Leaders from academia and the beef industry are announcing the formation of an independent advisory group to focus on beef cattle health and well-being.
The North American Food Animal Well-being Commission for Beef (NAFAWC-Beef)—which includes world-renowned experts in animal well-being—will advocate for increased research funding for animal well-being, facilitate the communication of research results in a more timely manner, advance best management practices in cattle health and welfare, and serve as an unbiased, science- and production- based group to address concerns about animal well-being.
Dan Thomson, Jones professor of production medicine and epidemiology at Kansas State University, and Joseph Stookey, professor of applied ethology, Western College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Saskatchewan, will serve as commission co-chairs.
"Animal well-being issues extend beyond the agricultural community,” says Thomson. "People across the country are looking for more information on animal care and handling, and we're eager to share our story with them. This new partnership brings an impressive wealth of experience and expertise to the table to help bolster ongoing research and education in the area of cattle care.”
NAFAWC-Beef will help direct research efforts, field studies and assessment tools for the North American beef industry in relation to beef cattle well-being in order to provide science-based recommendations for cattle management practices.
The commission's public outreach efforts will focus on a number of groups across all levels of the beef chain, including: farming and ranching organizations, consumer groups, beef harvesting companies, veterinary groups, food retail and restaurant groups, and animal welfare groups.
The 21 inaugural members were selected for their expertise in animal care and handling. Members are as follows:
- Dr. Barry Dunn - Texas A & M University
- Dr. Bob Smith – Oklahoma State University
- Dr. Carolyn Stull - University of California at Davis
- Dr. Dan Thomson – Kansas State University
- Dr. Dave Sjeklocha – Academy of Veterinary Consultants, Chair of Beef Cattle Health and Well-Being
- Dr. Dee Griffin – University of Nebraska
- Dr. Frank Mitloehner – University of California at Davis
- Dr. Gatz Riddell - AABP, Executive Director
- Dr. Guy Loneragan – West Texas A&M University
- Dr. Hans Coetzee – Kansas State University
- Dr. Jan Shearer – Iowa State University
- Dr. Janice Swanson – Michigan State University
- Marie Belew Wheatly - American Humane Association
- Dr. Ron Gill – Texas A&M University
- Dr. Temple Grandin – Colorado State University
- Dr. Tom Noffsinger – Beef Cattle Handling Expert - Benkelman, NE
- Dr. Joseph Stookey – University of Saskatchewan, Western Veterinary College
- Dr. Jeff Rushen – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
- Susan Church – Alberta Farm Animal Council
- Dr. Karen Schwartzkopfh-Gesnswein – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
- Jennifer Woods – Livestock Handling Expert – Blackie, AB Canada
"The commission will provide a wonderful opportunity to improve the welfare of beef cattle,” says Dr. Temple Grandin, animal science professor at Colorado State University and NAFAWC-Beef member.
Several international advisory experts—including Stella Maris Huertas, DMTV, MSc. of Uruguay and Donald M. Broom, professor of animal welfare, University of Cambridge, U.K—will provide the commission with additional perspective and enhance cooperation on animal welfare issues at the global level. Other international partners are expected to be added in the coming months.
Ad hoc members of the commission include: Dr. Elizabeth Parker, National Cattlemen's Beef Association (U.S.); Dr. Jim Sartwelle, American Farm Bureau Federation (U.S.); Dr. Tom Field, National Cattlemen's Beef Association (U.S.); Ryder Lee, Canadian Cattlemen's Association (Canada); Bryan Walton, National Cattle Feeders Association (Canada); Dr. Mike Siemens, Cargill Animal Protein; and Dr Juan Ramon Gonzalez, Confederación Nacional De Organizaciones Ganaderas (Mexico).