Thank you all for the feedback on Friday’s post. Animal scientist Gary Snowder e-mailed me a particularly interesting suggestion for how to change public perception of animal ag. He’s given me permission to share it on the BULLetin.
“In response to your query ‘Any suggestions for ways ASAS members can reach the public? I’d love to hear them.’ I cannot offer a venue for reaching the public but do wish to suggest an alternative approach for reaching the public.
First, consider the past approaches of presenting ourselves to the public. We promoted ourselves on increasing the profitability of agriculture, of improving the environment, and enhancing food availability and quality.
Presently, the public is not interested in how animal science helps “big business agriculture” and there is some loss of trust in agriculture with the revelations that the pubic has been unknowingly consuming genetically modified grains for a decade. The lack of transparency in the benefits of animal science to the general public and the welfare of livestock and poultry has contributed to a public questioning our motives and “improved products”.
My suggestion is that we as animal scientists promote the good we have accomplished for the welfare of livestock. Our presentations to the public should focus on the livestock rather than the industry. The movie on Temple Grandin has set an excellent stage for educating the public that we have made many great contributions to improving the welfare and treatment of livestock. This includes reducing or eradicating major pathogenic, metabolic, and genetic diseases; developing less stressful environments and handling facilities; breeding livestock adapted to production systems; providing better nutrition; developing livestock rescue protocols,and enforcing local and state animal protection laws.”