Animal agriculture groups counter criticisms in new report

By Agri-Pulse staff

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON, Oct. 21, 2013 - The Animal Agriculture Alliance (AAA) issued a report today to counter an anticipated report this week critical of the agriculture industry from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health's Center for a Livable Future.

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The Johns Hopkins report, expected to be released Oct. 22, is an update of a report issued in 2008 by the Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production that was highly critical of modern food-animal production.

Titled “Advances in Animal Agriculture; What the Center for a Livable Future, Pew Commission and Others Aren't Telling You About Food Production,” the Animal Agriculture Alliance report provides a stark contrast to the Pew Commission report, which called for the phasing out of nontherapeutic antibiotic use and increasing regulations for animal production facilities.

USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) Former Under Secretary Richard Raymond provided a foreword for the AAA report.

“While there are some who will continually question and criticize modern agriculture's practices, I suspect they have never had to put a hungry child to bed and that they have the resources to shop the niche markets,” Raymond writes. “Yes, we can and should offer choices to those who are able and want to pay more for ‘raised without antibiotics,' ‘hormone free,' ‘all natural,' etc., but those options will not feed the 14 million Americans who go to bed every night with an empty stomach.”

The AAA report includes information provided by organizations representing beef, chicken, dairy, egg, pork and turkey farmers and ranchers and emphasized positive aspects in five areas: animal care, responsible antibiotics use, food safety, environmental sustainability and industry research initiatives.

National Pork Producers Council President Randy Spronk, a pork producer from Edgerton, Minn., said the AAA report documents what the industry achieved over decades to provide good animal care, be good stewards of the environment and produce safe food.

“And it serves as a counter to the misinformation about modern food-animal production offered by groups that would have farmers and ranchers revert to a system that would be bad for animals, the environment and consumes.” Spronk said.

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