Communicating with the public

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The livestock and veterinary industries have struggled to communicate to the public in an effective way about livestock production. While the industries are able to discuss scientific aspects of production, consumers often have a difficult time understanding the terminology.

At the AVMA/AAVMC Joint International Educational Symposium on Animal Welfare: Swimming with the Tide, Animal Welfare in Veterinary Medical Education and Research, Janice Swanson, PhD, Michigan State University, noted that, “When communication to the public is reduced to sound bites, it’s difficult for scientists to try to have an impact. They are working at a deficit.

“We can’t couch this discussion easily,” she said. “We need to try to package the message carefully and put into sound bites that people can digest. We need to always start with what the public is most concerned with. Scientists have a long way to go with dialoging more effectively. We must reduce it down to three or four messages, starting with where consumers are at and then working your way through it.”


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