Farm Animal Care Helpline

Helpline Brochure The Helpline is a confidential “farmer helping farmer” approach of advice and referral on animal care. The Helpline service is provided by Farm & Food Care Ontario to assist people in providing good care for their farm animals. It is designed to provide assistance before situations reach a crisis point. The Helpline is one more way for the farming community to work together to help fellow farmers and farm animals. It’s also yet another good example that demonstrates that if there’s a problem with animal care, farmers want to be part of the solution. It’s good for agriculture, it’s good for the farmer and most importantly, it’s good for the animals. For farmers – use the helpline if you are having difficulty meeting acceptable levels of care and management for your animals. For anyone else – use the helpline to report situations where animals are not being properly cared for.

How does the Helpline work?

Helpline representatives are farmers or experienced staff people who assess the situation, and offer practical advice or necessary assistance. Callers are asked to identify themselves (for the purposes of follow-up) and provide specific and detailed information necessary to pursue the case. Those details are then reported to the appropriate commodity group, who will take further action. Farm & Food Care Ontario can also follow-up with callers, should they so choose. Caller information is kept confidential with Farm & Food Care Ontario, and NOT passed on with necessary case information. The Helpline accepts calls about these farm animals:

  • Beef cattle
  • Dairy cattle
  • Pigs
  • Rabbits
  • Chickens
  • Turkeys

Calls accepted at the Farm & Food Care Ontario office: Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The Helpline IS NOT the Humane Society:

The Farm & Food Care Helpline deals with thin animals, not starving animals – it addresses cases before they reach a point where legal action is required. Both humane society representatives and helpline representatives may refer cases to each other depending on the nature of each case.

The Helpline DOES NOT cover:

  • Pets or horses: Concerns about pets or horses should be reported directly to the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA), a local Humane Society or a local animal control officer.
  • Livestock other than those listed above: This includes animals such as sheep, deer or ratites. Calls relating to other types of livestock will be referred to the OSPCA, or the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) for investigation.
  • Illegal Activities: The Helpline is a volunteer service. If any laws are broken, the call must be forwarded to the appropriate authorities.
  • Deadstock: Farm animals need to be disposed of in accordance with government regulations. Deadstock violations should be reported directly to OMAFRA.
  • Neglect, Cruelty or Abuse: The OSPCA should be called directly in cases where neglect or abuse is obvious, and legal enforcement is required. The OSPCA service is confidential and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • Emergencies: The Helpline is not designed to deal with emergencies. If there are animals in immediate distress, or it is outside the Helpline working hours, please contact your local humane society or the OSPCA.
  • Dangerous situations: Helpline representatives should not be involved in situations presenting potential risks to personal safety. In such instances, please contact your local police.

Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA)

  • 1-888-ONT-SPCA (1-888-668-7722)

Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA)

  • 1-877-424-1300

Ontario Provincial Police

  • 911 or 1-888-310-1122 (anywhere in Ontario)