The pork chain can expect more activity in Washington, D.C., related to food-animal production. Food safety issues will continue to garner attention, with the help of the recent Salmonella outbreak in peanut butter, and that action will spill over to other food production areas.
The Humane Society of the United States is eyeing Congress and will be directing its efforts that way, according to Wayne Pacelle, HSUS president. A motivating driver is the fact that California's Proposition 2 initiative passed in November and will phase out the use of veal crates, gestation stalls and chicken battery cages. "It's still fresh in people’s minds and HSUS is anxious to get its legislative agenda to Washington, D.C.," says Pacelle. HSUS also is planning to focus on downer animal slaughter issues.
Meanwhile, the focus on environmental issues has not retreated, and employee issues throughout the pork chain can help or hinder a business' survival in today's climate.
Those issues and more will be addressed at this year's Responsible Pork Symposium, Feb. 23-25. A host of presenters and panels representing sectors across the pork chain will relay their experiences, as well as look at future challenges and trends in the global and domestic marketplace.
Among the highlights:

  • Dennis Treacy, Smithfield Foods, will offer a look at the company's environmental sustainability program; why and how it was created; and the results now that's it's been in place.
  • Lynn Becker, MowMar Farms will talk about the experience of purchasing a pork production system only to find yourself dealing with the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and animal-abuse allocations tied to the previous ownership.
  • Dennis DiPietre, consultant, will talk about the role that the workforce plays up and down the pork chain in producing the highest quality products in a responsible manner. "How am I leaving in charge" is a critical question and the answer can make or break a business.
  • A panel of food safety experts will look at the issues currently on tap, the 111th Congress' position and priorities, and what is coming down the pike.

Winding up the conference is a session designed to prepare participants to talk to consumers and the media in order to "Get your message across". Also, Bruce Vincent, a Montana Logger and rural activist will share his insights on why the pork chain needs to take ownership of more of today's and tomorrow's critical issues.
That's just a snapshot of the 1.5-day event. For more details and to register, click here.