Farming groups come out in support of Atlantic Stockyards Ltd.

Three organizations in Nova Scotia say cattle farmers are disheartened by a recent abuse complaint filed against Atlantic Stockyards Ltd. in Murray Siding.

The Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture, Nova Scotia Cattle Producers, and the Dairy Farmers of Nova Scotia (DFNS) say in a joint news release that codes of practice are developed by stakeholders to identify best practices for livestock handling based on scientific information.

Atlantic Stockyard Ltd. is the only regular livestock public auction yard in Atlantic Canada with sales every week.

The groups say that without this facility, farms in Atlantic Canada would have to transport their livestock to Quebec, Ontario, or parts of the USA for sale, which would lead to substantial financial costs and cause many livestock farmers in the region to shut down.

They say the domino effect that this would have on the supply chain as a whole would certainly be felt by consumers and the local economy with the lost jobs.

DFNS Chair Gerrit Damsteegt says beginning this fall, all farms will undergo an animal assessment and validation of on-farm animal care under a mandatory program called proAction.

He says aside from the ethical reasons to treat animals well, a strong business case can be made that content animals are more productive.

The complaint of abuse by Animal Justice was filed with the Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. 

It stems from a video recorded by a Halifax woman on December 3rd and allegedly depicts a worker prodding a cow with a cane as it is being loaded on to a truck at the stockyards. 

Stockyard owner Sean Firth disagrees that any abuse took place and says authorities are welcome to visit the facility.