Rollin Named to Commission to Research Industrial Farm Animal Production
Colorado State University Distinguished Professor Bernard Rollin has been named to the Independent National Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production. Dr. Rollin, an international leader in bioethics and animal ethics, will assist the commission in conducting comprehensive, fact-based and balanced assessments of industrial farming.
The commission, funded by a grant from the Pew Charitable Trusts to the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, will assess the impact of industrial farming on public health, the environment, farm communities, animal welfare and animal health. The group, which will work with other national experts, is comprised of veterinary, animal sciences, economics, agriculture, public health, business, government and animal welfare experts.
"The charge of this commission is an extremely important one," Dr. Rollin said. "A common interest in the implications of industrial agriculture for society, the environment and animal welfare brings together ranchers, agriculturalists, academics, veterinarians, public health experts and others within this group - and for the first time in history, we will collectively take a hard, factual look at the costs and benefits of industrialized agriculture."
Dr. Rollin, who taught the world's first university courses in veterinary and animal ethics at Colorado State, is a Professor in the Department of Philosophy, with joint appointments in the departments of Animal Sciences and Clinical Sciences. He is a principal author of the 1985 Animal Welfare Act and an international voice in animal-use ethics.
Through hearings conducted across the country over the next two years, the commission will provide specialized reports that will inform the public, policymakers and industry stakeholders about the benefits and costs of industrial farm animal production.
In the United States, animal agriculture produces billions of animals per year. The national trend toward industrial animal production provides consumers with affordable food. The number of family farms in the United States dropped by almost 50 percent in the last 40 years while the number of animals produced in the country continues to grow.
This trend may negatively impact rural communities, the environment, animal welfare and human health, Dr. Rollin said. Concerns such as animal health, air and water contamination, antibiotic-resistant bacteria and significant shifts in social structure and the economy of farming regions are within the focus of the commission's research.