WEST LAFAYETTE -- The need for agriculture to maintain the public's support of animal production practices while at the same time providing enough food for the world will be examined by experts at Purdue University and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
"Balancing Act: Meeting the Growing Demands for Food, Enhanced Animal Well-being and Consumer Trust," will be the topic of discussion Feb. 2, during the annual Ag Forecast, which precedes the Purdue Agricultural Alumni Association's annual Fish Fry at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis.
The Ag Forecast will be in the Grand Hall starting at 9:30 a.m. It is free and open to the public.
"Far too often, discussions about animal well-being are political, and they can erode quickly," Purdue University associate professor of animal sciences Candace Croney said.
Croney will lead the panel's discussion.
"If we're not objective in our discussions, then we polarize ourselves by pulling people farther apart," Croney said.
"We want to help clarify what the conversation should be so that all sides are not just competing for sound bites on the newscasts."
The public's increasing desire to know where their food comes from and how it is produced must be part of the discussion, Croney said.
She added, however, that pressure from the public should not be the sole or primary impetus for changes in production practices.
"Doing the right thing should be the driving factor for our practices and policies," she said.
"I reject the notion that we can't do right by both animals and people," she added in an article in the current edition of Purdue Agricultures magazine.
The article, which explores how Purdue is researching issues connected to animal well-being, may be accessed at https://ag.purdue.edu/agricultures/Pages....
Other panelists are Nicole Olynk Widmar, assistant professor of agricultural economics, also at Purdue, and Jeremy Marchant-Forde, research animal scientist in the Purdue-based Livestock Behavior Research Unit of the USDA's Agricultural Research Service.
Olynk Widmar will present research on concerns that consumers say they have about animal well-being.
Marchant-Forde will talk about what makes animal welfare issue, particularly sow housing, so complicated and often difficult to resolve.
The Fish Fry will follow the Ag Forecast at 11:30 a.m., with featured speaker Steve Inskeep, National Public Radio "Morning Edition" host.