By Kristen Kelderman
Summer is a time when most people tend to be outside enjoying the sunshine and warmer weather. It’s also a time when we see a lot more farm animals as we travel the back country roads to the cottage or other holiday destinations.
Certain farm animals like beef and dairy cows are regular icons that speckle rural pastures. Other animals, like pigs and chickens, are kept in cool climate-controlled barns and are rarely seen outdoors.
If you’re ever unsure about the care and treatment of farm animals that you’ve seen in your travels, the Farm Animal Care Helpline, managed by Farm & Food Care Ontario and a similar Alert line managed by Alberta Farm Animal Care are services that you can call.
The Helpline is a confidential ‘farmer helping farmer’ approach to advice and referral on animal care. The Helpline accepts calls about most types of farm animals: beef cattle, dairy cattle, pigs, rabbits, goats, veal calves, sheep, chickens and turkeys. Ontario’s Helpline representatives are the most credible people who deal with animals every day – farmers.
The Helpline is meant to be a step before groups like the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA) needs to be involved and is not for use in emergencies or where there is neglect, cruelty or abuse. For example, the Helpline is set up to take calls about thin animals, where a representative can be sent in to discuss better feed and nutrition options. It isn’t designed to help starving animals that need immediate attention.
There are different reasons why a farmer might not be able to keep up with their regular daily chores, stress, financial issues, family situations, etc. The Helpline can provide a support system to help them through a difficult time and helps to provide guidance in friendly peer manner.
Our Helpline representatives want to be part of the solution to improving care and conditions for farm animals. It’s good for agriculture, it’s good for farmers and most importantly it’s good for the animals.
For more detailed information on Helpline services, visit the following links:
Alberta – www.afac.ab.ca/ALERT.html