OSU's Janeen Salak-Johnson Warns Beef Producers of the Coming Scrutiny from Animal Welfare ActivistsMon, 16 Sep 2019 11:08:21 CDT
Dr. Janeen Salak-Johnson currently serves as part of the Oklahoma State University Animal Science faculty as the Temple Grandin Professorship in Animal Behavior and Well-being. She believes up until now, the beef industry has managed to stay off the radar for the most part when it comes to animal wellbeing or animal welfare issues. But, in a recent interview with Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays, she asserted that the day is coming when the beef industry will fall under the same scrutiny as other species and argues that stakeholders need to proactively prepare for this eventuality.
“I think because they are raising cattle for the most part out on the pasture that we have made the assumption that they really aren’t on the radar screen - but it’s coming,” she said. “I think all species are going to be under scrutiny by the activists and I think what producers think is important versus what consumers want - those things aren’t aligned right now.”
Citing the most recent National Beef Quality Audit report, Salak-Johnson says today’s consumers demand to know where their food is coming from and how it is raised and produced. Furthermore, they want to know that livestock for food production are raised with a quality of life and are treated with a high-level of welfare. The challenge here, she contends, is not necessarily with the consumers but rather the producers who ignore the changing sentiment among their consumer base. She argues that if producers continue to ignore consumer demands and attempt to remain independent and out-of-sight/out-of-mind, then they will eventually become subject to the mandate of outsiders telling them how to run their operations.
“We have to start accepting that change has to come and there has to be more accountability,” she said. “They have the opportunity to be proactive and be a part of the conversation. But, if they continue to want to just be independent and stay off the radar, they’re going to end up having someone else telling them how to raise their animals.”
Listen to Salak-Johnson and Hays discuss why the beef industry needs to be proactive in addressing consumers’ interest in animal welfare, on today’s Beef Buzz.
The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Network and is a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR below for today's show and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.
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