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Food Animal

Conference Proceedings and Deliberations

USDA and Purdue University
Office of Agricultural Research Programs
West Lafayette, Indiana

NOTICE: All Papers are in Portable Document Format (PDF). (NOTE: This requires Acrobat Reader.)

Additional copies of Food Animal Well-Being 1993 -Conference Proceedings and Deliberations are available for $2.00 (including shipping). To order, send check or money order to, or for permission to reprint, contact: Purdue University Office of Agricultural Research Programs 1140 Agricultural Administration Building Purdue University West Lafayette IN 47907-1140.

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The scope of the Food Animal Well-Being Conference and Workshop was confined to topics that might aid in assuring an appropriate climate for food animal agriculture to prosper, retaining economic viability without sacrificing social acceptability. Research and educational programs of the scientific community, which are inextricably linked to animal agriculture, were the primary thrust of the conference agenda. The conference also attempted to build on the research priorities established at FAIR '95.

Farmers have a history and tradition of good care and husbandry of their herds and flocks. Current public policy issues related to animal well-being/welfare trace to origins in Victorian England and the emergence of the antivivisection movement during the 19th century. At the beginning of the 20th century, the humane movement developed and spread to the United States, with primary concerns focused on the use of animals in medical science. A more recent development in the U.S. has been the emergence of an animal rights movement which advocates legislation restricting most animal uses, including their use for food and fiber production. Because of the current diversity among animal advocates, the animal well-being/welfare issues being raised in recent public debates are complex and have combined scientific, legal, regulatory, ethical, and economic ramifications. Increasing concerns have been expressed by animal activists and other segments of the public regarding the ethics of animal usage for human purposes, including research and food production; the humaneness of modern production practices and systems; the effect of large confinement operations on animal health and the environment; and the interrelationships between biological efficiency and modern monocultural farming operations. The food animal producers and industries, scientific community, governmental agencies, and consumers of animal products are major stakeholders in a successful resolution of the public issues advanced by animal activists.

The present is a prologue to the future. Bold actions by the stakeholders are necessary to ensure a viable animal agriculture; a safe, stable supply of quality animal products; and the proper stewardship of farm animals in the future. Numerous seminars, conferences, and workshops have addressed animal well-being/welfare as a public concern, but most meetings have focused on laboratory animals used in biomedical experimentation. Fewer conferences have dealt with the well-being of food animals in agricultural research and/or production agriculture. None have fully addressed in a deliberative fashion the broad interrelationships among and appropriate roles for the scientific community, USDA and other governmental agencies, producer and industry organizations, and animal protection advocates in resolving public concerns related to well-being and the humane care and use of farm animal species.

The conference whose proceedings and deliberations are presented here was jointly planned and hosted by Purdue University and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The uniqueness of this conference was the breadth of expertise and experience represented by its participants and the breadth of its commitment to an open forum including all aspects of existing food animal well-being issues. It encouraged the expression of divergent points of view with the purpose of creating a better understanding among the participants and of fostering mutual respect. Participants were targeted by invitation to represent important scientific disciplines and other major stakeholders. This provided for the inclusion of broad-based expertise and of knowledgeable but diverse viewpoints on food animal well-being in the workgroup deliberations.

The overall objectives of the conference may be summarized as follows.

The workgroups were a significant and integral part of this conference. Their sessions were structured as open forums in which participants could speak, listen, learn, and seek consensus. Facilitators and co-chairs gave leadership to the discussions and deliberations of the participants in an effort to identify issues; to delineate alternative approaches, solutions, or actions; and to suggest the potential impact and feasibility of each alternative. Workgroup sessions were organized and focused in four areas with specific purposes as outlined below. Workgroup A: Researchable Problems and Priorities. To develop research priorities related to societal interests and the production needs of food animal agriculture. The conference attempted to clarify and refine specific research needs and their priorities under the broad goals established at FAIR '95. It is the hope of the organizers of this conference that the dialogue stimulated through the above sessions and these proceedings and deliberations will lead to improved communications and cooperation among the stakeholders. Policies and programs developed with open forums and input from all interested stakeholders will have enhanced credibility with and achieve greater acceptance by the general public. Interfacing future programs of the animal producer/industry organizations with the scientific community will be especially crucial.

The first major section of these proceedings presents the papers delivered at the conference. (To facilitate reading of some of the longer papers, the editor has added headings and subheadings.) The second presents summaries of the workgroup deliberations. The suggestions and recommendations of the workgroups represent the collective wisdom of those attending the conference; an attempt was made to include representation, but not necessarily balance, of all stakeholders. Scientists were the predominant group participating because of the technical aspects of most animal well-being issues. We hope that these proceedings will prove to be a valuable source of information for the reader and that the reader will gain insight into the opportunities and challenges involved in addressing well-being issues related to food animals.

Co-Chairs, Food Animal Well-Being Conference and Workshop Bill Baumgardt Director of Agricultural Research Programs Purdue University H. Glenn Gray Principal Reproduction Physiologist Plant & Animal Science, USDA/CSRS

Presented Papers

Animal Production and the New Social Ethic for Animals by Bernard E. Rollin

Animal Well-Being Research Priorities: FAIR 95 and Some Personal Observations by Joy A. Mench

Animal Well-Being: Some Key Philosophical, Ethical, Political, and Public Issues Affecting Food Animal Agriculture by Andrew N. Rowan

Assessing Animal Well-Being: Common Sense, Uncommon Science by David Fraser

Variations in U.S. Animal Production Systems: Current Trends and Their Impacts on Animal Well-Being and the Economics of Production by Stanley E. Curtis

The International (European) Perspective on the Impacts of the Animal Welfare Movement on Food Animal Production Systems by Gerhard Baumgartner

Animal Welfare--Politics or Facts? by James R. Moseley

Opportunities for Science and Technology to Improve Production Systems to Assure Animal Well-Being and Economic Viability by Paul B. Siegel

Future Impact of New Science and Emerging Technologies on Animal Well-Being by W. R. Gomes

Workgroup Deliberations

Researchable Problems and Priorities by Co-Chairs: Gary Moberg and Joy A. Mench

Public Issues and Concerns by Co-Chairs: Janice C. Swanson and Paul B. Thompson

Implications for Guidelines and Regulations by Co-Chairs: Bonnie Buntain and Dale Schwindaman

Implications for Production Agriculture and Agribusiness by Co-Chairs: Anne Banville and Richard Reynells

Overview and Concluding Remarks by H. Glenn Gray

List of Participants

Additional copies of Food Animal Well-Being 1993 -Conference Proceedings and Deliberations are available for $2.00 (including shipping). To order, send check or money order to, or for permission to reprint, contact: Purdue University Office of Agricultural Research Programs 1140 Agricultural Administration Building Purdue University West Lafayette IN 47907-1140.

This site last updated: 15 May 1997

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