The debate over modern food production is not going to end anytime soon, but agricultural organizations have become more proactive in telling their side of the story. This week, in anticipation of release of a report from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Center for a Livable Future, the Animal Agriculture Alliance released its own report on Monday, followed by a news conference with an expert panel on Tuesday.
The Center for a Livable Future is the group that brought you “Meatless Mondays.” Their report, titled “Industrial Food Animal Production in America: Examining the Impact of the Pew Commission’s Priority Recommendations,” became available on Tuesday. As expected, the report is highly critical of animal agriculture, calling for increased government regulation of antimicrobial use, animal welfare practices and nutrient management. “There has been an appalling lack of progress,” says Robert S. Lawrence, MD, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future. “The failure to act by the USDA and FDA, the lack of action or concern by the Congress, and continued intransigence of the animal agriculture industry have made all of our problems worse.”
The Animal Agriculture Alliance, however, was prepared with its own report titled “Advances in Animal Agriculture; What the Center for a Livable Future, Pew Commission and Others Aren’t Telling You About Food Production.” This report showcase specific accomplishments in five areas: animal care, responsible antibiotics use, food safety, environmental sustainability and industry research initiatives.
For example, the illness rate from E. coli has dropped to less than one case in 100,000 people, meeting the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Healthy People 2010 goal. Additionally, in terms of sustainability, the United States is a model for sustainable livestock production, and less than 3 percent of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions are attributed to livestock production.
The report also explains how agriculture has embraced embracing technology to improve animal well-being and food safety and enhancing productivity to feed a world population that’s expected to increase by 30 percent before 2050.
AAA followed up with a media teleconference on Tuesday featuring a distinguished list of third-party experts including:
- Richard Raymond,MD,former Under Secretary, Food Safety Inspection Service, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
- Scott Hurd, DVM, former Deputy Acting Under Secretary, Food Safety, USDA
- Janeen Salak-Johnson, PhD, University of Illinois, Associate Professor Animal Science
- John Glisson, DVM, MAM, PhD, Retired Department Head of Population Health and former Head of the Department of Avian Medicine, University of Georgia; Vice President, U.S. Poultry & Egg Association
- Frank Mitloehner, PhD, Professor and Air Quality Extension Specialist, Department of Animal Science, University of California Davis