TCFA's Wilson Addresses Leading Animal Welfare Meeting
April 6, 2005 - The animal welfare discussion is important and confusing. But, farmers, ranchers and other food chain stakeholders who ignore it are taking a huge risk.
''Cattle feeders in Texas have proactively moved on animal welfare issues,'' explained Ross Wilson, Vice President of the Texas Cattle Feeders Association (TCFA), at the Animal Agriculture Alliance's Fourth Annual Stakeholders Summit in Arlington, Virginia, on March 22. Wilson indicated that nearly 80% of TCFA members have signed on to the association's Beef Safety and Quality Assurance Program (BQSA), which incorporates guidelines for the care and handling of feedyard cattle.
Wilson noted that Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico feedyards, the association has developed guidelines on issues including training and education, feeding, disease prevention practices, identification and shelter and housing systems. The program addresses cattle handling, sorting, loading and transport, appropriate euthanasia and heat stress procedures. ''The program also requires a yearly audit conducted by a veterinarian or nutritionist,'' Wilson detailed to an international cross-industry audience that included representatives from across animal agriculture.
The Fourth Annual Stakeholders Summit was held March 21-23, 2005 at the Marriott Crystal City in Arlington, Virginia. It included over 135 high level representatives of animal agriculture from around the globe including many representatives of the beef industry, including Karen Batra, Director of Public Affairs for National Cattlemen's Beef Association, Robert Smith, DVM, Co-owner of Cow Doc Cattle Company and Tim O'Byrne, President of Calico Beef Consulting Company.
Dennis Treacy, Vice President of Environmental, Community and Government Affairs for Smithfield Foods, one of the largest beef and pork processors in the world, was the meeting's keynote speaker. Treacy urged all stakeholders in the food production chain-producers, ranchers, processors, restaurants and food retailers - to work together on animal welfare. He also encouraged everyone in the food chain to talk to each other, generate trust with consumers and focus on solving problems.
TCFA supports the Alliances efforts. The Animal Agriculture Alliance is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. The Alliance's mission is to communicate the important role of animal agriculture to our nation's economy, productivity, vitality, security and that animal well-being is central to producing safe, high-quality, affordable food and other products essential to our daily lives. TCFA encourages its members to learn more about the Alliance by visiting its website at www.animalagalliance.org or by calling Kay Johnson, Executive Vice-President, at (703) 562-5160.
Note to all press: For more information on, photos of, or proceedings from the Stakeholders Summit, please contact Philip Lobo at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone (703) 562-5160.