Biosecurity is very important in farming. Most livestock and poultry farms have very strict rules in place to keep animals from getting sick. These rules are called “biosecurity protocols,” and they’re designed to keep diseases from coming into barns or on farms. They can take the form of specific practices on the farm, as well as more general countrywide biosecurity policies. It’s always best to stay healthy in the first place, rather than having to treat and recover from sickness.
Many farmers keep a log of any visitors to their farms, and what they bring with them, from vehicles to equipment and feed. Visitors to the farm only go into a barn if they absolutely have to, and if they do, they may be asked to put on protective footwear and clean overalls to keep outside germs from entering the barn. At some pig farms, for example, anyone going into a barn has to take a shower before entering, and again when they leave, just to make sure that no pathogens get in which could make pigs sick. Biosecurity is a serious business, and requires cooperation from farmers, farm organizations, government, and the general public. Since 2022, avian influenza has led to the death and culling of millions of birds on farms worldwide, including within Canada. Without the farm community taking the right biosecurity measures, the problem would have been much worse.
Have you ever been asked to report if you have been on a farm while traveling abroad? If so, you have encountered a common question designed to help keep disease from spreading to farms from other countries.
Monitoring livestock barns remotely
Increasingly, farmers can control heat and electricity in their barns from their computers, tablets, or smartphones. Most farms also have generators to make sure that their barns have electricity if the power goes out. A growing number of farms are installing sensors and smart systems to track everything, from feed consumption, to how many steps an animal takes each day — all in an effort to keep animals healthy and to ensure their optimal welfare. Even facial recognition technology is being studied to see if it can have applications in raising farm animals.