Olds-hosted livestock care conference marks 25 anniversary of Alberta Farm Animal Care

An Alberta animal care group is at a crossroads as it works to improve animal welfare in farms across the province.

Alberta Farm Animal Care is putting on a two-day Livestock Care Conference to further that initiative

The conference is also a chance to mark the 25th anniversary of AFAC, a multi-species livestock welfare organization. They believe all farm animals in the province should be well cared for and promote best practices in animal care and handling.

Over the next two days, at the Pomeroy Inn and Suites in Olds, there will be a mentorship program, workshops, panels, the general meeting and the awards of distinction.

Annemarie Pedersen, AFAC executive director, said the mentorship program — “meet the experts” is really a chance for people to talk with veterinarians, producers and educators.

“It’s going to be busy,” said Pedersen. “It’s a crossroads for us, because this is 25 years. It’s going to be a really interesting conference for us because it’s a way for us to start thinking about what’s next.

“When we started animal welfare was not a huge part of the conversation of raising livestock. It was happening, people were taking care of their animals, but it wasn’t as much of a focus as it is today.”

There are three awards focusing on communication, industry leadership and innovation respectively.

The general meeting will include the development of the group’s three-year strategic plan, which they produce every three years.

A workshop on the first day will focus on humane euthanasia.

“It will provide information on a number of species and the proper techniques to be aware of when they’re doing a very necessary part of raising animals,” said Pedersen.

About 200 people are expected to attend the event, which runs from Wedensday to Thursday in Olds.

Pedersen said she hopes people come away from the conference hoping people start thinking about what’s next.

“It’s becoming more of an issue, as far as our consumers wanting to know what we’re doing,” said Pedersen. “They want to understand why we do what we do. We can defend the practices if we need to, but I think it’s up to us, more and more, to really show that we’re looking at ways to improve animal welfare all the time.”

To learn more about AFAC visit www.afac.ab.ca.


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