Marie Belew Wheatley, president and chief executive officer of the American Humane Association, predicts that intensive animal agriculture processes will continue, and perhaps increase, to meet continuing worldwide needs for food. At the same time, the executive predicts that producers also will adopt significantly more humane methods for ensuring animal welfare and well-being in response to retailer and consumer demand for such care.

Her remarks came during the Future Trends in Animal Agriculture Symposium -- "The Future of Animal Agriculture: 2030" – at the USDA in Washington, D.C. The symposium was held to explore issues of what will – and what should – animal agriculture look like in 2030.

“Now and into the future, there will be a significantly closer and much needed integration of improved animal welfare practices and food-production productivity,” she noted. “No food producer anywhere in the world will have the luxury of focusing on productivity at the expense of sound animal welfare and husbandry.  To compete, they will need to take a holistic view incorporating not only improved animal welfare, but also sustainability and resource management, food safety and affordability.”

Wheatley concluded her presentation by noting that American Humane will continue to review, credential and provide reasoned, science-based standards to measure the food industry’s animal welfare outcomes.

Among its many programs, American Humane created and launched the nation’s first and original monitoring, auditing and labeling program that attests to the humane care and handling of animals raised for food, which gives American Humane unique insights into how to advance animal welfare in the food-production industry.  The program, known as American Humane Certified, is now the pre-eminent and fastest-growing such program, covering more than 500 farming operations and more than 60 million farm animals.

Source: American Humane Association