let's talk farm animals

The Ick Factor

By Leslie Ballentine, Farming and food commentator

A Toronto hospital is asking for donations of human placenta to repair and reconstruct damaged eyes.  I’m sure most non-doctors would consider this disgusting and give it high marks for the Ick Factor. Superficial communications can often create the Ick Factor and the Ick Factor often influences our opinions. Agriculture and food production can be subject to the Ick Factor too.

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Posted by FFC on January 31st, 2012 :: Filed under Animal care,Beef cattle,Food,Misconceptions,Urban Myths
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Farmers don’t marry their animals

By Leslie Ballentine, Farming and food commentator

I know that a dog is a man’s best friend, but sometimes people get ridiculous when it comes to animals. Now I don’t know of any farmer who has married their cow or chicken but I have read about several cases of people marrying their pets. Some do it as a lark, some to make a kind of political statement about “animal rights”.

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Posted by FFC on January 9th, 2012 :: Filed under Farm life,Misconceptions,Urban Myths
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City girl cum milkmaid learns dairy cow realities

By Leslie Ballentine, Farming and food commentator

We tend to have a romantic vision of farming and farm animals. As this former city girl points out, that storybook vision isn’t always reality.

PUBLICATION:  GLOBE AND MAIL

DATE:  2009.03.30

BYLINE:  KIMBERLEE FEICK LOWRY

SECTION:  Globe Life

Facts & Arguments: THE ESSAY Tales from the dairy barn

I’ve learned one vital truth in progressing from scraper of poop to bona fide milkmaid: Cows are dumb

Although I have fond childhood memories of playing in haylofts and patting calves on farms near my father’s log cabin, getting intimate with a cow’s underside was never high on my priority list. But when you marry a man who grew up on a dairy farm, you learn to appreciate the grimy beauty of the barn pretty quickly.

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Posted by FFC on September 14th, 2011 :: Filed under Animal care,Dairy cattle,Farm life,Urban Myths
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Passion for farming results in presentations by student to hundreds of fellow classmates

We think this Canadian student’s passion for farming and his willingness to talk openly to others is an inspiration. In the last few months, he has spoken to hundreds of students at a Woodstock-area high school about food and farming. Keep reading to hear Rudi’s story.

by Patricia Grotenhuis, Lifelong farmer and agricultural advocate.

When Rudi Spruit attended a recent conference of the Junior Farmers’ Association of Ontario and saw a presentation about the misinformation consumers have about agriculture and food, he knew he wanted to do something to help spread the right information. “There are lots of misconceptions. Even teachers have some. I try to encourage others to learn,” says Spruit, a young farmer from Ontario.

What has evolved from an idea formed in March has turned into a 50 minute presentation made to various classes at Spruit’s school. So far, Spruit estimates he has presented to 300 students from his 850 student school. Spruit says there are a total of between 20 and 25 farmers attending the school.

Rudi and his classmate Drew give a presentation on farming to a class at their high school.

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Posted by FFC on June 6th, 2011 :: Filed under Canada,Dairy cattle,Education and public awareness,Misconceptions,Pigs,Speaking out,Urban Myths
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Perception marketing takes advantage of consumers and farmers

By Leslie Ballentine, Farming and food commentator

When it comes to food marketing, I’m starting to believe that both consumers and farmers may be getting the short end of the stick.

Perhaps farmers have been too focused on what they do best; producing an abundant and generally safe supply of food at a reasonable price to consumers, to worry about misleading advertising.  Perhaps consumers don’t know enough about farm practices to see past the marketing hype to be able to make an informed purchasing choice.

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Posted by FFC on May 5th, 2011 :: Filed under Chickens,Consumers,Misconceptions,Poultry,Sustainability,Urban Myths
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Why Farmers should NOT Speak Up

For more than a decade now, there’s been a movement across Canada with a goal of empowering farmers to take a chance, Speak Up, and share their passion for farming with the public – most of whom have no direct connection with food or farming. And we’re happy to report that movement appears to be growing. We’re seeing farmers start blogs, tweet from their tractors, write letters to the editor on topics of importance to them and take a chance on doing more media interviews when we know that they’d much rather be working in their barns or in their fields. Michele Payn-Knoper of Indiana is a farmer and an agricultural advocate who works tireless to champion the farmers’ cause. We especially like this blog post, posted at www.causematters.com earlier this year and reprinted here with permission from her. Michele’s cited a number of the “excuses” she’s heard for farners not speaking up about agriculture – if you have any more, feel free to comment on the blog post below! –  OFAC

 The new year typically starts with motivational tips, hype about resolutions and pressure to make promises of how we’re going to do things differently. Not me. I’m bringing an entirely different perspective on advocacy – a highly sarcastic view on why we SHOULD NOT tell agriculture’s story. Several ag folks from across the U.S. and Canada added to the list on Twitter and Facebook – you’re welcome to post your own comment in the spirit of some fun.
Shhh, there’s no need to tell your story!

15.  Agriculture has little economic contribution – and the American economy is thriving.  After all, 80%+ of the economy isn’t reliant on the agrifood system – and surely your community doesn’t benefit from property taxes and jobs paid by farms.

14. “It’s embarrassing to have people thank you for producing their food. I don’t want people to think I am a corporate shill (every farmer who speaks out is one, right?) says sheep and daughter raiser Venessa in her own Spartan sarcasm.

13. “Who needs consumers anyway? I can still farm without people to buy my grain and animals that eat my grain. I like grain storage.  Those big shiny bins are SO pretty and cheap…” was a heavily sarcastic comment from Sarah Bedgar Wilson, a young farmer in North Dakota (the cold made her do it, I’m sure).

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Posted by FFC on March 4th, 2011 :: Filed under Consumers,Education and public awareness,Farm life,HSUS,Misconceptions,Speaking out,Uncategorized,Urban Myths
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Sweat like a Pig? Not likely!

By Patricia Grotenhuis, Lifelong farmer and agricultural advocate

It’s a hot, sunny summer day, and pigs are all out wallowing in the mud, happy as could be.  Or are they? 

Pigs, when housed outdoors, will use mud to keep cool if necessary.  They lack sweat glands (making it impossible to “sweat like a pig”), so the only way they can cool themselves is by getting moisture on their skin which can than evaporate and create a cooling effect.  Mud would work for this cooling effect, as does water.

Although pigs are normally associated with messes (“your room is a pig sty” probably being the most common example), they actually like clean environments to live in.  Pigs are quite comfortable living in a clean, dry barn with adequate supplies of food and water.

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Posted by FFC on March 1st, 2011 :: Filed under Animal care,Housing,Pigs,Pork,Urban Myths,Weather
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