Friday, May 21, 2010

Making The Best Better

I was excited that the International Symposium on Beef Cattle Welfare was held in Manhattan this week. It's not everyday you have an international conference on beef cattle issues in your backyard (figuratively).

It was great to see cattle producers working to make cattle welfare practices even better. The highlight for me was listening to Dr. Temple Grandin share her experiences and research, as well as the changes she has witnessed in recent years as part of her latest book and HBO movie tour.

Dr. Grandin has used her life experience with autism to revolutionize the way we once viewed cattle behavior and cattle handling systems. I had the opportunity to take a short course with her while in graduate school and loved that her straight-forward teaching style and passion for her subject.

In her recent travels to major cities across the country she has noted a changing tide in public concern and information about how our food is produced. She warned us that cattle producers were "not winning the communications battle."

One of my favorite parts of her opening speech was a remark about the handling of cattle within packing facilities. Grandin cited her work over many years in auditing animal harvesting facilities. What she reiterated though to the group was that "whether it's organic, natural, humane, or Mc Donald's it's all held to the same standard," in an animal welfare audit.
No matter what type of beef you choose, it's important to know that it was handled to minimize stress and prevent abuse. Those who are cruel to animals may rarely appear on the evening news, but it is my belief that these people are few and far between. This conference was a testament to the majority of cattle producers who are working to produce a safe, wholesome, and humane product. Cattle producers work tirelessly to ensure the welfare of animals, but are always looking for ways "to make the best better."

No comments:

Post a Comment