Americans will never believe livestock producers care about animal welfare. Or that’s the message Paul Shapiro, Senior Director of Farm Animal Protection at the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), shared with food security advocates at the 2011 Food Summit in Chicago yesterday.
Shapiro addressed the topic by bringing up the common debate of tail docking in the dairy industry. He said that it is an industry-wide problem requiring attention. He said that tail docking does not lead to cleaner udders and increased milk production and cited several sources who agree docking the tails of dairy cows is not beneficial. "The science is overwhelming but the industry continues to engage in this practice."
He said that, similar to tail docking, the meat, dairy and egg industries need to realize that practices like gestation stalls and caged laying hens are out of step with mainstream American values of how animals should be treated. "This isn’t rocket science. It is common sense," he said. Continuing to raise livestock in a way that Americans will never believe is humane is "just not a good strategy."
Shapiro would like to see other segments of the livestock industry come to similar agreements like the United Egg Producers did with HSUS in May but does not believe that pork and beef producers will ever be on board.
Listen to this portion of Shapiro’s presentation and check back for more coverage.