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Animal Ag, Global Warming & Climate Change

“The impact of animal agriculture on global warming and climate change” is the title of a 28-page report created by the Humane Society of the U.S. (HSUS). I’m sure most of you don’t need to read the report to guess most of its conclusions as it relates to animal agriculture.

Interestingly, in the scientific community there seems to be a growing acceptance of agriculture, and modern ag specifically, relative to its environmental impact not being as negative as once thought. The trouble is that agriculture still lacks hard evidence of its true impact on the environmental front.

Of course, in today’s world, it comes down to far more than just having good scientific facts; it’s also getting the message out on those facts.

It was interesting that the results of an annual survey on consumer trust in the food system performed by the Center for Food Integrity were released this week. The study found that 15.88% of respondents think HSUS is the most credible source of info about farm-animal care, followed by 12.32% for farm-animal vets, 12.02% for USDA reps, and 11.47% for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Farmers who operate large livestock farms were ranked last, with 5.50%.

“The closer you are to a profit motivation, the greater your credibility deficit,” says Charlie Arnot, CEO of the Center for Food Integrity, in a article. He also says that a statistically significant number of consumers changed their attitudes toward statements such as, “Raising animals indoors is beneficial to the animal,” after reading educational text.

Getting the hard data on ag’s stewardship is the first step, but getting the word out as successfully as HSUS does it is the next. Consumers care, and as an industry, we’d better start caring, too.