Whole Foods highlights through a 5-Step Animal Welfare Rating system how animals are raised before being purchased by consumers. Global Animal Partnership (GAP), developers of Whole Foods' rating system, seeks to achieve higher welfare for farm animals by building partnerships, working in collaboration with farmers, ranchers, food retail, and animal science experts.
Whole Foods Market harbors the same hopes for its chickens that many parents do for their kids: That they'll get plenty of fresh air, live at home until they reach maturity and avoid gaining weight so fast that they can't walk.
While Whole Foods Market was the driving force behind developing the standards, GAP Executive Director Miyun Park believes they will move well beyond the chain, spurring "massive improvements in the way animals are raised in this country."
Rising corn feed costs are forcing hard decisions for Michigan beef producers.
Scott Oswalt, one of two brothers who run the [family's livestock business] outfit with their parents, said the current market makes it difficult to form long-range plans, such as building a barn or purchasing property to raise more cattle. "We'll survive through it," Scott Oswalt said. "I wouldn't call it a disaster by any means, but it's a little bit of the unknown."
Oswalt said rising corn prices play the biggest role in the farm’s finances. Since it costs more for feed lots to bulk up cattle, producers don’t fetch as high an amount.
Additional complexity to beef prices are the low number of meatpackers within the US. Few meatpackers means less competition and price fluidity.
Complaints have drawn the interest of federal regulators, who are investigating possible antitrust violations in the meatpacking industry. [Kathleen Hawkins, executive vice president of the roughly 500-member Michigan Cattlemen's Association] said she's seen no evidence of any collusion or impropriety occurring locally.
Beef Industry Down UnderAudio: Kevin Dhuyvetter, Kansas State University Agriculture Economist, highlights his recent trip to Australia. He comments on cattle marketing and animal identification approaches in Australia that could have appeal to the U.S. beef sector.
SwineCast has recently increased its industry stake with sponsorships of significant meetings through our parent, Truffle Media Networks. The event sponsorships resulted in exclusive SwineCast coverage of the recent National Institute for Animal Agriculture Annual Meeting: “One Health: Implications For Animal Agriculture.”
The Future of Traceability in USDA's Animal Health Programs - Edward M. Avalos, Under Secretary, USDA Marketing and Regulatory Programs and Veterinary Services and Dr. John Clifford, Chief Veterinarian, USDA, from NIAA's One Health: Implications for Animal Agriculture, March 15 - 17, 2010, Kansas City, MO, USA.