Last year was a busy and successful one
at the Ontario
Farm Animal Council (OFAC). OFAC continues to work
on behalf of animal agriculture in Ontario with the goal
of promoting responsible animal care practices and that
of addressing consumer questions about their food
supply. Here are some highlights from the last year:
ADVANCING RESPONSIBLE FARM ANIMAL CARE
In 2007, OFAC hosted and coordinated three
Livestock Transportation emergency response courses
for firefighters and police. OFAC has also developed
resources for both producers and emergency personnel
on dealing with barn fires and with livestock in other
emergency situations. Additional courses for other
parts of the province are planned for 2008.
OFAC updated and distributed its “Should this animal
be loaded?” transport decision trees and posters to
include new information on emergency slaughter
options. These resources have been distributed to sales
barns, producers, government, SPCA offices and
With help from OMAFRA staff, OFAC developed and
distributed a new livestock resource, entitled “Pick the
Right Ramp”. The resource is designed to deal with
issues around unloading at sales barns.
OFAC has developed and printed new “Good
Neighbour” postcards for use by producers. Producers
are encouraged to use them to tell their neighbours
when they’re spreading manure or invite them over for
a farm tour. Copies are free of charge and are available
through the OFAC office.
OFAC continues to operate its animal care Helpline
service. The Helpline is a confidential “farmer helping
farmer” approach to advice and referral on animal care. It
provides a confidential way for people to report situations
of farm animals that they feel require better care or for
farmers themselves to call if they need help.
Almost three years in the making, OFAC’s highly
successful Virtual Farm Tour Web site now features tours
17 Ontario farms (including two beef farms). The site is
now being visited by about 8 500 Website browsers
each month and has recently been tranposed into a CD
format. In 2008, OFAC will distribute copies of this CD
and an accompanying four-page teacher’s resource to
every high school and elementary school in Ontario.
In 2007, The ‘Real’ Dirt on Farming booklet, cosponsored
by agricultural groups across the country,
was updated to include statistics from the 2006 Census
on Agriculture. The booklet, featuring facts and figures
about Canadian agriculture, was then mailed to 30,000
doctors, dieticians, home economists and other health
professionals in Ontario. The booklet was accompanied
by a letter encouraging recipients to make it available
in their waiting rooms – thus reminding their clients of
the connections between good health and good food.
A total of 5,500 copies of the 2008 Faces of Farming
calendar, featuring beef farmer Don Grant of Bruce
County, were printed and mailed to politicians (federal,
provincial and municipal), media, grocery stores and
butcher shops. The calendar continues to be a great
positive news story for Ontario agriculture.
In 2007, OFAC displays were at 45 events over 144
days reaching 2.2 million people and 40,000 students.
A “Real Farmers with Real Heart” radio campaign was
launched in the fall of 2007. Throughout the next year,
clips on selected stations across Ontario will introduce
listeners to Ontario livestock farmers, including several
beef farmers, and will highlight their commitments to
animal care on their farms.
In 2007, OFAC hosted four media and chef student
tours in the Ottawa, Toronto, Hamilton and Peterborough
areas. An Ottawa media tour brought a bus load of
reporters and food writers out to a feedlot to learn
more about the Ontario beef industry.
PROVIDING EXPERTISE AND LEADERSHIP ON ANIMAL AGRICULTURE
In 2007, OFAC provided input on border contingency
plans and humane euthanasia.
OFAC also provided input and updates on legislation
that could impact veal producers – including Criminal
Code amendments, livestock transportation and the SPCA act.
The Ontario Farm Animal
Council is a non-profit
educational coalition. At the
time of its formation in 1988, it
was the first of its kind in North
America. OFAC will celebrate its
20th anniversary with a special banquet and
commemorative program on Thursday, April 17th.
Everyone is invited to attend. Watch for more details
on the OFAC Web site. OFAC is designed to be the
voice of animal agriculture, providing facts and
addressing issues such as animal care, food safety and
the environment. OFAC operates with a volunteer
Board of Directors (including a representative from
OCA), three full-time employees, and contract staff.
OFAC is proud of how much we accomplish with a
limited budget and a coordinated approach. As one of
OFAC’s seven founding members, we appreciate the
Ontario Cattlemen’s Association’s support of our efforts.
All OFAC resources are available on our Web site.