Monday, April 23, 2018

Farm Animal Welfare--New Report Tackles Challenging Issues

A major emerging challenge in the world of agriculture is the continuous need to meet animal protein demands while simultaneously protecting animal welfare and developing broadly sustainable production systems.The newest CAST publication provides information and insights about this important topic. The full task force report--Scientific, Ethical, and Economic Aspects of Farm Animal Welfare--is available here, and the shorter companion piece--the Ag quickCAST--is available here.

Led by Task Force Cochairs Candace Croney, Joy Mench, and William Muir, the authors recognize this issue is multifaceted and involves consideration of not only the biology and psychology of animals, but also people’s ethical concerns. Addressing the scientific aspects of animal welfare is challenging and complicated. This paper demonstrates the need for strategic engagement related to ethical concerns when communicating with a wide range of interested stakeholders—while also remembering the importance of keeping differing perceptions and levels of knowledge in consideration.

This task force report addresses the issue by examining these key topics:
  • the current issues facing agricultural animal production
  • insights into the origins of current welfare concerns
  • major scientific advances that have occurred since the 1997 CAST Task Force Report 
  • outstanding challenges and priority areas for future research, coordination, and outreach relative to agricultural animal welfare 

Dr. Candace Croney--Director of Purdue University's Center for Animal Welfare Science and Professor of Animal Behavior and Well-being--presented the highlights of this publication on April 23, 2018, during a gathering in Washington, D.C., cohosted by CAST, the Animal Agriculture Alliance, and the American Farm Bureau Federation.

Croney explained key findings from the paper and examined conflicting values and norms in our society related to the use of animals--with a focus on how both the science and ethics of animal welfare are critical to understanding and reconciling differing perspectives about animal care and use.

The link to the full presentation can be found here.

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