False statements and emotional untruths regarding livestock production are winning the hearts and minds of the "typical" American consumer. Next spring, University of Illinois animal science freshmen will learn about these fundamental societal issues that are impacting the care and use of production animals in a new course titled "Contemporary Animal Issues."
University of Illinois associate professor in animal sciences Janeen Salak-Johnson will explore a new and increasingly important side of those sciences, including such topics as animal well-being, animal-environment interactions, domestication of animals and contributions to human welfare, biotechnology, food safety, and societal and economic impacts of animal production.
"In the United States, animal agriculture has become a small island surrounded by an urban sea," Salak-Johnson says. "We need to teach our students how to reclaim the legitimacy of animal agriculture by leading with moral arguments based on science."
She believes science, along with ethics and experience, should drive the changes that animal agriculture will make in the future.
"Consumers want to know where their food comes from, that it is safe and, ultimately, affordable," Salak-Johnson adds. "We need to show them that our production practices are humane and based on science. Our students need to be exposed to the issues now so they are prepared when they enter the real world."
Source: University of Illinois