Open animal production systems are not necessarily more humane, according to the president of the American Farm Bureau Federation. “To require the use of such systems could, in fact, compromise human and animal health, food safety, and welfare,” president Bob Stallman says.

He recently told Congress that proposed legislation that would restrict the professional judgment of veterinarians and livestock producers by mandating arbitrary human standards for food animal production must not become law.

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“This legislation assumes that farm animals are not routinely treated humanely, an assumption that is deeply flawed and grossly unfair to America’s farm families and ranchers.” He says that every U.S. livestock and poultry species group has either a professionally developed, science-based quality assurance program or has established specific science-based animal welfare practices to which their members adhere.

The proposed legislation would go beyond these standards and require producers to convert to so-called “open production systems.”