As recommended by the AABP Animal Welfare Committee, the AABP board of directors endorsed the position on disabled livestock that the AVMA adopted in June 2002 (see JAVMA, July 15, 2002, page 181, or call (800) 248-2862, Ext. 6666). The new position distinguishes between terminal and nonterminal markets.
The committee also endorsed the animal welfare guidelines on dairy cattle released recently by the Food Marketing Institute and the National Council of Chain Restaurants. The committee assisted in developing them. Veal calf guidelines are under review, and beef cattle guidelines are being formulated.
The FMI/NCCR program brings together experts in veterinary medicine, animal science, and agricultural production. They are identifying science-based, objective, measurable indices for desirable practices in the growing, handling, and processing of food animals. In 2001, the AVMA also joined the effort.
According to Dr. James Reynolds of Visalia, Calif., chair of the AABP Animal Welfare Committee, now the dairy quality assurance guidelines need to be marketed to educate producers. To help producers come into compliance, the Dairy and Beef Quality Assurance Center in Stratford, Iowa, has developed a booklet and software for distribution through veterinarians. This fall, the AABP committee intends to test-market the booklet on clients at the University of California-Davis.
Auditing is the third aspect of dairy quality assurance. Under discussion is who should be the third-party auditors. The AABP is proposing veterinarians on farms. Dr. Reynolds said consumers have confidence in veterinarians for food safety and animal welfare issues, and veterinarians have a direct relationship with dairy producers and beef cattle farmers. There are about 75,000 U.S. dairies, and they have no umbrella group.
In other matters, the committee has proposed a bovine pain management seminar for the Sept. 2003 AABP conference in Columbus, Ohio.