Alberta Rabbit Producers Association
 Registered Alberta non-profit society 5015227647


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Please print application and network forms and mail to secretary
Christiana Munch as listed on application.


Below are the articles mentioned in the Presidents letter for April
as well as others that may be of interest.

Codes, trust and tackling challenges head-on

Date posted: March 23, 2013

Jackie Wepruk

Codes of Practice for the care and handling of farm animals are one of the hot topics at LCC. What's the approach, in a nutshell?

It's about teamwork and keeping Canada competitive, says Jackie Wepruk, Manager of the National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC).

"The Codes" are guidelines designed to support responsible livestock welfare practices and keep everyone involved in livestock care and handling on the same page. They also provide a clear reference livestock industries can point to in addressing questions and rising expectations from consumers, the marketplace and society in general, both domestically and internationally.

Four keys to success

1. Round-table process fosters collaboration. "We're trying to ensure there's a more collaborative approach where all of the relevant stakeholders are involved in the decision making," says Wepruk. "We want to work to breakdown this cognitive dissonance on all sides. Everyone has their own view on animal welfare and. Our ultimate goal is yes we're making progress on animal welfare but we're also maintaining the viability of Canadian agriculture.

2. Anchoring Canada's success. The Codes are really the foundation of our Canadian animal welfare system.," says Wepruk. "They really do serve as our national understanding of what animal care requirements are and what recommended practices should be.

3. Strong science, but practical too. "It's really important the Codes are scientifically informed and that we have a strong scientific basis for what we're saying," says Wepruk. "But science can't tell us the whole picture. Science can tell us what is but it can't tell us what ought to be. At the same time we need to ensure that our Codes and what we're doing on farm animal welfare is practical. Because ultimately if farmers and those involved in animal agriculture can't implement the Codes, then there's not much point in doing them."

4. Meeting society expectations. The Code also need to reflect societal expectations for responsible animal care, says Wepruk. "Societal views change and we are seeing that change. Views are not homogenous on farm animal welfare so this can be a tough one to get at. We're not talking about the single interest group that is picketing a company. We need to focus on the general consumer and keeping a strong relationship."

Innovation, 'social license' and economics take focus at Livestock Care Conference

Posted: March 26, 2013

There's no question farm animal welfare is an issue putting livestock industries in the spotlight and driving new expectations. But what are the best pathways to bolster consumer trust while balancing industry economics and practical challenges?

That was the crux of the discussion and debate at the 2013 Livestock Care Conference, where a range of farm animal care experts, industry leaders, producers, students and other stakeholders took stock of the state of the welfare issue, industry progress and how to capture the opportunities ahead. The conference was hosted by Alberta Farm Animal Care (AFAC), which represents the major livestock producer organizations in the province, along with the Alberta Veterinary Medical Association.

"In a market system, the real driver of change is through the consumer," says Dr. James Reynolds of the College of Veterinary Medicine, Western University in Ponoma, California. "Livestock industries have a license to produce. Society gives the license and it comes with conditions. The challenge is to continually foster understanding and strengthen that relationship."

Livestock producers and their industries represent the front line of responsible livestock welfare and animal husbandry practices. Through efforts such as AFAC and similar-targeted efforts in other jurisdictions, they have emerged as leaders in promoting awareness, communication, research, guidelines and innovation on farm animal care.

Today there are increasingly higher expectations for transparency - not only communicating and explaining but also increasingly 'proving' best practices and approaches, says Reynolds. In Canada, the U.S. and elsewhere there has been a whirlwind of activity and progress over many years now reaching a high point.

The heavyweights of the global food industry are ramping-up their focus and programs related to animal welfare. "It's absolutely a top priority," says Dr. Lily Edwards-Callaway, Animal Welfare Specialist with JBS, the world's largest animal protein company and largest processor of beef. "We strongly believe we are stewards of our animals. It's our responsibility and we take it seriously." She oversees the animal welfare programs for cattle, pigs and lambs at JBS USA. Each of the company's processing plants in Canada and the U.S. now has a certified animal handling auditor and runs three different types of auditing systems.

In Canada, a key focus of activity in recent years has been the development of updated Codes of Practice for the care and handling of farm animals - a process coordinated through the National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC). "The Codes" are guidelines designed to support responsible livestock welfare practices and keep everyone involved in livestock care and handling on the same page, says Jackie Wepruk, Manager of NFACC. They also provide a clear reference livestock industries can point to in addressing questions and rising expectations from consumers, the marketplace and society in general.

Individual commodity and producer organizations are helping drive a range of complementary, species-specific programs. Several case study examples were highlighted at the conference through presentations by Mike Slomp, Industry and Member Services Manager of Alberta Milk; Trevor Prout, Producer Programs Manager of Alberta Chicken Producers; and Catherine Scovil, Executive Director of the Canadian Pork Council.

