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Angus Productions Inc.
Copyright © 2011
Angus Productions Inc.

Joint Issues Management Subcommittee Sets Priorities

by Troy Smith for Angus Productions Inc.

DENVER, Colo. (Feb. 4, 2011) — During the 2011 Cattle Industry Convention in Denver, the Joint Issues Management Subcommittee met to set priorities for supporting a new beef industry Long-Range Plan. The Subcommittee is comprised of representatives of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) Policy Division and the Federation Division (Federation of State Beef Councils).


Subcommittee members are charged with recommending strategies for proactive response to issues that affect the reputation of beef and beef producers.


Members prioritized three areas of focus:

  1. actions to influence consumer preferences;

  2. strengthening the beef industry image; and

  3. protecting the freedom of producers to operate their businesses with regard to environmental, economic and social sustainability.

Noted was the Long-Range Plan’s call for adoption of a practical and effective industry-wide animal disease traceability program. Members agreed that traceability relates to issues of consumer confidence and preference. However, members noted that the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA’s) attempt to establish cattle operation premise identification and ranch-of-origin application of RFID-tagging of animals as a foundation of animal traceability was viewed as too intrusive by many producers. An Australian model, calling for application of RFID tags at the time animals change ownership, was described as an example of a working system that has been proven effective in tracing targeted animals within 48 hours.


Subcommittee members also viewed “The Care Package: Animal Welfare in the West,” a film created by Washington State University student Michael DeTerra. The 20-minute documentary relates how producers care for animals raised for beef. DeTerra traveled some 5,000 miles to ranch and feedlot operations to film the reality of beef production and relate the professional, caring attention to animal welfare required for sustainable profitability of producers.


Adding to the credibility of DeTerra’s film was an interview with animal behaviorist and welfare specialist Temple Gandin.The film, which can be found online at explorebeef.org, has drawn considerable praise since its release in November. DeTerra said it is already being accessed by educators and shown in school classrooms.


“If the film accomplishes nothing else, making it taught me about the beef industry and cleared up my misconceptions," said DeTerra, who does not come from an agricultural background. He now plans to build on what he has learned by enrolling in animal science classes.





Editor’s Note: The above article was written under contract or by staff of Angus Productions Inc. (API). It may not be reprinted without express permission of API. To request reprint permision, contact the editor at 816-383-5200.


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