December 10, 2008

Views on pets transfer to food animals

Wes Jamison spoke at the Nebraska Farm Bureau meeting this week. He has been studying animal welfare and the animal welfare/animal rights movement for years, and does not always say what livestock producers want to hear. Yet he is a supporter of the industry and wants it to be successful.

Jamison reports that it is clear attitudes toward food animals have fundamentally changed. We're a nation of pet lovers who see animals not as commodities but as companions.

A post-speech report is available form the Kearney Hub – click here. The Omaha World Herald also did a piece, which is here. Brownfield did an interview, which you can listen to here. Earlier this year he spoke to the Nebraska Ag Relations Council, which included an article on Jamison in its fall 2008 newsletter, which you can download here.

Here is a quote:

When people are willing to spend $7,000 so an aging dachshund can have back surgery, the message that changing livestock housing systems will add two cents to cost-per-pound doesn’t cut it.

And another:

What you don’t want to do is buy into the animal rightists' strategy of getting producers to accept small incremental changes in production practices. They’ll increase your costs inch by inch until you lose efficiencies and go out of business.

Jamison said he believes that livestock producers can win the debate over animal care, despite the success of Prop 2 in California. He said animal agriculture needs to let consumers know that it is okay to have pets, and that it is also okay to have food animals - with one animal as the center of their life and another as the center of their plate. He said we need to tell people that animal consumption is both good and right, and that it is nothing to be ashamed about.

Read the articles and listen to the interview. This is an important issue everyone in agriculture needs to grasp.

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