let's talk farm animals

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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Faces of Farming calendar – meet the faces of April.

by Patricia Grotenhuis

Starting up a business is challenging, and starting up a farm is no different.  Add in an international component and it becomes more challenging yet.

Not all farmers take over the family farm.  Amy Cronin and her husband Mike were both raised on dairy farms but became hog farmers after they married.  Thanks to a lot of hard work, the farm has grown and expanded, with farms in both Ontario and Iowa.

Cronin and her six year old daughter Emmy are featured in the 2012 Faces of Farming Calendar published by the Farm Care Foundation. Their page was sponsored by Molesworth Farm Supply because of Cronin’s work on the farm and in the industry.

Amy and Emmy - the faces of April

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Posted by Farm and Food Care on April 4th, 2012 :: Filed under Animal care,Canada,Faces of Farming,Family vs factory farming,Farm life,Pigs,Pork
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Introducing the farmers of March in the 2012 Faces of Farming calendar

 by Patricia Grotenhuis

Research and development are critical components of Rob and Jim Judge’s work as hog farmers.  They have been working to improve pig genetics in Ontario and shipped a group of pigs with their improved genetics to Korea recently.

The father/son team of Jim and Rob are the faces of March in the 2012 Faces of Farming calendar

The father-son team is featured in the 2012 Faces of Farming calendar, which is published by the Farm Care Foundation. Their page in the calendar was sponsored by New Life Mills, a supplier to their business.  Their Simcoe-area farm family has a “farrow to finish” type of hog farm which means that the pigs are born on the farm and raised there until they go to market. The family also raises chickens and crops in addition to the pigs. 

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Posted by Farm and Food Care on March 15th, 2012 :: Filed under Animal care,Canada,Family vs factory farming,Farm life,Innovation and technology,Pigs,Sustainability of the family farm
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Our contract with pigs

by  Patricia Grotenhuis, Lifelong farmer and agricultural ambassador

A number of conversations between a father and his son about why they follow the specific farming practices they did led to the writing of a fable which stretches back to the times before animals were domesticated.

Bob Hunsberger, a pig farmer from Ontario, and his son Kyle, decided to write an explanation showing the evolution of farming practices which have lead us to where we are today.  Writing the document has helped the Hunsbergers answer questions they are asked about animal agriculture and about the farming practices being used with pigs.

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Posted by FFC on June 17th, 2011 :: Filed under Animal care,Farm life,Feeding the world,Pigs,Pork,Sustainability of the family farm
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She’s no “typical” farmer!

Vet tech turned pig farmer in the 2011 Faces of Farming calendar

By Patricia Grotenhuis

Pigs have captured the interest of Katherine Zurczak, a registered Veterinary Technician and city girl turned farmer.

Zurczak had her first encounter with pigs while studying to be a veterinary technician at Ridgetown College.  She was quickly fascinated by her work with the animals, and after graduating in June of 2009, began working at Hog-Wild Farms Ltd. in Ontario.

The face of November in the 2011 calendar

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Posted by FFC on March 8th, 2011 :: Filed under Animal care,animal handling,Education and public awareness,Faces of Farming,Family vs factory farming,Farm life,Misconceptions,Pigs,Pork
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The end – A PIG’S TALE

Steve Buist, Hamilton Spectator, 2008.06.07

I left the Great Lakes packing plant on May 12 with four boxes of meat piled onto the back seat of my car. Piggy — my pig, the pig I had helped raise and care for — was packed inside those boxes.

Six months of his life, six months of my life, all reduced to four cardboard boxes on my back seat.

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Posted by FFC on July 23rd, 2009 :: Filed under Canada,Consumers,Farm life,Pork
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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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