Healthy animals are profitable animals. And for farmers, profitability is the bottom line. Farmers who treat their animals poorly can face veterinary bills, and other costly problems – such as a turned-off, non-supportive public. But right now, for the most part, consumers are on farmers’ side.

And farmers aim to keep it that way.

Hon. Gerry Ritz, the federal minister of agriculture and agri-food, stopped at the University of Guelph recently to announce Ottawa was dedicating $3.4 million to help develop or update codes of good practice for livestock, particularly livestock handling. The funding will include funding for peer-reviewed, on-farm care-assessment measures. I write about this support in my Urban Cowboy column in today’s Guelph Mercury.

The photo below by Guelph photographer Martin Schwalbe shows Prof. Vern Osborne and graduate student Carolyn Borsy in the university’s dairy barn, where their research revealed water is an ideal vehicle for delivering nutrients to dairy cows during a critical phase of their milk cycle. Their story appears in the University of Guelph Research magazine.