We have ZERO tolerance for animal neglect or abuse.
It’s very important to dairy farmers that their cows are comfortable and healthy. Dairy farmers are with their herd for many hours a day and are able to assess a sick cow and treat them quickly. Because farmers are with their cows at least twice a day for milking, they get to know their cows individually and can identify and assess their needs and ensure they are healthy.
Code of Practice
Abuse and negligence are not accepted in our industry. Dairy Farmers of Canada (or national body in which we are a part of) and the National Farm Animal Care Council have collaborated with scientists and government experts and the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies to update the Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Dairy Cattle. The Code meets or exceeds the majority of the standards of humane livestock treatment expected by the food industry and society.
Several agencies play a direct role in monitoring and responding to animal abuse cases in Alberta. Specifically, animal protection at the farm level is offered under both provincial and federal legislation. The two main laws protecting animals against abuse and neglect on the farm are the provincial Animal Protection Act (APA) and the federal Criminal Code of Canada (CCC).
The APA protects animals from distress due to neglect or abuse by their owner, or caretaker or anyone else. Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development (ARD) has an agreement with the Alberta SPCA to provide animal protection services and enforce the Animal Protection Act in rural Alberta and with regard to livestock. The CCC applies to wilful acts of cruelty or neglect, either by an animal’s owner or by someone else.
Alberta Farm Animal Care serves as an education and awareness agency on behalf of all livestock groups in the province. It operates the ALERT phone help line and resource service which is the livestock community supporting producers. ALERT is a confidential call line for anyone to report livestock care concerns before livestock are in distress. The Resource Team includes farmers, veterinarians and other rural community members. The ALERT line coordinates with the Alberta SPCA and RCMP when necessary. The phone number is 800-506-2273.
The APA protects animals from distress due to neglect or abuse by their owner, or caretaker or anyone else. Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development (ARD) has an agreement with the Alberta SPCA to provide animal protection services and enforce the Animal Protection Act in rural Alberta and with regard to livestock. The CCC applies to willful acts of cruelty or neglect, either by an animal’s owner or by someone else.
Alberta Milk Dairy Animal Care Policy
Alberta Milk has its own policy on animal care as well. If a producer is considered to be out of compliance with any portion of the Alberta Milk Dairy Animal Care Policy in regards to evidence of animal distress, neglect or abuse, the Board will initiate an investigation. That may include the halt of milk pick up at that farm, a suspension of the producer license, or continued monitoring until it is deemed that the farm is in compliance. The producer will be charged through the APA or the CCC if deemed appropriate.
Farmers do a lot to make sure their cows are well cared for. A cow scratcher is a great example of something dairy farmers do to go the extra mile to make sure their herd is comfortable.