let's talk farm animals

Be careful what you change too

By Leslie Ballentine, Farming and food commentator

There’s growing pressure for animal agriculture to change its practices, whether it be using modern housing systems such as stalls and cages or feeding antibiotics, but a new paper cautions that changes may negatively impact food safety.

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Posted by FFC on May 29th, 2012 :: Filed under Animal health,Consumers,Food,Food safety,Meat/slaughter plants,Research
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When the backyard chicken novelty wears off

By Leslie Ballentine, Farm and Food Commentator

As many people are aware, the latest rage in the “Eat Local” food trend is to raise your own backyard chickens. Municipalities across the country have been faced with lobbying campaigns, disputes and even legal challenges to allow for city chickens.  Some municipalities have refused, some have agreed with very specific requirements, others just keep deferring a decision.

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Posted by FFC on May 22nd, 2012 :: Filed under backyard flocks,Poultry
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Do goats really eat tin cans?

 By Patricia Grotenhuis

Many storybooks show goats eating everything around them, including tin cans.  It’s a common myth.

When I was 9, I bought my first goat, and had my own herd for 14 years.  I did see the goats eat a number of things over those years, but they had a very definite eating pattern – which didn’t include tin cans.

If they did come across a tin can, they would probably get much more enjoyment out of stepping on it and listening to the sound of the tin crinkling than anything else.

In this barn, goats are eating from a fresh bale of hay

Goats are browsing animals, not grazers like cattle and sheep, so goats like treats of leaves, cedar branches, and weeds in their pasture, much like a deer. They take a lot of time to search out the best snacks. They will often stand on their hind legs to reach the best part of foliage that may be out of reach to other types of livestock like sheep.

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Posted by Farm and Food Care on May 16th, 2012 :: Filed under animal handling,Farm life,Goat,Misconceptions
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Where is the transparency at Burger King?

By: Leslie Ballentine, Farming and Food Commentator

I was as surprised as anyone to hear the news last week that Burger King in the U.S. is making an exclusive move to purchase “cage-free” eggs and pork within five years. It has certainly dominated the news. Even my urban friends (knowing I work in agriculture) have brought it up the past few days. Sadly however I haven’t been able to provide answers to some of their questions.

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Posted by FFC on April 30th, 2012 :: Filed under eggs,Food,Housing,HSUS,Retailers
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Battle of the sexes

By Leslie Ballentine, Farming and food commentator

Just when I thought I had heard it all, the Globe and Mail recently carried a feature on “gendered meat”. What you ask (as did I) is such a thing? Well apparently there is a demand by some Canadian consumers for selecting their meat based on whether the animal is male or female.

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Posted by FFC on April 23rd, 2012 :: Filed under Chickens,Consumers,Food,Misconceptions,Pork,Retailers
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“Pink slime” – What’s in a name?

By: Leslie Ballentine, Farming and Food Commentator

“Pink slime” a pejorative term for boneless lean beef trimmings has been getting a lot of attention from, food advocates and US policy makers in recent weeks. Called “lean finely textured beef within the industry,” the ground beef filler is reportedly not used in fabricating meat in Canada. Never-the-less, the hoopla is spilling over our border and is another example of how a name can affect the industry. 

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Posted by FFC on April 2nd, 2012 :: Filed under animal by-products,Consumers,Food,Food safety,Meat/slaughter plants
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Animal rights vs. religious freedoms

By Leslie Ballentine, Farm and Food commentator

In December a plan for an outright ban on ritual slaughter methods in the Netherlands failed to pass the Dutch Senate. The bill and the issues surrounding it garnered world-wide attention by Jewish and Islamic communities, the meat processing and retail sectors, and animal activists. Government diplomats also became involved.

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Posted by FFC on February 13th, 2012 :: Filed under Activism,animal handling,Food,Meat/slaughter plants,Regulations
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Why are you choosing organic?

Guest Blog: Lisa McLean, Agricultural communicator

I am fortunate to surround myself with a number of strong, intelligent, critical-thinking friends. Many of them are also parents, and all of them want the very best for their families. 

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Posted by FFC on February 7th, 2012 :: Filed under Consumers,Food,Media,Organics,Speaking out
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Christmas music wouldn’t be the same without animals

By: Leslie Ballentine, Farming and food commentator

When we think of Christmas and animals we may think of Santa’s reindeers or the manger in Bethlehem. We may think of turkey dinners and Beeswax candles or horse drawn sleigh rides, the Red Cardinal or fur-lined mitts.  We don’t often think of music though.

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Posted by FFC on December 19th, 2011 :: Filed under animal by-products,Consumers,Turkeys,winter
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Sometimes I just can’t take it any more

Guest blog by:  Gene Gregory, President United Egg Producers

I know that many in agriculture have similar thoughts on the attacks upon our businesses and modern agriculture but sometimes I just can’t take anymore of it.  Here are some of my thoughts:

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Posted by FFC on November 1st, 2011 :: Filed under Consumers,Economics,Education and public awareness,Food safety,Misconceptions,Speaking out
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