Speaker: Meat animals likely to stay in confinement settings
By ART HOVEY / Lincoln Journal Star Posted: Tuesday, November 17, 2009 8:00 pm
Despite increasing criticism from animal rights and welfare groups, Tim Amlaw doesn't expect to see the gates thrown open in livestock confinement settings in Nebraska and other prominent livestock states.
The typical chicken is not going back to scratching his way across the barnyard and the typical hog is not going back to burying himself up to his snout in his favorite mudhole.
Amid rising worldwide demand for food, "a concentrated system of production is going to be a necessity," Amlaw, based in Colorado as director of the farm animal program for American Humane, said in Lincoln Tuesday.
He expects demand to also dictate production systems "that keep costs reasonably low."
Amlaw's appearance at the 2009 Nebraska Cattlemen Beef Industry Issues Summit comes at a time when new laws in California, Michigan and other states are taking aim at cages for laying hens, gestation crates for pregnant hogs, and other tight spaces used for food animal production.
Reassuring consumers that our livestock are well cared for is always going to be an important thing. And every farmer or rancher that I know is always trying to make the care of their livestock even better. Modern livestock facilities can offer the higher level of care to our animals. It allows for more individualized care and closer monitoring. Animal welfare is a top priority, if it becomes anything less than that you will not be able to keep the family farm going. Successful family farms depend on high quality animal care.