It’s the central issue in the ongoing battle between livestock producers and those who advocate for improvements in animal welfare – or in extreme cases – animal rights.
Do animals need or deserve more than the basics of food, water and shelter? Should they also be given adequate space for exercise and social activities?
Purdue University Animal Scientist Dr. Candace Croney is considered one of the nation’s foremost experts on animal learning and welfare. Croney admits it’s a very complex and emotional issue – but she says there’s no question that animals do care how they are treated…
“The very fact that they’re scented beings means that how they’re treated matters to them. And so one of the things that we look at in scientific terms is how do we ask to them what’s particularly important to you? do we have ways to do that? Absolutely. Do we have ways of looking at animals that are well fed, well cared for as far as meeting their physical demands and understanding that there maybe something else going on for them? Absolutely.”
Some livestock producers contend that they know what’s best for their animals – and they point to continued production increases as evidence that their animals are content. But Croney says that argument may be losing steam…
“I do think that ranchers and farmers know what they’re doing and are experts on animal care. Expertise on animal care doesn’t necessarily mean that you understand fully all of the factors that go into animal welfare. And that includes thinking about not just the biological needs of the animals but their behavioral needs, and why this matters to people that aren’t involved in the business.”
Croney says like it or not – issues surrounding animal welfare in food production are not going to go away
Senate Taking Lead on Farm Bill
It appears the next farm bill will be led by decisions made in the U.S. Senate. Nebraska Senator Mike Johanns points out – that’s very unusual. Typically the House writes the farm bill and the Senate may do some fine-tuning. Work is already progressing in the Senate as the Senate Ag Committee begins a series of farm bill hearings next Wednesday.
Love Me Tenderloin Contest Underway
The Pork Checkoff is celebrating February Heart Month with the Love Me Tenderloin contest on Facebook. Pork Checkoff Online Editorial Manager Cathy Lee Fredrickson says this is a fun contest:
“We’re giving away $50 worth of pork tenderloin a day, on our Facebook tab at www.facebook.com/pork be inspired. And all people have to do is ‘like’ us, and then enter in information. You only need to enter once, and every day we’ll be drawing a winner. So far, we’ve had over 3,500 entries.”
This Facebook contest continues through the end of February
CFTC Asked to Investigate HSUS
A recent Freedom of Information Act request revealed that since December 2011 more than 120 complaints have been filed with the Federal Trade Commission regarding the Humane Society of the United States. Now, the nonprofit Center for Consumer Freedom is calling on the Federal Trade Commission to open an investigation into the deceptive fundraising practices of HSUS.
Dozens of the complaints come from Americans who have given money to HSUS. HumaneWatch.org, a project for the Center contends that HSUS’s deceptive advertising helps fool the unsuspecting public into thinking that they are donating to animal shelters not an animal rights activist group.