Novus International hosted its second annual University Day recently in St. Louis focusing on ‘Fostering Welfare in Livestock Production’.
The event, attended by Novus employees, industry experts and affiliates, provided a neutral forum for six nationally recognized experts to discuss the innovative solutions being developed by academia and industry to address the issues and public perceptions about the handling and treatment of livestock by today's producers.
The event also included a private screening of the EMMY Award-winning HBO film 'Temple Grandin', followed by a panel discussion led by Temple Grandin.
Distinguished presenters and panelists at Novus University Day included:
- Frank Mitloehner, Professor and Air Quality Extension Specialist at the University of California-Davis, who provided an overview of animal welfare issues and solutions industry-wide
- Temple Grandin, Professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University, who discussed a practical approach to improving animal welfare
- Kathi Brock, Director of Strategic Partnerships at the American Humane Association, who discussed the dynamic of third-party animal welfare audits
- John McGlone, Professor of Animal Science at Texas Tech University, who provided an overview of innovations in husbandry and transportation to improve pig welfare
- Lindsey Hulbert, Post-Doctoral Scholar in Animal Sciences at University of California-Davis, whose presentation titled One Size Solution Doesn't Fit All reviewed housing developments in poultry and calves, and
- Michael Siemens, Leader-Animal Welfare and Husbandry at Cargill, who discussed the trends to enhance animal welfare at the beef packing plant level.
"Our industry raises livestock for our society's use, which makes it important to handle production in ways that does not cause these animals additional stress,” said Grandin. “In this country, the livestock industry follows the production methodology wishes of retailers, who in turn reflect the overall desires of end food consumers."
Grandin is a world-famous animal scientist and autism self-advocate and one of TIME magazine's '100 Most Influential People' in 2010. Her life story of overcoming educational, social and professional roadblocks to create a behavioral tool that revolutionized the cattle industry is portrayed in the film, 'Temple Grandin'.
Grandin is a designer of livestock handling facilities. She was the first to identify cattle 'flight zones' and design curved chute and race systems, thus reducing handling-stress for animals worldwide. More than 50 percent of cattle in North America are handled at meat-packing plants that utilise Grandin's signature centre-track restrainer system.
"The livestock industry faces great challenge, promise and responsibility. This event provided a neutral forum for dialogue about emerging issues in animal welfare, said Thad Simons, president and CEO of Novus. “Our goal was to encourage discussion from varying points of view in a professional setting where we can learn from one another. We are all responsible for helping the livestock industry move forward together."