Steps are being taken to build stronger relationships and understanding of farm animal care practices on farms between agricultural producers and the B.C. Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BC SPCA). The B.C. Farm Animal Care Council (BCFACC) organized its first ever week-long livestock and poultry welfare assessment training course, and 13 SPCA special provincial constables from across the province attended.
Based on a similar program in Ontario developed by the University of Guelph’s Campbell Centre for the Study of Animal Welfare (CCSAW), the course was a historical first for B.C. and provided an opportunity to bolster the constables’ farm animal training and experience. The program is based on the national codes of practice for the care and handling of dairy cattle, beef cattle, pigs, poultry, and sheep and was taught by experts from the University of Guelph, the University of British Columbia, and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.
The five-day course, held in April, consisted of classroom sessions and on-farm technical review. Seven Fraser Valley farms opened their doors to allow BC SPCA constables on their farms to discuss animal care and animal welfare assessment. Participating farmers saw tremendous value in the opportunity to increase the knowledge of the BC SPCA constables’ understanding of production practices and the care farmers and ranchers take of their animals. This mutual understanding is important in continuing to build bridges and enhance communications between the farming community and the BC SPCA.