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Animal Welfare Should be Based on Reason, Science and Experience

by 5m Editor
18 April 2007, at 2:59pm

US – Speaking to the North American Agricultural Journalists meeting, Kay Johnson, Executive Vice President of the Animal Agriculture Alliance said that improvements in animal welfare should be based on reason, science and experience, not on the opinions of activists who have absolutely no vested interest in farm animals or those who believe it is wrong to raise animals for food.

Kay Johnson, Executive Vice President of the Animal Agriculture Alliance, told the audience at the North American Agricultural Journalists conference on April 16 that improvements in animal welfare should be based on reason, science and experience, not on the opinions of activists who have no vested interest in farm animals. (from left Kay Johnson, Executive Vice President, Animal Agriculture Alliance, Jill Hollingsworth, DVM, Vice President-Food Safety Programs, Food Marketing Institute, John Balzar, Vice President-Communications, Humane Society of the United States).

“Animal welfare can not be considered in a vacuum. It’s easy for animal activists to demand changes, but what impact will changes in animal husbandry have ultimately on the animals or on other factors such as food safety, the environment, the economy and even our national security?” said Johnson. Letting activists lead the discussion “would be like someone without kids establishing the guidelines for how parents should raise their children.” Then Johnson explained that, just like parents, “farmers and ranchers are willing to make changes, but we need to make sure any changes are done with a lot of thought to the ultimate outcome.”

Contrary to the claims of animal rights activists, producers who follow the latest scientific recommendations for animal welfare management systems and follow specific animal-care guidelines are actually providing surroundings that are better for the animals, better for the producers, better for the environment and, in the end, provide consumers with higher quality and safer food products than 50 years ago, Johnson said.

The Animal Agriculture Alliance, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization, is a broad-based coalition of individual producers, producer organizations, suppliers, packer-processors, private industry and retailers. The Alliance's mission is to communicate the important role of animal agriculture to our nation's economy, productivity, vitality, security and that animal well-being is central to producing safe, high-quality, affordable food and other products essential to our daily lives.

5m Editor