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Experts Highlight Centre for Livable Future’s Inaction

23 October 2013

US - The Animal Agriculture Alliance, along with several livestock and poultry producers and organisations, hosted a teleconference with various third-party experts to discuss the industry improvements presented in the Alliance report "Advances in Animal Agriculture; What the Center for a Livable Future, Pew Commission and Others Aren’t Telling You About Food Production."

Third-party experts included:

  • Dr Richard Raymond, former Under Secretary, Food Safety Inspection Service, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
  • Dr Scott Hurd, former Deputy Acting Under Secretary, Food Safety, USDA
  • Dr Janeen Salak-Johnson, PhD, University of Illinois, Associate Professor 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

Experts discussed the progress made by the animal agriculture industry in the areas of responsible use of antibiotics, environmental sustainability, and animal well-being, and they vehemently disagreed with the former Pew Commissioners’ assessment of the animal agriculture industry.

"We are providing the safest and most affordable food supply in the world," said former USDA Under Secretary Dr Richard Raymond. "The words—like antibiotic resistance—that groups like the Pew Commission and others toss around are meant to inflame the American public and dis-inform them."

When asked about antibiotic resistance caused by livestock production, experts noted that the Food and Drug Administration is taking action currently to ensure that antibiotics continue to be used responsibly on farms.

"Congress is not the right tool to make policies based on science; they make policies based on politics," said Dr Raymond.

"The FDA has done good job of maintaining animal health but being aware of human health," said Dr John Glisson. "You have to admire how they have taken pressure from various groups and made the correct changes."

The experts also strongly refuted activists’ claims that 80 per cent of all antibiotics in the U.S. are given to farm animals.

"If you want to have a discussion about antibiotics, then let’s narrow it down the 18% where there’s cross-over between human and animal medicine," said Dr Raymond.

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

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