Calves on the Bird family's cattle farm near Cremona, Alta., Thursday, May 28, 2020. The group representing Canada's beef industry has changed its name to be more gender-inclusive. It will be known as the Canadian Cattle Association. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Ranching group drops ‘Cattlemen’ name to be more gender inclusive

The group representing Canadian ranchers has changed its name to be more gender inclusive.

The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, an industry organization representing more than 60,000 ranchers and feedlot operators nation-wide, said Thursday it will now be known as the Canadian Cattle Association.

The group has had the word “Cattlemen” in its name since its founding in 1932, but president Reg Schellenberg said Thursday that today’s ranchers are a strong and diverse group of people.

“It is important that our name, logo and brand also grow and be reflective of how our organization has evolved,” Schellenberg said in a release.

While cattle ranching is big business in Western Canada, particularly in Alberta where it is closely linked with the province’s history and identity, the beef industry has struggled with its image in recent years as issues like climate change and animal welfare have gained more attention.

Thursday’s name change is the result of a larger rebranding exercise by the CCA that also includes a new logo. The organization said Thursday that its new name and logo are meant to position the Canadian beef industry as “dynamic, forward-thinking,” and “climate positive.”

In its release, the CCA also pointed out some of the things cattle ranchers do to support the environment, such as sequestering carbon by preserving native grasses in pastures.

Last year, a board member of the Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association proposed that group also rename itself to be more gender inclusive. However, the proposal was voted down by that organization’s board.

At the time, SCA chief executive Ryder Lee said the gender discussion is one that wouldn’t even have come up a few years ago.

“A lot of conversations are like the ones we have at kitchen tables across the province,” Lee said in 2021. “There is some awareness that things are changing. There’s some comfort with that, there’s some discomfort with that.”

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