The Council for Agricultural Science and Technology this week released a new video to address animal health and research needs with the cooperation of livestock care and handling experts.
CAST also released a Spanish version of an issue paper released earlier this year titled, "The Direct Relationship Between Animal Health and Food Safety Outcomes." Both the paper and the new video examine pressures to change livestock rearing methods and evidence of connections between animal health and public health.
The group of experts, led by Task Force Chair Scott Hurd, associate professor of veterinary medicine at Iowa State University, includes veterinarians, animal science and epidemiology professionals.
The new video explains links between animal processing and care and human health.
"People are certainly more concerned than they ever have been about food safety," Hurd said. "I'm not sure they are necessarily better educated. Unfortunately I think that concern can be utilized to give them a lot of misinformation and honestly people find it more difficult to trust the U.S. government and the inspection system."
Hurd said there are many different factors to consider when housing and caring for animals, but ultimately care decisions are made based on safety.
"There's a lot of opinions about how livestock should be raised and the message from this paper is not that one way is better than the other but that all of those questions should be carefully considered as to how they impact public health," Hurd said.
Hurd said one of the key recommendations from the CAST paper is that policy makers and consumers consider carefully varying production methods.
The initial report is co-authored by Hurd and Barbara Masters, DVM, senior policy adviser with Olsson Frank Weeda law firm; Alan Mathew, Purdue University; Steve Oliver, University of Tennessee; Rod Preston, Texas Tech University; and Randall S. Singer, University of Minnesota.