“They Have Made the Problems Worse”
Analysis of Impact of Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production Finds Administration and Congress Have Exacerbated Problems in the Food System
The Pew Commission was a two-year study funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts through a grant to the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Its charge was to review the dominant industrial farm animal production system and to develop consensus recommendations to solve the problems they found.
“If the last five years has shown us anything, it is that the public is more engaged than ever in the food system,” said Governor
In 2008, Commissioners determined that the negative effects of the industrial farm animal production system were too great and the scientific evidence was too strong to ignore. They called on significant changes to be implemented in four specific areas: public health, environment, animal welfare and economics of rural communities. In 2013, the problems have only gotten worse thanks to what report authors call an “assault on reforms” in Congress and an Administration acting “regressively” in its decision-making and policy setting procedures.
The Commission’s key recommendations were:
1. Ban the non-therapeutic use of antimicrobials in food animal production to reduce the risk of antimicrobial resistance to medically important antibiotics and other antimicrobials. 2. Define non-therapeutic use of antimicrobials as any use in food animals in the absence of microbial disease or documented microbial disease exposure. 3. Treat industrial farm animal production (IFAP) as an industrial operation and implement a new system to deal with farm waste, especially liquid waste systems, to replace the inflexible and broken system that exists today and to require permitting of more operations. 4. Phase out the most intensive and inhumane production practices within a decade to reduce the risk of IFAP to public health and improve animal wellbeing (i.e., gestation crates, restrictive veal crates, and battery cages). 5. Aggressively enforce the existing anti-trust laws applicable to food animal production and where, needed, pass additional laws to provide a level playing field for producers. 6. Increase funding for, expand and reform animal agriculture research.
“In 2008, the recommendations were heralded by many in the agriculture community, the agencies and Congress as the catalyst they needed to make vital changes to a food supply that has been criticized as unsustainable and in some cases unsafe,” said PCIFAP executive director
The PCIFAP consisted of 14 Commissioners from diverse fields, including public policy, veterinary medicine, public health, agriculture, animal welfare, the food industry and rural society. The Commission assessed the current state of industrial animal agriculture based on site visits to production facilities across the country; consultation with industry stakeholders, public health, medical and agriculture experts; public meetings; peer-reviewed technical reports; staff research; and Commissioners’ own expertise.
Members of the Commission were: former
The Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future promotes research and develops and communicates information about the interrelationships among diet, food production, environment and human health. The Center also promotes policies that protect human health, the global environment and the ability to sustain life for future generations.
SOURCE Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future