The Food Marketing Institute, an organization that represents grocers, and the National Council of Chain Restaurants released a progress report June 27 that outlines the organizations' ongoing food animal welfare initiative.
The report describes the process by which various producer and processor groups' animal welfare guidelines have been reviewed and recommended by the FMI and NCCR for use by FMI and NCCR members. It also identifies producer and processor groups' guidelines that are still under consideration.
"FMI and NCCR have been working with independent, expert advisers and the producer/processor community to promote 'best practices' for each species that will ensure animal well-being throughout production and processing," according to a statement from FMI and NCCR. "We continue to consult regularly with experts in animal science, veterinary medicine, and agricultural production to obtain objective, measurable indices for desirable practices in the rearing, handling, and processing of animals for food. We continue to urge appropriate federal and state government agencies to strictly enforce animal welfare protection laws."
To view the report and a list of cooperating animal producer and processor organizations, visit http://fmi.org/animal_welfare/62602finalrpt.pdf or http://nccr.net/newsite/media/pr_28june2002.htm.
The FMI and the NCCR teamed to identify science-based, objective, and measurable indices for desirable practices in the growing, handling, and processing of food animals. To help achieve these goals, the organizations enlisted several animal welfare experts to serve on the FMI-NCCR Animal Welfare Advisory Panel. Dr. Gail C. Golab, AVMA assistant director of professional and public affairs, serves as the AVMA liaison to the panel, with oversight for the AVMA's role in the project provided by the AVMA Animal Welfare Committee.
"The retail industry is serious about [animal welfare]," said Karen Brown, a spokeswoman for the FMI. "An important component of our effort is our independent experts."
The FMI and the NCCR plan to continue to work with food producers and processors on their animal welfare guidelines, and will be developing an auditing process that will assist retailers in identifying food suppliers who are implementing appropriate producer/processor animal welfare recommendations.
"We want to point out that this is a work in progress. It is important to note that some segments of the producer community are further along in this process than others," according to the FMI and NCCR. "Some [producers] have been working on this issue for some time, undertaking research, seeking counsel of outside experts, and revising their guidelines as new information becomes available. Some segments of the producer community have begun their efforts more recently."
For more information on the AVMA's role in this project, contact Dr. Golab at (800) 248-2862, Ext. 6618.