Farmscape for January 15, 2016
An animal science professor with Colorado State University warns, in the age of social media, agriculture must be prepared to open its doors the public and engage consumers or face the consequences.
The topic, "How Consumers View Animal Welfare" was among the topics discussed yesterday as part of the 2016 Banff Pork Seminar.
Dr. Temple Grandin, an animal science professor with Colorado State University, told those on hand agriculture industry has made tremendous improvements in the areas of animal handling and animal welfare and needs to be prepared to share those advances with consumers.
Clip-Dr. Temple Grandin-Colorado State University:
It's going to get more and more important, especially with younger consumers.
One of the things that really frustrates me, I've been in this industry for a long time and a lot of my work has been with the meat packing plants down in the U.S.
There's been huge improvements compared to the 80s and the early 90s and 1 of the things that drove those improvements was audits by McDonald's Corporation starting in 1999 and 2000 and, when a big customer insists on it, that brought about a lot of change.
The problem is a lot consumers don't even know about it.
Industry has not done a good job of publicizing to the public the good things that they have done.
Survey data shows that a lot of younger consumers, values matter.
You can give them all the facts that you want to give them but a survey done by Charlie Arnot of the Center for Food Integrity found that, if a scientist was also a mom and can say well I share your values on feeding my family wholesome food, that's more credible than maybe just a government scientist that just gives the facts.
The industry has got to make it very clear to the consumer that we do share their values on putting out wholesome food.
Unfortunately facts alone are not enough anymore.
Dr. Grandin says younger consumers are getting very concerned about things such as the environment and where their food comes from.
She says agriculture needs to be completely transparent, open up the door and explain things because if we don't and consumers get surprises that's going to backfire on the industry.
For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.
*Farmscape is a presentation of Sask Pork and Manitoba Pork