The University of California created a council of animal health experts intended to advise policymakers and animal agriculture producers on animal welfare issues.
"As animal agriculture is facing many challenges in California, it is appropriate that the University of California play a leadership role in reviewing animal production practices, including recommendations to our producers that will enhance animal welfare standards in our state," Dr. Richard Breitmeyer, California state veterinarian, said in a press release.
Dr. Breitmeyer is one of 14 members of the UC Animal Welfare Advisory Council, which was formed in May. The members plan to review production practices, research current issues, recommend research topics and training programs, advise policymakers and agriculture industry members, and promote policies and practices that are backed by scientific research, the press release states.
Other veterinarians on the council include Dr. Alex Ardans, a professor in the UC-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine; Dr. Ronald J. Faoro, past president of the California VMA; Dr. David L. McCrystle, chair of the AVMA Executive Board; Dr. Bennie I. Osburn, council vice chair and dean of the School of Veterinary Medicine; and Dr. James P. Reynolds, chair of the AVMA Animal Welfare Committee.
The new California-based council is among organizations formed in states with ongoing battles over animal welfare legislation.
For example, the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation announced in May the organization had created the Farm Bureau Center to Elevate Animal Issues. The announcement states that the center's formation demonstrates a commitment to counter escalating challenges from animal rights activists.