Southern California Farmers Daughters

  (Murrieta, California)
Divinely Inspired Practically Applied
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The difference between Handling and Welfare of Livestock

During an online chat session last evening an interesting topic came up that I thought others would find interesting.

What is the difference, if any between livestock welfare and humane handling?

here are the answers that were agreed upon. If you have any ideas for improving the definitions below please pass them on.

Livestock(animal) Welfare as Defined by Saunders Comprehensive Veterinary Dictionary seems to be one of the best we found.

"The avoidance of abuse and exploitation of animals by humans, by maintaining appropriate standards of accomodation,feeding, and general care. The prevention of disease and the assurance of freedom from harassment, and unnecessary discomfort or pain."

Our standards are much more specific but the general consensus was that this a very good basic definition.

Humane Handling refers to Harvest Practices and the official definition is:

 "Animals Must be rendered insensible to pain prior to being harvested, that they must be driven at a normal walking speed and forbid driving animals with anything that may cause injury or undue pain." oddly there are no written standards for poultry.

Temple Grandin has developed Humane handling systems for Large operations and has a unique perspective on animal sensory perception that I feel small farmers should pay attention to.

Field Harvest should always be just that. Harvest in the field where the animal is calm and content until the moment of dispatch. I believe that all Custom Harvest should be done this way. Where inspection is required, care should be taken to select a facility that employs the highest standards.

Aisling

 
 

More Questions to Ask at The Farmers Market

Here are some questions for the food Purveyors:

Breads and sauces: All prepared foods are required to have a list of ingredients displayed on the product. There are some questions that you can ask to determine if the seller is the actuall maker of the product or simply a seller.

Where do you ingredients come from?

How long does it take to make it?

When was it made?

Where was it made?

How long will it stay fresh?

Do you use Organic and GM Free ingredients?

Food Stalls: People sell delicious ready to eat foods at farmers markets, they don't have to list the ingredients that they use but they should KNOW what they are selling.

What's in it?

Did the vegetable Condiments Come from the Market or the grocery store?

If they serve meat or sea food Where did it come from?

What type of meat is it?

Is it sustainably raised or a mass produced grocery store product?

Where is your Kitchen or is all the preparation done at the Market?

For Seafood:

Where was it caught or Farmed and did you cach or farm it?

Shrimp and Shellfish can be farmed in coastal waters. Ask where it came from.

Ocean Fish is preferrably Wild Caught and the fisherman should be the person selling it.

For Meat and Poultry:

How was it raised?

Where was it raised? (Some Farmers and Ranchers Cooperate with each other and this is a GOOD practice. The purveyor should happily tell you who and where their affiliates are located.)

For Beef and Lamb, Grassfed and Finished or Grain Finished? (if grain finished ask what grains were fed and where they came from)(my personal view is that rumenants should not be fed grain but some people disagree and in the interest of fairness I added the option)

For Pork and Poultry, Pastured or confinement? (if the answer is confinement, even in outdoor pens, ask the size of the pen and how many animals are penned together) (10 goats in a 24'x24' pen is not free range or pastured 2 goats in the same size pen fed hay can be called free range but..... that is an argument best left for another time)

What if any are the supplemental feeds given? (this can be very important in light of the new research regarding the potential side effects of GM crops)

Who does your Processing? (If the Processor is more than 3 hours from the Farm of Origin this is not a sustainable Practice and places too much stress on the animal prior to harvest.)

Can we visit your Farm? (most farmers will happily allow visitors with an appointment)

Can we Take Pictures?(If the answer is no to this one say thank you and walk away.)

Can we watch or participate in a harvest? (USDA Harvest facilities usually will not allow visitors but most farms have Custom Harvesting done from time to time and allow customers to watch their animal harvested.)

What breeds do you raise? (ask specific questions, you may have to do a little homework to know what the answers should be ESPECIALLY if the Heritage Breed claim is used.)

What was the live weight of this animal? (more on yield later)

How old was it when it was harvested? (this can vary from weeks for poultry to months or years for cattle)

There are a host of other questions to ask, Especially if you are considering becoming a member of a Farm, Cooperative or CSA. I will be happy to send that list privately to anyone that would like a copy.

Aisling

 

 
 

Some Questions to Ask at Farmers Markets

I'm sure that many of you support your Local Farmers Markets. Rather than Rely on the Growers Certificate hanging in the booth, ask questions.Here are some suggestions for Produce:

When was this picked?

How was it grown? (Certified Organic, Organic Exempt, Natural, Conventional etc.)

What varieties do you grow? (each vegetable has several varieties, some of which only grow in specific climates) Heirloom varieties may cost more because of the cost of seeds.

Where was it grown?

How long have you been farming? (This One can be important Because it takes a Minimum of 3 years verifiably free of pesticide and or petroleum based fertilizer use to have land Certified as Organic.)

Do you have a Farm Stand Or CSA?

Can we make an appointment to come see your operation? (Most farms have Visiting Days once or twice a Year.)

How would you recommend cooking it?

If you don't like any of the answers you get, go on to the next booth.

You get the idea, Next time "What to ask the Bread and Meat Purveyors"

Aisling

 
 

It Got HOT!

My Goodness it is HOT today! Well, not really but the quick change sure makes it feel like it. I can almost hear the grass growing. I put in some Tomato plants and Snap Peas today and drove over to see how our status is coming for Truly Local(tm). All of the protocols are set and it shouldn't be long until we can launch. I'm looking forward to giving Farmers and Ranchers an alternative to conventional certification. In these times everyone needs to be able to know were their food comes from,and be comfortable knowing that it is as safe as possible. There was another recall on the news last night. Beef this time. It Just amazes me what the BIG BOYS can get away with! The USDA is instituting Mandatory Testing Prior to Sale. Now Processors have to test but can ship products before the results come back. Something is definitely wrong with that system! They make a field test that only costs a few dollars and gives results in less than an hour. I think that is very cheap insurance.

Thank you to everyone that contacted us on our first day with Local Harvest. It was nice to see that people are really interested in what we are doing and want to be involved. I will post the "Questions to ask at the Farmers Market" in the next day or so. I think that it will help you figure out who to support without being unkind.

All the Best

Aisling

 
 

Just an Introduction

Thank you for your interest. We will be introducing you to our collective members, their practices and production styles. We will also be keeping you informed about grass based livestock and holistic farming techniques. You will be able to learn about our Certification Program and what is required to use the "Truly Local"(tm) claim.

We strive to provide the finest foods at fair prices with our primary focus being a Locally Integrated Food Economy, keeping food producers and consumers connected in new and innovative ways. Some Free Informational Brochures are available now via e-mail and a storefront is being set up here on Local harvest for direct sales of products and workshop sign ups. Our "What Questions to ask at the Farmers Market" brochure is very popular and Free for the asking. Please visit our listing and check back often for answers to questions you never thought to ask.

Aisling

 
 
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