northern Alberta and in remote locations, but welcomes volunteers from anywhere in […] Read more


Joyce Van Donkersgoed demonstrates processing techniques to students from Olds College.


Get rid of your cattle if they’re getting too big

Heavier cattle — particularly ones with small frames — can develop 
feet problems, especially if they suffer heat stress

Don’t keep big, fat cattle around because it could increase animal welfare problems. Animal welfare icon Temple Grandin has recently been sounding alarms about more lameness in beef cattle and part of that is related to heavier weights and genetics. “There are certain genetic lines of beef cattle that are repeating a mistake the pig […] Read more

Producers need to reconsider their ideas about animal welfare, said Jennifer Walker, director of dairy stewardship at Dean Foods.

Look at your farm the way a consumer would, says animal welfare expert

The term ‘producers’ is a problem, and so are a host of common practices

Producers need to talk and think about animal welfare differently to gain the trust of consumers, says an official overseeing animal welfare at one of the largest dairies in the U.S. “Everything happens through people,” Jennifer Walker, a veterinarian and director of dairy stewardship at Dean Foods, said at the recent Livestock Care conference hosted […] Read more


Dr. Joyce Van Donkersgoed (with Rick Paskal at his feedlot in Picture Butte, Alta.) is getting ready to pilot an animal care assessment tool 
in feedlots across the country.

New animal care assessment tool to measure animal welfare in Canadian feedlots

With the new assessment program, cattle feeders can show consumers exactly 
how they’re ensuring the welfare of their animals

The organization that represents Canada’s cattle feeders is staying one step ahead of changing consumer demands, through a new feedlot animal care assessment program. “The National Cattle Feeders’ Association decided that it wanted to be proactive and develop a national animal care assessment program for feed yards,” said Dr. Joyce Van Donkersgoed, a feedlot veterinarian […] Read more

The livestock industry should emulate professions like the health sector to develop self-regulatory processes for animal welfare, says UBC professor, David Fraser.

Livestock sector needs the mindset to improve animal welfare

David Fraser says a ‘professional animal production’ approach to animal welfare is needed to reassure society

Much of the debate on farm animal welfare changes has centred on major infrastructure shifts such as facilities improvements and housing approaches. But the greatest challenge — and also opportunity — facing animal agriculture may lie not in the physical environment but rather in the mindset of producers, says David Fraser, a professor of applied […] Read more


Susan Schafers

Trio wins awards of distinction

Egg Farmers of Alberta chair Susan Schafers is the 2015 recipient of the Alberta Farm Animal Care (AFAC) award of distinction for communication. The awards were established in 2001 to recognize individuals or groups who have made exceptional contributions in the field of livestock welfare. Dr. Ben Schlegel won the award for innovation and RCMP […] Read more

Nominations sought for AFAC’s Awards of Distinction

Awards recognize individuals or groups who have made exceptional contributions to livestock welfare

Alberta Farm Animal Care (AFAC) is seeking nominations for its Awards of Distinction. The award program was initiated in 2001 to recognize individuals or groups who have made exceptional contributions in the field of livestock welfare. Those who: Promote responsible, humane animal care within the livestock industry; Engage in discussion with the public about today’s […] Read more