The Animal Agriculture Alliance, in collaboration with the National Chicken Council, U.S. Poultry & Egg Association, National Turkey Federation, United Egg Producers, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Pork Board, National Pork Producers Council, and National Milk Producers Federation, issued a report this week 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 highlights recent accomplishments sustained by the specific poultry and livestock production sectors and is in stark contrast to a five-year update by the Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Production, which was issued on Tuesday by the Center for a Livable Future.

Each group provided information for the report and was given the opportunity to emphasize specific accomplishments in five areas: animal care, responsible antibiotics use, food safety, environmental sustainability and industry research initiatives. The report highlights the many, continuous improvements made by the poultry and livestock industry, explains how agriculture has adapted to the changing landscape, including embracing technology to improve animal well-being and food safety, and discusses modern agriculture and the need to feed 9.1 billion people by 2050.

A media teleconference was held on Tuesday with various third-party experts to discuss the information presented in the report. The presenters also answered questions about the Center for a Livable Future’s re-release of the Pew Commission’s 2008 report. Experts participating in the teleconference included:

  • Dr. Richard Raymond, former Under Secretary, Food Safety Inspection Service, USDA
  • Dr. Scott Hurd, former Deputy Acting Under Secretary, Food Safety, USDA
  • Janeen Salak-Johnson, PhD, University of Illinois, Associate Professor Animal Science
  • Dr. 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
  • Dr. Frank Mitloehner, Professor and Air Quality Extension Specialist, Department of Animal Science, University of California Davis
  • Dr. Guy Loneragan, PhD, Department of Animal Sciences, Texas Tech University

“We are providing the safest and most affordable food supply in the world,” said former USDA Under Secretary Dr. Richard Raymond. “The words—like antibiotic resistance—that groups like the Pew Commission and others toss around are meant to inflame the American public and dis-inform them.”

When asked about antibiotic resistance caused by livestock production, the experts noted that the Food and Drug Administration is taking action currently to ensure that antibiotics continue to be used responsibly on farms. “Congress is not the right tool to make policies based on science; they make policies based on politics,” said Raymond.

“The FDA has done a good job of maintaining animal health but being aware of human health,” said Dr. John Glisson. “You have to admire how they have taken pressure from various groups and made the correct changes.”

The experts also strongly refuted activists’ claims that 80 percent of all antibiotics in the United States are given to farm animals. “If you want to have a discussion about antibiotics, then let’s narrow it down to the 18 percent where there’s cross-over between human and animal medicine” said Raymond.

A full copy of the report is available here.