Time to Discuss Genetic Advancements & Consumer Trust

Jamie Johansen

Screen Shot 2016-03-29 at 9.10.54 AMThe Center for Food Integrity’s (CFI) 2016 North American Strategy Conference on Animal Agriculture will take place May 18-19 at McDonald’s Hamburger University in Chicago. Speakers and panelists will discuss genetics advancements and the need to earn consumer trust in the benefits these advancements offer. The free event hosts leaders from local, state, national and international producer organizations and livestock coalitions, along with allied industry, branded food companies and government organizations.

The most recent consumer trust research from CFI shows consumers have growing concern over the treatment of animals raised for food. A near-record 60% strongly agree with the following statement: “If animals are treated decently and humanely I have no problem eating meat, milk and eggs.” Yet, a much smaller percentage of consumers, 25% strongly agree that U.S. meat comes from humanely treated animals.

This gap between consumer support and perception will be addressed. Speakers and panelists will be asked “How Do We Close the Animal Ag Gap?” on issues like emerging genetic advancements, antibiotic use and animal housing.

“There are advancements in animal genetics that could help prevent disease and improve animal well-being, but we must discuss and address potential consumer concerns about these technologies,” said Charlie Arnot, CEO of CFI. “We’ll encourage attendees from across the food system to embrace that skepticism and explore opportunities to close the gap on consumer concerns about animal agriculture.”

An expert panel will discuss these emerging genetic advancements and how they may impact consumer trust. The panel features Alison Van Eenennaam, Ph.D., Cooperative Extension Service specialist, animal genomics and biotechnology, University of California, Davis; Bill Christianson, DVM, Ph.D., chief operating officer of PIC and Mark Walton, Ph.D., VP regulatory affairs, Yorktown Technologies, LP (formerly chief marketing officer of Recombinetics).

Emerging genetic advancements provide opportunities to improve animal well-being. PIC recently announced the development of the first pigs resistant to PRRS, one of the most devastating diseases to the pork industry. In addition, Recombinetics has worked with UC, Davis to develop technology to inhibit horn growth in dairy cows, which would eliminate the need for dehorning.

Ag Group, Animal Health, Animal Welfare, Antibiotics, consumer, Food, Genetics