US Vets Respond to Report into Intensive Production

US - The American Veterinary Medical Association's CEO, Dr Ron DeHaven talks about the Pew Commission's report and the AVMA's response, calling the report 'flawed and unscientific'.
calendar icon 4 September 2009
clock icon 4 minute read

In the spring of 2008, the Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Production issued the report Putting Meat on the Table: Industrial Farm Animal Production in America. Considering the importance of the US food system and the ramifications of minor or major proposed modifications, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) believes it is crucial to closely and carefully examine the Commission's research and methodology and the implications of the report.

The AVMA's analysis of the Pew Commission's report found several areas of concern, beginning with the technical assemblage of academics to research and review the report. The Pew Commission purports to have utilised a process that melds the thoughts of top academics and diverse stakeholders into its grandiose examination of food animal production. However, AVMA says the Pew Commission's process for gaining technical expertise in the technical reports was biased and did not incorporate the findings and suggestions of a significant number of participating academicians. AVMA cautions readers that we found disparities within the report, potentially due to the lack of incorporation of differing interpretations and conclusions offered by subject matter experts.

In terms of the report's meat and bones, the AVMA identified the points addressing antimicrobial resistance, the environment and animal welfare as the most pertinent to veterinary medicine. While it believes there is value in some of the recommendations offered by the Pew Commission, AVMA asserts that many of the Commission's sub-points have significant shortfalls and lack in comprehensive idea development or in how the Commission would execute a new plan or program.

Both in substance and in approach, therefore, AVMA says the Pew report contains significant flaws and major dalliances from both science and reality. These mis-steps lead to dangerous and under-informed recommendations about the nature of the food system – and shocking recommendations for interventions that are scarcely commensurate with risk. The report is, in many ways, a prolonged narrative designed to romanticise the small, independent farmer, while vilifying larger operations, based simply upon their size.

The suggestions presented in the following analysis of the Pew Commission's report offer thoughtful insight into what the AVMA asserts are critical research and programmatic needs as next steps in promoting the optimal health and welfare of our nation's animals and people. AVMA re-states its belief that it is imperative to base decisions on evidence and research that is grounded in the basic principles of scientific inquiry. By disregarding these elementary guidelines of thought, the Pew Commission's report is based on what is possible, rather than what is probable. The following analysis cautions against the propagation of these untruths, which could easily scare the American public and, ultimately, compromise the safety of our nation's food supply.

Further Reading

- You can view the full AVMA response to the PEW report by clicking here.

Further Reading

- You can view the full report from the Pew Commission by clicking here.
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