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Market Journal to focus on animal welfare issues

“Market Journal” next month will focus on one of the most important emerging issues facing agriculture across the nation—the animal welfare movement.

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension program will feature experts discussing how the issue is playing out in several states and offering suggestions to agricultural producers on how to address the concerns.

Several states already have adopted legislation or constitutional amendments to regulate how producers treat livestock. Most notable was California voters’ approval in 2008 of Proposition 2, which prohibits the confinement of certain farm animals in a manner that does not allow them to turn around freely, lie down, stand up and fully extend their limbs.

Hosted by UNL agricultural economist Doug Jose, the program includes perspective from Chris Wolf, an agricultural economist from Michigan State University who has conducted a study of voters’ attitudes on animal welfare. He found that voters in virtually every state probably would approve a measure similar to California’s.

Elizabeth Parker, chief veterinarian for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, discusses how consumers’ food safety concerns play a role in this issue, and Jennifer Greiner, veterinarian with the National Pork Producers Council, says livestock-care standards need to strike a balance between consumers’ concerns and producers’ economic realities.

Greiner suggests that other states might follow Ohio’s lead in establishing a livestock standards board that gives the livestock industry a voice in setting regulations.

Roger Berry, field director of the Alliance for the Future of Agriculture in Nebraska, said farmers and ranchers need to get past their reluctance to talk about what they do to educate consumers.

“They care about their animals and take care of their animals,” Berry says on the program. “They’ve got to start telling people what they do and why they do it.”

“Market Journal” airs on NET1 at 7 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 2, and on NET2 at 9 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 3. It also airs on the Dish Network UniversityHouse Channel 9411 at 12:30 p.m. Jan. 1, 9:30 p.m. Jan. 3 and 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 6.

It will be available after airing on-line.

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