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Anna Haupt
Animal welfare or animal rights?
Most people, including farmers, believe in animal welfare principles: humans have a right to use animals, but also have a responsibility to ensure their wellbeing. By contrast, animal rights supporters don’t believe humans have a right to use animals — whether for food, clothing, entertainment, or medicine. It can be dif cult to sort out the many positions and groups involved with animal care or animal use issues.
Animal rights activists are not usually interested in  nding common ground, and farmers are not interested in  ghting with those who are fundamentally opposed to what they do. Instead, farmers support animal welfare practices and research. When based on good science, research can help improve farming practices. If you want to know more about how farmers
care for their animals, please just ask – on social media, at farmers’ markets, on farm tours, or at other local events.
Behind the scenes on going “undercover”
From time to time, animal rights activist groups release undercover video footage depicting alleged farm animal abuse. This footage is disturbing for everyone who cares for animals, including farmers. Here are a few points for you to consider.
Acts of cruelty towards animals are unacceptable and should not be tolerated. There are laws to deal with these cases, and they should be used accordingly. At times, however, individuals  lming the undercover footage have been doing so
for extended periods of time without taking action to stop abuse or questionable activity. This activity, too, is in itself unacceptable, and should be reported to the proper authorities immediately.
It’s also important to keep in mind that everything may not be what it seems – and just because something is on the internet doesn’t mean that it’s true. Misleading messaging and targeted marketing are often a part of animal rights campaigns, and need to be approached with critical thinking in mind.
It makes no sense to mistreat animals, whether from a moral or economic standpoint. Although one extreme case
is always one too many, it is far from the norm and does not re ect the care that millions of farm animals all across Canada receive every day.
Scientists at Cambridge University in the UK have invented a computer program that can detect whether farm animals are in pain. The arti cial intelligence system can recognize  ve di erent facial expressions in sheep, and determine whether the animal is su ering, and the severity of its discomfort.86
See farms for yourself
To experience the many different types of Canadian farms with your home, of ce or mobile device, visit and check out the many virtual farm and food tours available.
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