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Animal Agriculture report highlights advances

Posted Oct. 21, 2013

Report counters Center for Livable Future report on ‘industrial’ farming
The Animal Agriculture Alliance today released a report detailing the efforts and progress America’s livestock, poultry and egg producers have made over more than a decade in ensuring animal well-being, protecting the environment, using antibiotics responsibly and producing the world’s safest food.

Titled “Advances in Animal Agriculture; What the Center for a Livable Future, Pew Commission and Others Aren’t Telling You About Food Production,” the report will provide stark contrast to a report from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Center for a Livable Future, the organization that initiated “Meatless Mondays.” Its report, expected to be released tomorrow, 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.

“Many organizations, including the Pew Commission, have long criticized the animal agriculture community for not caring enough about their animals or environment or prioritizing public health,” said alliance President and CEO Kay Johnson Smith. “While there’s always more progress to be made, the entire animal agriculture community has worked hard and has achieved results. Those results should be shared.”

Information for the AAA report was provided by organizations representing beef, chicken, dairy, egg, pork and turkey farmers and ranchers and showcase specific accomplishments in five areas: animal care, responsible antibiotics use, food safety, environmental sustainability and industry research initiatives.

One highlight of the report includes the illness rate from E. coli dropping to less than one case in 100,000 people, meeting the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Healthy People 2010 goal. Additionally, in terms of sustainability, the United States is a model for sustainable livestock production, and less than 3 percent of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions are attributed to livestock production.

The report also explains how agriculture has adapted to the changing landscape, including embracing technology to improve animal well-being and food safety and enhancing productivity to feed a world population that’s expected to increase by 30 percent by 2050.

The alliance will be hosting a teleconference tomorrow (Oct. 22) from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. CDT, with various third-party experts to discuss the efforts presented in the alliance report. The presenters also will be prepared to answer questions about the Center for a Livable Future’s re-release of the Pew Commission’s 2008 report. Experts participating in the teleconference include:

• Dr. Richard Raymond, former under secretary, Food Safety Inspection Service, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
• Dr. Scott Hurd, former deputy under secretary, Food Safety, USDA
• Janeen Salak-Johnson, PhD, University of Illinois, associate professor of animal science
• Dr. John Glisson, DVM, MAM, PhD, retired department head of Population Health and former head of the Department of Avian Medicine, University of Georgia; vice president, U.S. Poultry & Egg Association
• Dr. Frank Mitloehner, professor and air quality Extension specialist, Department of Animal Science, University of California Davis

“The varied landscape of livestock and poultry production — farms of all shapes, sizes and production styles — is responsible for the abundance of choices we have at the grocery store and will also be responsible for feeding our growing population,” said Johnson Smith.

To register for the teleconference, please email Emily Meredith, Alliance communications director, at emeredith@animalagalliance.org.

The non-profit Animal Agriculture Alliance is a broad-based coalition of individual farmers and ranchers, producer organizations, veterinarians, scientists, 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.

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