Bruce Andrews became president of Animal Agriculture Alliance in April 2002. He has been involved in animal agriculture for 30 years.

Q. What is the Animal Agriculture Alliance?

A. The Alliance is a non-profit organization whose mission is to support and promote animal agriculture practices that provide for farm-animal well-being, through sound science and public education. 

Headquartered in Arlington, Va., the Alliance was formed in 2001, as a replacement organization for the Animal Industry Foundation. 

Q. Who makes up the membership?

A. The Alliance welcomes anyone interested in promoting the positive benefits of animal agriculture. A tax-deductible contribution is required. Membership consists primarily of individuals, organizations and companies with an interest in ensuring that the public receives science-based information about animal agriculture.

Q. What is the Alliance’s relationship with other industry associations?

A. The Alliance serves as a partnership-based organization for all parties involved in the food-animal chain. Its membership includes representatives from all species groups and suppliers. The goal is to include retailers, restaurants and consumers, because they all have a vested interest in ensuring that the public understands and supports food-animal production.

The Alliance serves as the united voice for all of animal agriculture on issues related to farm animal well-being. It’s also working to coordinate the various producer organizations’ animal-care guidelines, and has commissioned a project with FASS/ARPAS to develop the appropriate criteria for each animal species.

The Alliance is working with the Food Marketing Institute and the National Council of Chain Restaurants as well to develop one industry-wide accepted set of criteria for each species, and an audit system to provide consumers with assurances that the guidelines have been implemented.

Q. What are the Alliance’s priorities?

A. The Alliance is developing a nationwide educational campaign to promote producer programs that provide for animal well-being. The goal is to provide consumers with the assurance and understanding that farm animals are cared for appropriately.

Services the Alliance provides include: 

  • Expertise in rapid media response to ensure agriculture’s voice is heard and that false and/or misleading information is corrected.
  • Issue management and counseling to assist members on how to best manage activist campaigns. 
  • Instantaneous updates on emerging issues via our secured Web site and e-mail action alerts.  
  • Educational materials and campaigns to enhance the public’s understanding of our industry and animal agriculture’s positive impact on our lives.

Q. What are the long-term threats facing animal ag?

A. Some challenges include:

  • Direct impact of animal rights and environmental activists’ campaigns and actions on businesses or property.
  • Efforts to give animals legal rights.
  • Misrepresentation of individuals/companies in agriculture, research and other animal-use industries as cruel and unconcerned about animal well-being.
  • Development of a variety of animal production standards.
  • A vast array of laws and regulations being proposed and approved, pertaining to animal care and production.
  • Using food safety and health as issues to scare consumers and to promote vegetarianism.

Some steps that you can take to help prevent becoming a target of activists’ campaigns include:

  • Make sure you’re using the best animal-care practices available. 
  • Implement industry-developed animal-care guidelines and become certified.
  • Strengthen customer communication to ensure that they know you and your animal-care and food-safety standards.
  • Become involved in public policy development at all levels and see that legislators understand your business.
  • Seize opportunities to talk about what you do – rotary club, schools.
  • Talk about science in consumer-friendly terms, and discuss issues that are important to consumers
  • Become media trained or have a trained contact within your business.
  • Report all vandalism or other illegal activities. Discuss the animal rights movement with local police so they have an understanding of the activities.