At a broader international level, one of the big drivers is the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), the major intergovernmental global organization responsible for improving animal health worldwide, with a total of 178 member countries including Canada. While OIE has traditionally focused on animal health, in recent years it has expanded the definition of this mandate to include a stronger focus on livestock welfare. This has included leading the development of consensus-based international standards for livestock welfare approaches, through the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

The Livestock Care Conference main agenda also featured an open-format "bear pit" session on the tough issues and buzz topics in farm animal care today, moderated by Dr. Clover Bench of the University of Alberta. The discussion was punctuated by strong viewpoints, frank talk and calls to action, along with reminders of the strength in working together and thinking bold about future potential. Economic implications and practical measures were a key focus.

"Continuing to share knowledge and build coordinated approaches is one of the clear priorities ahead," says Heini Hehli, a Rimbey-area dairy producer and chair of AFAC. "We all have the same interest in providing leadership in farm animal care, among all areas of livestock production."

A range of reports and resources out of the Livestock Care Conference are available for industry and media use, including special editions of the NewStream Farm Animal Care e-newsletter. Visit for LCC details and links and for NewStream content and sign-up.



AgriStability is part of the Growing Forward 2 suite of risk management programs that includes:


 AgriInsurance - known as crop insurance.

 AgriInvest - a producer-managed savings account where government matches eligible producer contributions of up to $15,000 annually.

 AgriRecovery - assistance that covers extraordinary expenses following a disaster.



The enrolment deadline for AgriStability is April 30th.

There are some changes to the new AgriStability program under the Growing Forward 2 framework that horse producers should be aware of. Read AFSC's press release to learn about the changes and how they may impact you.


Manure Management Regulations for Rabbit Owners

Manure management requirements for all Alberta agricultural operations, including rabbit owners, are outlined in the Standards and Administration Regulation of the Agricultural Operation Practices Act (AOPA). However, new or expanding horse operations which exceed specified animal numbers may also need a permit from the Natural Resources Conservation Board (NRCB).

Do you need a permit?
If your facility existed prior to January 1, 2002, was above threshold numbers and has not expanded or modified any facilities, it is considered to have been deemed a permit, based on the capacity of the operation at the time. No action is necessary by the operator. However, new and expanding operations that exceed threshold animal numbers and are not an equestrian stable, auction market, race track, or exhibition ground, will need a permit under AOPA.

Keep reading this resource from Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development.


MARCH 2013

CFA - a collaborative approach to agriculture

By Ron Bonnett, CFA President & Cow/Calf Operator

Over the years, and especially in the past few months, we have heard reports
in the news and by those outside of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture
(CFA) membership that accuse the CFA of being a supply-managed organization.
Others argue we place too much emphasis on trade, while some question if our
focus is too central Canada, western grain or remote rural-centric.

To those accusations of who we are - I proudly answer an emphatic 'YES' - to
all of the above. CFA is an organization that is supportive and proud of
supply management and all orderly marketing tools, and the role they play in
securing producer returns. CFA is an organization focused on exports - proud
of the high quality products Canada sells internationally through its
grains, oilseeds, sugar beets, horticulture and livestock members - at the
CFA table directly or within each of our provincial general farm
organizations. And yes, CFA is focused on the issues of central Canada,
western Canada, eastern Canada and the remote areas in between.

CFA is Canada's largest national general farm organization. As such, we
appreciate that not every issue will impact everyone at CFA directly or
equally. But in 1935, the CFA was formed to provide a strong, collective
voice for farmers - to work for the betterment of all farmers - to improve
the socio-economic situation of all farmers. And some 78 years later, that
objective has not changed. It is an objective that is obtained through a
variety of initiatives - initiatives on a broad spectrum of files that have
a direct impact to the bottom line of our members and every Canadian farmer.
These include work not just on trade - which is key - but on other areas
that impact farmers directly, like the owner use pesticide program, species
at risk, business risk management tools, crop insurance, taxation issues,
water use, climate change, regulatory reform, food safety and farm safety to
name but a few.

Our objective is to ensure the sector as a whole is profitable and viable
not just today but for the long-term, and that we at CFA strive to make that
happen not on the backs or expense of others in the industry, but
collectively and by working in partnership along the entire food supply
chain. We do it by working with not only Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada,
but with Health Canada, Environment Canada, Department of Foreign Affairs
and International Trade, Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Industry Canada
- and our provincial members help to strengthen that approach by working in
collaboration with their respective provincial ministries to bring a common
vision and hopefully approach to agriculture in this country.

So, if working for the betterment of the entire agri-food sector is a fault
- if understanding the complex inter-relationships between commodities,
sectors and regions is wrong - then we are guilty and happily so - but at
CFA, we will not be convinced that alone you can be stronger than working
collaboratively together.

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613-236-3633 ·
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