Larry McMullen, Swine Field Specialist, Southeast
The political and social climate is increasing the need for pork producers to understand animal welfare, animal rights, and animal handling issues in order to be aware of how these issues will affect their ability to produce and market pork. Because of this need, this topic was selected to be presented by Iowa State University Swine Field Specialist at the 2009 Regional Swine Conference held throughout sites in Iowa at Ainsworth, Carroll, Sioux Center, Oelwein, and Dows during February.
Larry McMullen took the lead to develop a power point presentation with the aid of the “Turning Point - Clickers” technology to be used by all field specialist across the state to address the animal welfare, rights, and handling issues. With the use of the “ clickers”, a presentation could be made that would give a survey of opinions and perspectives held by the participants at the conference sites without revealing participant identity. The program was presented at the five conference sites and the results of the questions were combined together to get a state wide survey of the opinion and views. Along with the participant participation, the questions also gave excellent talking points for the presentation.
A total of 42 questions were used in the presentation to gain insight, opinions, and demographic information from the participants. Questions were asked on animal welfare, animal rights, trucking issues, castration, euthanasia, swine housing, gestation stalls, pork quality and consumer issues. 85% indicated that there is a difference between animal welfare and animal rights. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) were the top two animal rights groups that gave the most danger to destroying the pork industry. When asked if a propostion to ban gestation stalls was put to a public vote in Iowa, would it pass? 31 % said it would pass and 69% % of the participants thought it would not pass.
When asked what major changes they will make in their operation – 23 % will change euthanasia method, 36 % would be more aware of activist group activities, 7% will include changes in euthanasia, gestation housing, and castration methods as well as monitoring activist groups, while 23% indicated no changes will be made. 92% felt that they were more informed and knowledgeable about animal welfare and animal rights due to the presentation. On a scale of 1 to 9, with 1-3 = poor, 4-6 = average, and 7-9 = excellent, the program was rated as average by 21 % and excellent by 79% of the participants. The overall rating for the presentation was 7.3 / 9.0.
150 Iowa Pork Industry Center
Page last updated:
April 7, 2009
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