2.6 Advocacy

Industry Improvement

The Canadian beef industry prides itself on being dedicated to the forward movement of our industry.  From environmental stewardship to production practices and innovative technologies, the industry is constantly evolving to create efficiencies and limit impact on resources.

The Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (CRSB) aims to develop and advance existing and new sustainability efforts within the industry.  The roundtable is comprised of producer groups across the country, retailers, foodservice and distributors, government and other organizations like the World Wildlife Fund and Ducks Unlimited.  The CRSB is a member of the larger Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB) and works together with similar organizations around the world to advance sustainable beef production.

The Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC) in Canada has a mandate to determine research and development priorities for the Canadian beef industry.  BCRC provides innovative industry research on priorities such as environmental footprint of the beef industry, feeding strategies, production practices, beef quality assurance and more.

Verified Beef Production (VBP) is Canada’s verified on-farm food safety program for beef.  It is a dynamic program to uphold consumer confidence in the products and good practices of Canada’s beef producers.  Canadian producers can take part in the program and become VBP certified by contacting their provincial VBP delivery agent.

Verified Beef Production (VBP)

Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC)

Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (CRSB)

Industry Improvement


How can I protect my farm or ranch from undercover activists?

Workforce challenges in Canadian agriculture have some producers, feedlots and packers searching for skilled help. Often times people with little or no previous agriculture experience apply for work in the beef industry. Employers in Canadian agriculture must remain vigilant and exercise proper due diligence in their hiring practices, particularly when reviewing resumes, to ensure they do not hire someone that can endanger themselves, the animals and land in their care or their business.

 

Hiring is an excellent time for employers to discuss on-farm animal welfare practices with potential candidates and to remind current staff to remain vigilant at all times about animal welfare. Ensure all staff are familiar with and use The Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Beef Cattle (http://www.cattle.ca/sustainability/social-sustainability/code-of-practice-for-the-care-and-handling-of-beef-cattle/), which sets science-informed practices for the care and handling of beef cattle. Require and encourage staff to report animal abuse if and when they see it.

 

There are a number of steps employers can take to ensure their hiring practices are solid. Screen candidates thoroughly. Scrutinize the applicant’s employment history. Take the time to check references by verifying previous employment. Check the applicant’s home address. Be sure to have a good dialogue with the candidate particularly if there is no previous experience working with livestock or if a candidate is seeking no pay in exchange for the work experience.

 

Livestock hauling is an important area of animal welfare. It is illegal in Canada to haul infirm animals unless to a veterinarian for treatment. The industry supports this law as animal welfare is of primary importance to cattle producers.

 

Producers and truckers have an important ethical and legal responsibility not to load cattle that are not fit for the trip to the auction mart or the plant.

 

Producers, cattle buyers and transporters can help avoid this type of situation by being conscientious about only shipping cattle that can travel without suffering. It only takes seconds for a smartphone to record video and post it to the internet. Take some extra time to think about the animals you are planning to truck before you load them.

More information can be found in the following issue of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association’s Action News publication. It is the third article of the edition.

Reviewing Animal Welfare Practices with New Employees

How can I protect my farm or ranch from undercover activists?


Why are animal activists targeting beef operations?

The mandate for most “animal welfare” groups is to abolish animal agriculture entirely.  Their online platforms and tactics will be very emotionally tied to protecting animals and preventing cruelty to appeal to the general public for support, both for amplification and financial assistance.

These groups use small steps to work towards their end goal of ending the use of animals for food production.  An example of how they take these steps is evident in pork and poultry production, where some U.S. states have passed legislation outlawing farrowing crates and battery cages.  While the general public sees this as an improvement for animal welfare in food production, activist organizations see this as another step towards ending animal agriculture.

Why are animal activists targeting beef operations?


Tips on Advocating

With social media giving everyone a voice online, we find ourselves needing to speak up and advocate more than ever before.  Staying positive and factual with messaging, referencing credible sources and being respectful of other people’s opinions are keys to successful advocating. If you do not know the answer to their question be truthful and offer to get back to them with the answer. Always remember that everyone has a right to make informed choices, and by being educated and sharing credible information, we can help people make those informed choices.

The agriculture industry uses a great deal of jargon when communicating internally. When advocating avoid the use of jargon and instead use language that is easily understood by those without experience in the agriculture field.

Always identify your audience. By doing so you will know what is important to them and what their areas of interest and concern are. You can then identify what information to present them with and the best presentation method.

 

Relating and connecting to your audience on an emotional level is one way of creating trust in your message. This can be as simple as describing what products or recipes your family enjoys around the dinner table. A scenario like this is easy to relate to for people of any background and demonstrates your interest in your family’s well-being. Telling a story also creates more of an emotional connection and your audience will have higher retention of the information presented.

Aways remember “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” – Dale Carnegie

There is a small, targeted group of voices in our country, and around the world, who vocally oppose animal agriculture and are not interested in engaging in respectful conversation around it.  While it’s our first instinct to engage and defend the beef industry, remember that it may be difficult to reach a positive end goal and it may be more beneficial to engage elsewhere.

Agriculture More Than Ever has many different types of media spanning all sectors of agriculture geared towards speaking to consumers. You can find it here

Tips on Advocating