NIAA supports animal welfare, not activists’ “humane education”

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Domesticated animals deserve respect and care. That’s animal welfare—and a priority of the National Institute for Animal Agriculture (NIAA), an organization comprised of livestock, equine, poultry and aquaculture producers, producer organizations, veterinarians, extension personnel, academicians, scientists, Federal and state regulatory agencies and allied industry.

Jim Fraley, Livestock Program Director for Illinois Farm Bureau and co-chair of NIAA’s Animal Care Council, stresses that animal welfare and animal rights, however, are not the same. Significant discussion was devoted to this topic during NIAA’s annual conference in Louisville, Ky., April 15-17. In the end, NIAA’s membership agreed on two key items:

  1. NIAA believes in animal welfare and does not believe in animal rights; and
  2. Today’s children and future generations should understand the importance of animal welfare and not confuse animal welfare with animal rights.

“We believe in, and support, animal welfare as these practices focus on the prevention of suffering and cruelty to animals,” Fraley explains. “NIAA does not believe in animal rights as the animal rights philosophy advocates an end to all ‘human use of animals.’

“NIAA members believe human societies require and accept the use of animals as sources of food and fiber, as well as for scientific research, sport, companionship, entertainment and clothing. It is the obligation of animal caretakers to provide the best care possible of animals throughout their lifetime, and NIAA’s membership takes this obligation very seriously.”

During its annual conference, NIAA members adopted a position that public schools should not stir confusion regarding the difference between animal welfare and animal rights by allowing extremist animal rights groups to present their views which can be erroneously perceived as facts.

Concern about what public schools should or should not allow regarding animal welfare and animal rights education arose when NIAA members learned about a California school system that allowed a movie involving animals to be shown and followed up the movie with a discussion focusing on how cruel it is to eat fish.

“Those of us in animal agriculture do not believe that extremist animal rights groups should be allowed to dictate information children are exposed to—or will be exposed to—at our public schools regarding animal welfare,” Fraley states. “Animal rights groups led by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), PETA and the Institute of Humane Education (IHE) do not reflect balanced views and are campaigning across the United States to implement what they refer to as ‘humane education,’ a program of extreme ideological material they aspire to teach in our school systems.

“They have been successful in a few cities, but up to now have not been successful at the state or federal levels, despite repeated efforts to introduce legislation.”

Fraley emphasizes that emotional, subliminal vegan messages replacing animal care based on accepted, proven animal husbandry practices is “not education, but indoctrination.”

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TX  |  April, 19, 2013 at 05:20 PM

Then allow the public into your CAFOs and slaughterhouses, oppose Ag-gag bills, and be transparent. If you dispute PETA's facts, then allow the public to see what occurs on factory farms first hand. If you believe that allowing children to see the way animals are treated will result in less people buying your products, then perhaps it is time to re-evaluate your business model.

Ohio  |  April, 20, 2013 at 10:24 AM

Everyone is welcome anytime at my place. When can I expect you? You do not even need an appointment, just show up.

kansas  |  April, 22, 2013 at 08:36 AM

Jess - From TX, really? Perhaps Austin? Jess is obviously a victim of the "not education, but indoctrination" mentioned in this report. If Jess actually knew anyone - anyone - with a commercial farm ("factory" or otherwise) she would not be so aggressively, gratingly accusatorial. The, "for the children" is an especially tiresome meme, and is especially nasty, ignorant and biased. It is obvious that she is pre-judging things she personally knows nothing of, based on propaganda from PETA, radical vegan extremists... they are NOT animal rightists, because it is a proven fact that they kill thousands of pets they take in under the false pretense of providing shelter and adotption. Thank you Dan, for volunteering to show Jess what we really do. Hopefully she will avail herself of the opportunity to gather some first-hand facts before trolling here again. We can always hope.

SD  |  April, 22, 2013 at 11:14 AM

Information without education and knowledge of processes and procedures would make a 'tour' of "slaughterhouses" by children, even some adults, a negative experience. Certainly anyone should know that animals do die in the process of turning them into meat. Someone with a predetermination that eating meat is bad or even simply unnecessary will most likely use an experience seeing that happen in their efforts to promote their anti-meat agenda. Where, exactly are these "factory farms" we hear commented upon? FAMILIES currently OWN, and most of them are managed and by the FAMILIES who do the work. That is true of at least 95 to 98% of farms and ranches in the USA today. That really doesn't leave many that could qualify as factories, does it? Further, Earth Day being celebrated recently, if farmers and ranchers do not take great care of the environment we live in, we do not make a living for long! We also are the first to suffer any possible ill effects personally if we do not follow rules of good environmental stewardship. For the record, more chemicals are used on golf courses and city parks and other recreation areas than on farms.

TX  |  April, 26, 2013 at 03:39 PM

Great! I'm sure you won't mind if I bring my video camera to show the footage to children.

pa  |  April, 28, 2013 at 06:46 AM

Dan, I used to welcome the public and strangers to my dairy farm. Now I am very careful who I welcome. Not because of concern for showing the public how we care for and manage our herd and the natural resources on the farm, but because regardless of the commitment and ability we have to provide excellent care, there are those with an agenda who either refuse or are unable to recognize the difference between animal rights and welfare and what good animal husbandry practices really are. They are looking for ways to exploit their agenda and many are willing to stage, falsify, lie, participate in abuse and "doctor" video and photos. Instead of taking video of everyday, normal acceptable care animals receive, they will video the one dead calf that was stillborn and insinuate it was abused...or the day the skidloader broke down or waterer overflowed and the scrape alleys were not scraped clean ...or the down cow, which all dairies have had to deal with, insinuating a lack of care or compassion. They can make a good producer look bad with selected video and insinuation and given the chance-they will. I do not condone abuse - but an uneducated, inexperience or indoctrinated person could believe abuse exists where it does not. Mercy for Animals activists that have worked on farms for over a year to get 5-10 min. of video clips or those witnessing abuse by workers for months and not reporting it to owners should be completely discredited and legal consequences. As an owner, I would be as upset at someone not informing me of an abusive employee as I would be of the abuse - it is inexcusable! Jess, there should be laws to prevent these situations and protect farmers from "The Agenda" as well as animal welfare laws.

Bea Elliott    
Florida  |  June, 02, 2013 at 03:37 PM

Speaking of children and what they know about compassion and the kind treatment of animals - Here's a young boy that settles any doubts that we're meant to be kind: You may attempt to ban humane education in schools - But you will never cast it out from the hearts of children and awake adults. ;)

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