let's talk farm animals

“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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Are grass-fed cows better for the earth?

By Leslie Ballentine, Farming and food commentator

It’s no wonder there’s a growing perception that farms which feed cattle on grass for their entire lives, are better for the environment than farms that finish their pasture-raised cattle in feedlots with grain. The image is that the grass is always lush and plentiful and the cattle self feed themselves with little dependence on machinery or other energy consuming equipment. Whether or not science has confirmed this perception is another story.

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Posted by FFC on March 13th, 2012 :: Filed under Beef cattle,Environment,Food,Misconceptions,Retailers,Sustainability
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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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If slaughterhouses had glass walls…

By: Leslie Ballentine, Farm and Food Commentator

There is a common saying among vegetarians that “If slaughterhouses had glass walls everyone would be a vegetarian”.  Having been to all types of meat plants I disagree.  And so did one of North America’s largest processing companies.

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Posted by FFC on November 21st, 2011 :: Filed under animal handling,Beef cattle,Consumers,Education and public awareness,Meat/slaughter plants,Media,Vegetarian
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Recalls happen for a reason, but reasons aren’t an excuse

By Leslie Ballentine, Farming and food commentator

Recalls happen either because a company finds a problem on its own or is informed of a problem by someone else, after the product has gone out the door. For farmers and food companies, prevention is the ticket to avoiding these events as well as the financial and public relations fallout associated with an outbreak of food-borne illness. To avoid food recalls means starting at the farm.

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Posted by FFC on June 20th, 2011 :: Filed under Canada,Consumers,eggs,Food safety,Meat/slaughter plants
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Reporter feels business end of electric prod

Steve Buist, Hamilton Spectator, 2008.06.06

The use of battery-powered electric prods to get hogs moving is a controversial animal welfare issue.

The prod is poked into the back or rump of the pig and with a push of a button, a flash of electric current jumps between two contacts. It’s enough to elicit a loud squeal in some pigs.

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Posted by FFC on July 23rd, 2009 :: Filed under Meat/slaughter plants,Pork,Transportation
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The end of the line

Steve Buist, Hamilton Spectator,2008.06.06

It’s Friday, May 9. I didn’t need my alarm clock this morning. I was wide awake by 4 a.m.

I admit that I was a little apprehensive. This is Piggy’s last day. This morning, he’s being shipped from the Littlejohns’ farm in the hamlet of Glen Morris to Great Lakes Specialty Meats, a small packing plant in Mitchell, about half an hour north of London.

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Posted by FFC on July 22nd, 2009 :: Filed under Farm life,Meat/slaughter plants,Pork,Transportation
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The pig whisperer

Steve Buist, Hamilton Spectator, 2008.06.04

I’m playing a word game with Temple Grandin. It’s fascinating to hear her describe how her brain works.

Temple Grandin is a professor of livestock behaviour at Colorado State University. She also happens to be autistic.

You could make the case that she’s the world’s most highly functioning autistic person and I wouldn’t argue with that.

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Posted by FFC on July 22nd, 2009 :: Filed under Education and public awareness,Family vs factory farming,Farm life,Housing,Pork
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The trouble with boars

Steve Buist, Hamilton Spectator, 2008.05.28

Six months, 250 pounds. That’s Piggy’s destiny in life.01 At first, he’ll double his weight in a few days, then it will double in a week, then every couple of weeks, then every month. It’s incredible, isn’t it, to think that a barnyard animal is capable of growing so large, so quickly.

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Posted by FFC on July 22nd, 2009 :: Filed under Canada,Education and public awareness,Farm life,Pork
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NMA, AMI seek to overturn California slaughter law

Feedstuffs, (12/25/2008) ,
Rod Smith

The National Meat Assn. (NMA) has filed a lawsuit in a federal court in California seeking to overturn part of a California law passed this summer that bans the slaughter of non-ambulatory livestock for meat for human consumption, and the American Meat Institute (AMI) has moved to intervene in and broaden the action, according to an announcement yesterday.

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Posted by FFC on July 21st, 2009 :: Filed under Meat/slaughter plants,Regulations
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