It is critically important that the health of animals is taken into consideration throughout every stage of commercial farming processes. Not just their health, but general quality of life too. Both businesses involved in farming and consumers who are ultimately paying for their products need to be as informed as possible, so that all parties can act responsibly and agree on what is and isn’t acceptable in terms of how animals are treated. Having a way to accurately track and report on animal health is also key, so we can make sure the industry is moving in the right direction.
Examples of the animal welfare topics subject to research include:
#1 – Living conditions for chickens. Are the chicken coops and cages used really sufficient to provide a good quality of life, and high quality eggs? Are new chicken coop plans and cage configurations needed?
#2 – What is the effect on the overall quality of produce from animals living in confinement? Is more free-roaming and grazing necessary to achieve higher quality meat, that tastes better, and comes from animals who lived more fulfilled lives?
#3 – How does stress caused by commercial farming operations affect the quality of food animals are able to produce?
It is widely accepted that issues like these, and many others, require careful research and investigation so that consumers home and abroad are able to remain confident in the food produced by US farming operations. Cutting costs in key areas for short-term gain could easily lead to huge losses over the longer term food quality and animal welfare ultimately suffers.
More information on this subject can be found at the USDA’s Agriculture Research Service. Their site is a fantastic resource on the subject of animal health in farming.