Conference will examine the ‘animal agriculture gap’

cfi conference logo 2016A conference that begins tomorrow (Wednesday) in Chicago will focus on why consumers distrust animal agriculture and how the agriculture and food industries can close the gap on issues driving that mistrust.

The North American Strategy Conference on Animal Agriculture is an annual event put on by the Center for Food Integrity. CFI executive director Terry Fleck says their research shows 60 percent of consumers say that if animals are treated decently and humanely, they have no problem eating meat, milk and eggs. But he says a much smaller percentage of consumers, 25 percent, strongly agree that U.S. meat comes from humanely treated animals.

“Our desire here is to close that gap by really selecting three different issues for this group to discuss—animal housing, emerging genetic advancements, and responsible antibiotic use. Those are the three key areas that we’ll be discussing over the next two days,” Fleck says.

One of the participants in the animal housing panel discussion is Paul Shapiro, vice president of farm animal protection for the Humane Society of the U.S. (HSUS). CFI has been criticized for including HSUS, but Fleck says they want to have a “balance of perspectives”.

“There’s no doubt that HSUS has a strong voice on many of the animal housing issues—and so we felt it was important, at least in an impartial setting, that we can bring the cacophony of voices together to discuss and find out what motivations are there and what actions are being taken.”

Fleck says they have had representatives of HSUS on the program at previous conferences.

AUDIO: Terry Fleck

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