Alberta’s livestock sector has until October 31 to complete a survey as part of the Livestock Welfare Engagement Project being conducted by Alberta Farm Animal Care (AFAC) on behalf of the Alberta government.
The goal of the project, says AFAC in a recent press release, is a collaborative look at animal welfare in Alberta’s livestock industry, where AFAC will facilitate the collection of input from individuals and organizations across the sector.
“This is an excellent opportunity for the Alberta livestock industry’s voice to be heard on what we are doing well, where our weaknesses are, how we’re working together and where we are not,” says Melissa Moggy, AFAC Livestock Welfare Engagement Project Lead. “It’s a benchmarking project which is engaging Alberta’s livestock industry as a whole, everyone from a person who has one horse to a livestock commodity organization.”
Survey will provide insights
The project has three-parts. A preliminary engagement meeting was held in March along with AFAC’s Livestock Care Conference where large commodity organizations and individual producers, as well as students and researchers attending the conference were asked for their insights on animal welfare today and what areas the project should concentrate on.
“We didn’t want to start this project with what we thought we knew, we wanted to ask everyone for their input,” says Moggy. “Based off that meeting and the National Farm Animal Health and Welfare’s National Farm Animal Welfare System, we formed this survey.”
The survey has four categories: organizations, abattoirs and auction markets, individuals such as producers and students. Any participants falling under more than one category can complete multiple surveys. Questions are divided into different categories, including standards and policies, research, communication, education and extension, and assurance programs.
“The questions depend on who we are asking,” says Moggy. “As an example, if we’re talking to organizations about communications and extension, we ask them questions about what they do for their communications and extension, but if they are a producer, we ask them what do they want for communications and extension. The hope is that we can then make a comparison between what commodity organizations are offering and producers want and determine whether or not that meets up.”
AFAC is encouraging the sharing and redistribution of the survey, and producer and commodity organizations are encouraged to circulate the information to their members and stakeholders.
The survey link has been distributed to around 1,700 individuals but anyone involved in the livestock sector, including students and researchers is invited to complete the online survey, which can be found at the Alberta Farm Animal Care website or by contacting Melissa Moggy at [email protected] or at (403) 652-5111.