BFO Animal Care Values Statement
Animal welfare is of the utmost importance to Beef Farmers of Ontario (BFO) and its members. When concerns involving animal care are identified in Ontario’s beef sector, BFO acknowledges its responsibility to consider and offer its perspective to members, the broader agriculture industry and the general public. BFO is respectful of the leadership roles of the government agencies charged with monitoring animal care in Ontario.
BFO supports the National Farm Animal Care Council’s Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Beef Cattle as the minimum acceptable standard of animal care for beef cattle in Ontario. BFO expects all members to take responsibility in their role as beef farmers for the welfare of their animals and for the reputation and positioning of the Ontario beef sector as proactive and principled when it comes to animal care. BFO does not support farmers who do not fulfill this responsibility to their animals and the public.
Ontario Beef Helpline Service
The Ontario Beef Helpline is a confidential “farmer helping farmer” approach administered together by the Beef Farmers of Ontario (BFO) and Farm & Food Care Ontario. It provides a confidential way for people to report situations of beef animals that they feel require better care. BFO has trained Animal Care Advisors (ACA) covering all areas of the province, who respond to these situations by meeting with each farmer to discuss animal care issues and offer practical advice or necessary assistance to correct the situation if there is a problem. The ACA then reports back details from his/her visit to BFO and Farm & Food Care who, in turn, will relay this information back to the caller if they are interested.
Helpline calls are accepted at the Farm & Food Care office at 519-837-1326, during regular office hours, typically Monday to Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Callers are asked to provide specific and detailed information necessary to pursue the case. The information about the case, but not the name of the caller, is then passed on to the Beef Farmers of Ontario for follow-up and/or visit.
Anyone who is having difficulties meeting acceptable levels of care and management for their farm animals and anyone else who witnesses situations where animals are not being properly cared for are encouraged to use this service.
Provincial Animal Welfare Services
In January 2020, the Provincial Animal Welfare Services Act (PAWS Act) came into force, creating Animal Welfare Services (AWS) at the Ministry of the Solicitor General, the first fully provincial government-based animal welfare enforcement system in Canada. The new enforcement model aims to increase compliance regarding animal welfare through proactive and preventive measures, such as having the strongest penalties against animal cruelty in Canada. Regulations under the PAWS Act include standards of care and administrative standards, with the goal of ensuring that Ontario’s animals are always protected and treated in a humane manner. Ontario’s new animal welfare enforcement model features a specialized team of inspectors who work for – and are overseen by – the province.
The activities of the PAWS unit are overseen by the auditor general, the ombudsman, the privacy commissioner, and provincial freedom of information laws. The province has set up a toll-free number, 1-833-9-ANIMAL (1-833-926-4625), for people to report concerns about animal distress or abuse. This call centre is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. https://www.ontario.ca/page/animal-welfare.
What’s the difference between calling Farm & Food Care’s Farm Animal Care Helpline and the Ontario Animal Protection Call Centre to make a complaint about animal care?
Farm & Food Care’s Farm Animal Care Helpline is a confidential farmer-helping-farmer educational system, with no legal authority or rights. It is designed to provide practical advice and assistance to improve farm animal care. The Helpline is not meant for emergencies or when laws (animal cruelty) have been broken.
The Security from Trespass and Protecting Food Safety Act, 2020
The Security from Trespass and Protecting Food Safety Act, 2020 protects Ontario farm animals, farms, farmers and their families, agri-food employees, and the safety of the entire food supply by addressing the ongoing threat of unwanted trespassing and from unauthorized interactions with farm animals.
The Act strikes an important balance, respecting the right to peaceful public protest, while giving the justice system the tools it needs to help protect farmers, agri-food workers and businesses, and the food supply from trespassing and harassment.
Under the Security from Trespass and Protecting Food Safety Act, 2020, farmers must only mark specific types of animal protection zones with signs.