Concerns with Animal Production Mandates Explained at Briefing
Congressional staff recently learned about multiple voluntary, producer-led animal care programs during a briefing hosted by Nebraska Representative Adrian Smith and Connecticut Representative Joe Courtney. Nearly 100 people were educated about the deliberate emphasis farmers and ranchers place on caring for the health and well-being of their animals - and also heard the concerns farmers and ranchers have with legislation that would mandate strict on-farm production practices. According to Representative Smith - public policy should be driven by sound science. He says that is critical to the continued success of agriculture - and in turn - the long-term safety and security of the nation's food supply.
National Cattlemen's Beef Association President J.D. Alexander joined a panel to explain how producers care for their livestock and poultry. Each speaker raised concern with H.R. 3798 - legislation that would codify an agreement between the Humane Society of the United States and the United Egg Producers to seek federally mandated production practices for the egg industry. Alexander - a Nebraska beef producer - said a one-size-fits-all approach to animal agriculture won't work because no two farms or ranches are the same. He said his biggest concern with the legislation is that outside groups with no knowledge of the industry will be dictating his livelihood and potentially compromising the welfare of his livestock.
According to Alexander - groups like NCBA are not alone in their opposition to mandated production practices. He noted even the World Organization of Animal Health has acknowledged that mandated practices aren't in the best interest of promoting true animal welfare. Instead - Alexander says voluntary, producer-led programs like Beef Quality Assurance offer a better approach. He says BQA works because it was created by producers who worked with animal health and well-being experts to develop science-based guidelines.
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