Sheep producers know the importance of animal welfare. Sheep that are well-treated are more productive and profitable than those given a lower level of care. As well, public opinion and consumer confidence decreases when cases of animal abuse and neglect are publicized
Important Animal Welfare Organizations:
- Alberta Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: The Alberta Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Alberta SPCA) is a registered charity dedicated to the welfare of animals. The SPCA encourages the humane treatment of animals through enforcement of animal protection legislation and through education programs throughout Alberta. To report animal abuse or neglect call 1-800-455-9003.
- National Farm Animal Care Council: The National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC) brings together diverse stakeholders to:
- develop Codes of Practice for the care and handling of farm animals,
- create a process for the development of animal care assessment programs,
- provide a forum for open dialogue on farm animal welfare.
- Alberta Farm Animal Care: Alberta Farm Animal Care Association or AFAC was started in 1993 by Alberta livestock producers. Throughout the past 20 plus years AFAC has developed into the collective voice of the livestock industry on matters of livestock welfare. AFAC has provided a coordinated approach for all areas of livestock production to work together to advance and promote responsible livestock care.
- AFAC ALERT Line (1-800-506-2273) is a confidential call line for anyone to report livestock care concerns
Animal Welfare Legislation: Alberta producers are subject to legislation which governs the treatment of animals. There are several Acts that protect animals on the Federal and Provincial levels. The Acts are enforced when animals are reported as in distress, lacking care or subjected to willful abuse
Alberta’s Animal Protection Act states that an animal is in distress if it is (2a) deprived of adequate shelter, ventilation, space, food, water or veterinary care or reasonable protection from injurious heat or cold; 2b) injured, sick, in pain or suffering, or; (2c) abused or subjected to undue hardship, privation or neglect. However, activities carried out in accordance with “reasonable and generally accepted practices” of animal care do not apply. The Criminal Code of Canada prohibits anyone from causing suffering, unnecessary pain or injury to an animal or bird, whether through willful action or neglect.
- Alberta's Animal Protection System (diagram)
- Overview of Animal Protection Legislation (Federal and Provincial - diagram)
Animal Welfare and Handling Resources:
- Guide to the Humane Care, Handling and Transportation of Sheep (Guide developed by ALP and Animal Farm Animal Care to help determine if an animal is fit for transport)
- Responsible Animal Care and the Code of Pratice (ALP fact sheet)
- Animal Welfare Considerations for Castration and Tail Docking (ALP fact sheet)
- Handling Systems for Sheep (ALP fact sheet)
- Setting It Up: Sheep Infrastructure (ALP Infrastructure module) contains information and plans for handling systems for sheep operations
- Body Condition Scoring (link to Health Page)
Videos on ALP's YouTube channel, Sheep Central Alberta