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Animal Welfare: The View from Your Window

July 25, 2014
By: Wyatt Bechtel, Dairy Today google + 
Feedtruck Cowboy
What is your view on animal welfare? It all may depend on where your “window” is.  
 
 

What is your view on animal welfare? It all may depend on where your "window" is.

Your view on animal welfare depends on what you see when you look out your window, says a cattle producer who also works in academia.

Dave Daley, interim dean of the College of Agriculture at Chico State University in California, gave an outline on "How to Lose the Argument on Animal Welfare" at the 4th International Symposium on Beef Cattle Welfare hosted by Iowa State.

In addition to his teaching duties, Daley is a 5th generation California cattlemen and his family has been operating on the same land since 1880. "That’s my window," Daley says of the 100,000 acres of remote, forested high country he grazes his cattle on during the summer. Daley notes that he could spend a whole day up there and only see five head.

This gives Daley a very different perspective on animal welfare when compared to producers who can interact with their animals daily.

However, it is also about understanding those people who may not support modern agriculture or animal livestock production. "If someone does disagree with you it doesn’t mean they’re stupid or evil, it just means they are looking through a different window than you," Daley adds.

As a professor of animal science, Daley relies on and believes in data, but scientific findings won’t win the court of public opinion.

"The public doesn’t trust us. Just saying we need more research won’t work," Daley says. "It won’t change the public’s perception. They want trust, not science. They want to know that we are doing things right."

During his presentation Daley outlined 12 problems that he sees with the current state of agriculture’s point of view towards animal welfare:

  1. Assuming science will give us all the answers. Science doesn't solve ethical questions.
  2. Using economics as justification for animal welfare practices.
  3. Defending all agricultural practices. Defend those practices that are defensible. You lose credibility by trying to defend all practices.
  4. We can do better at animal welfare.
  5. Attacking everyone who disagrees (i.e. PETA, HSUS, vegans, etc.).
  6. Not being willing to listen.
  7. Assuming the lunatic fringe is the general public.
  8. Being reactive instead of proactive.
  9. Assuming that because someone disagrees with you they are stupid, evil or both.
  10. Not working hard enough to build coalitions that include the public.
  11. Criticizing/mocking non-conventional production systems. There is room for other methods of production, so let the market determine success or failure.
  12. Trying to lead a parade without seeing if anyone is following.

 

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COMMENTS (4 Comments)

Randy Janssen - TX
You have got to wonder about the motives of this writer. A lot of agri apologist for the animal rights fanatics are on their payroll. Since he works for a university, you might want to check where his funding comes from. He criticizes feed lot cattle, but he fails to mention that they are cheaper to produce and that grain fed cattle taste better. What this part time cattleman seems to be doing is attacking his competition while proclaiming some sort of Kumbaya relationship with the AR fanatics. He is also supporting their anti meat agenda by promoting ranching practices that raise prices and reduces taste. The HSUA, PETA and the ASPCA are urban based vegan orients fanatics that want to change the eating habits of this country.
6:45 AM Jul 26th
 
Randy Janssen - TX
You got to wonder about the motives of this writer. A lot of agri apologist for animals rights are on the AR payroll. Since he works for a university, you might want to see how he gets his money. He criticizes feed lot cattle, but he fails to mention that grain feed cattle taste better and are cheaper to produce. What this part time cattleman seems to be doing is attacking his competitors in the guise of some sort of kumbaya relationship with the AR fanatics. He is also supporting their agenda of reducing meat consumption by raising prices and reducing taste. The fact is HSUS, PETA and the ASPCA are urban based vegan oriented fanatics that want to change the eating habits of this country.
6:38 AM Jul 26th
 
Randy Janssen - TX
You got to wonder about the motives of this writer. A lot of agri apologist for animals rights are on the AR payroll. Since he works for a university, you might want to see how he gets his money. He criticizes feed lot cattle, but he fails to mention that grain feed cattle taste better and are cheaper to produce. What this part time cattleman seems to be doing is attacking his competitors in the guise of some sort of kumbaya relationship with the AR fanatics. He is also supporting their agenda of reducing meat consumption by raising prices and reducing taste. The fact is HSUS, PETA and the ASPCA are urban based vegan oriented fanatics that want to change the eating habits of this country.
6:37 AM Jul 26th
 
Randy Janssen - TX
You got to wonder about the motives of this writer. A lot of agri apologist for animals rights are on the AR payroll. Since he works for a university, you might want to see how he gets his money. He criticizes feed lot cattle, but he fails to mention that grain feed cattle taste better and are cheaper to produce. What this part time cattleman seems to be doing is attacking his competitors in the guise of some sort of kumbaya relationship with the AR fanatics. He is also supporting their agenda of reducing meat consumption by raising prices and reducing taste. The fact is HSUS, PETA and the ASPCA are urban based vegan oriented fanatics that want to change the eating habits of this country.
6:37 AM Jul 26th
 



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