Alberta Beef Humane

May 06, 2016

Recently, we all heard that a popular chain of restaurants with several locations in Alberta decided to source their beef from the United States. Their rationale for this was that the American raised beef was certified to be humane by a private organization. It would seem that the executives at this restaurant chain needed to be convinced that Alberta beef producers raise their cattle humanely.

As a proud Albertan and Canadian, I am very concerned with this poorly thought out decision. The executives clearly did not do their research, because if they had, they would have discovered quite quickly that Alberta beef producers have some of the best and most humane practices for handling cattle in the world. We know that Alberta beef is humanely raised, notwithstanding any special certification or label. We see it among our neighbours in our communities that they take great care of the animals in their charge.  

Unlike the restaurant chain in question, my office did the research necessary to understand the great lengths that our hard-working Albertan cattle feeders go to, to ensure that they are meeting the highest standards for humane treatment. I reached out to Bryan Walton, CEO of the Alberta Cattle Feeders’ Association (ACFA) http://cattlefeeders.ca/ as well as General Manager of its parent organization, the National Cattle Feeders’ Association (NCFA) http://nationalcattlefeeders.ca/. He was more than happy to review the history and extensive policies/practices for humane cattle treatment in our province. 

To start, Alberta cattle feeders have met, and continue to meet the national standards for humane treatment as recognized by the National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC). This is the national body that sets standards and codes of practice for the humane treatment of farm animals across Canada.

The NCFA recently developed a new recognized Canadian Feedlot Animal Care Assessment tool for auditing animal welfare. This will allow them to be even more diligent in monitoring animal welfare across their membership. This is clearly an industry that has the humane treatment of cattle as one of its core principles. If you ask any Albertan or Canadian that handles cattle for a living, they will be the first to tell you that it is in everyone’s best interest to ensure that they are treating their cattle well.

I have a great amount of faith in our cattle producers and feeders, and I trust them to do what’s right, and I know the great majority of Albertans and Canadians feel the same way. I choose Alberta beef, I choose Canadian beef, because it’s handled humanely, and it’s the best beef in the world.