Special Report

‘Precautionary Principle’ was focus on NIAA meeting

The “Precautionary Principle”, a controversial risk management strategy developed to cope with possible risks where scientific understanding in still incomplete, was the focus of the National Institute for Animal Agriculture’s (NIAA) annual conference in Omaha. 

The Precautionary Principle has been a topic of discussion for several years.  It describes a “better safe than sorry” approach to policymaking and regulation.  It is standard practice in Europe and it’s also picking up steam in the U.S. as evidenced by growing protests over the use of antibiotics and hormones in livestock production, as well as animal welfare and GMOs. 

But Dr. Mark Walton, chief marketing officer for Recombinetics, warns that in Europe and many other countries, the burden of proof under the Precautionary Principle has become so high that many people and companies have stopped trying to develop new products.  Walton says the principle is being “twisted and perverted” to prevent progress from taking place, which he says has potentially negative implications for the U.S. livestock industry.

Walton was one of the speakers at the NIAA conference.  We spoke with him following his presentation.

AUDIO: Mark Walton (7:30 MP3)

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