Statement by the Animal Agriculture Alliance Coalition on Animal Agriculture's Commitment to Public Health
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The topic of public health as it relates to animal agriculture encompasses a broad list of topics including community/respiratory health, the environment, zoonotic diseases, and food safety. In each of these areas, animal agriculture has worked hard to implement measures to protect the health of the public, the food animals, and the people who care for those animals.
Modern agriculture operations are designed to maximize animal health and production while protecting public health. While specific interventions may vary by species, examples of common practices that modern agricultural facilities employ include biosecurity protocols, containment and land application of manure at rates that maximize the nutrient value to crops, and appropriate use of antibiotics.
Animal agriculture is often blamed for negatively impacting public health by polluting drinking water, causing respiratory illness in our communities, serving as a breeding ground for zoonotic agents and delivering a food product that is a cause of food-borne disease. Each of these concerns are addressed below.
- It is a farmer's highest priority to raise animals in a way that is responsible to the animals, environment, and society
- Ag is often blamed for negatively impacting public health without conclusive research
- Many studies generalize the effects of confined animal feeding operations
- Modern production practices have virtually eliminated some former causes of human food-borne illness
- Producers live in the communities where they farm and have a deep-rooted interest in protecting natural resources
- A farmer's primary goal is to produce an abundant, safe, and wholesome supply of food for consumers
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