Iowa launches farm animal care coalition

A new coalition offers voluntary on-farm evaluations, provides resources, and facilitates "concerned citizen reports" relative to farm animal care.

Calling it a first-of-its-kind effort, Iowa farmers, veterinarians and experts in animal well-being recently launched a centralized resource where Iowans can receive information about appropriate farm animal care. The Iowa Farm Animal Care (IFAC) Coalition is designed to answer questions, provide resources, and facilitate “concerned citizen reports.”

Modeled after a similar program in Alberta, Canada, IFAC is the result of collaboration among the Iowa Farm Bureau, Iowa Pork Producers Association, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, and Iowa State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

“Farmers understand that consumers want to know more about where their food comes from and how it was raised. IFAC is available to help increase public understanding,” said Denny Harding, IFAC’s executive director. “Until now, there has not been a centralized place where Iowans could go for farm animal care information.”

Harding said IFAC’s website and toll-free help line provide that information, providing consumers with details of how “responsible farmers” care for their animals, and allowing citizens to report a concern, of if they see something on a farm they do not understand.

Because of the collaboration with the university and department of agriculture, IFAC also provides farmers with access to animal care experts who specialize in animal care. An independent team of experts will perform voluntary on-site farm evaluations to ensure appropriate farm animal care is being given.

“I think the overwhelming majority of farmers today are doing a great job handling farm animals and have their best interests in mind when it comes to their health and environment,” said Suzanne Millman, associate professor of animal welfare at Iowa State. “Different species have different behaviors that require different care. IFAC can help provide farmers with the latest in animal care research, while ensuring that appropriate care is being given and answering consumer questions.”

Feedstuffs In Focus: Editor Andy Vance discussed the new Iowa Farm Animal Care Coalition with the group’s executive director Denny Harding in a recent edition of Feedstuffs In Focus, the podcast of big news in agriculture. You can listen to the interview here. You can read more about the coalition in the Jan. 28 edition of Feedstuffs.

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