Barn fires and the loss of their animals are devastating to livestock farmers. The exact cause of barn fires can be hard to determine, although many are thought to start because of problems in electrical systems. For this reason, it’s important for farmers (or any home and business owner) to ensure that their buildings are safe and in good working condition. Aside from keeping barns clean and in good working order, farmers can also use tools like heat-sensing cameras to determine if electronics are in good working condition, or to pinpoint potential hot spots. Wireless temperature monitors can also send alerts directly to a farmer’s cell phone in case barn temperatures climb too high. Traffic accidents involving livestock can also be devastating, as well as dangerous for both animals and people. Managing livestock that are stressed from a collision, or even trapped in a trailer, presents difficult situations for first responders and livestock handlers. Programs to train first-responders about what to do in these situations — how to move livestock, understand animal behaviour, cut into overturned trailers, and so on — are ongoing across the country.
Animal welfare and animal rights – what’s the difference?
Why do some groups talk about animal welfare while others talk about animal rights? The two terms have a lot in common, but are really different philosophies along a spectrum concerning all those who care about animals. Animal welfare: Humans have a right to use animals and animal products, but also the responsibility to ensure the ethical treatment and wellbeing of animals in their care. Animal rights: Humans don’t have the right to use or confine animals for any reason, including for food, medicine, domestication, education, clothing, or entertainment. It can be difficult to sort out the many positions and groups involved with animal care or animal use issues, and farmers are open to respectful discussion and transparency. They are interested in finding new, better ways to raise animals, and they invest a lot of time and money into animal welfare practices, education, and research to make that happen. 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.
Canadian farmers have been increasingly faced with animal rights activists trespassing onto their farms, and in some cases, even entering barns to release or seize animals. Not only does this action cause immense stress to both farmers and livestock, but it can also expose animals to harmful pathogens and other safety risks, like road traffic. Governments in several Canadian provinces have now introduced laws to protect farmers against this type of trespassing onto private property, and to keep livestock safe from interference during transport.