Advice to Maintain Public Trust with Good Animal Care

CANADA - An Ontario veterinarian suggests, as long a livestock producers continue to maintain a high level of animal care and are quick to condemn actions that are inappropriate, they will maintain the public's trust, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 4 February 2014
clock icon 3 minute read

Communicating On-Farm Welfare will be among the topics discussed this week as part of the 2014 Manitoba Swine Seminar in Winnipeg.

Dr Tim Blackwell, an Ontario veterinarian, says most consumers know little about modern livestock production practices but most of us are pretty unfamiliar with a lot of production practices.

Dr Tim Blackwell-Ontario Veterinarian

I don't know how most of the products that I consume or use every day are made so I don't think we necessarily can blame them nor do I think we can expect to educate them about livestock production unless we want auto manufacturers to explain to them about auto manufacturing or deep sea oil drilling to explain to people how that's done so I think this is going to come down to a matter of trust.

We have to show them that we're doing a good job and if an when we make mistakes that we're willing to admit to them and correct them as quickly as possible.

I think most farmers are dong the best job for animal welfare when they're in the barn taking good care of their animals and as long as they're doing that then we avoid all the bad publicity and they don't really have to promote their product.

I firmly believe in general people have great trust in stock people and believe firmly that these people, and rightly so, are doing the best they can for their animals.

As long as they continue to do that and we avoid these other situations and when they occur we condemn those actions immediately I think we're going to be fine.

Dr Blackwell says the big stories aren't the 99.9 per cent of the time livestock are well cared for, the big stories are something terrible happened and that puts a terrible light on our industry.

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