Mary Clare Ahearn
The highly productive livestock agri-food system results in low consumer prices, but many express their views, through their purchases and the policy-making process, about other aspects of the system. Decision makers in the agri-food supply chain and policy arena are addressing these consumer-driven challenges in a variety of ways, depending on the issue.
Lee L. Schulz and Glynn T. Tonsor
While modern swine production systems rely on confinement production, there are calls to reduce or eliminate the use of gestation stalls. To understand the economic aspects of this debate, this article reviews the structural evolution of the industry, the underlying legal framework in animal welfare, and adjustments in impacted markets.
The purchase of Smithfield by a Chinese company, Shuanghui, stirred concerns about domestic pork supplies and food safety in the United States. The Smithfield acquisition has important implications for the U.S. hog and pork industry and consumers through changes in U.S pork exports to China, food safety, and market competition.
Aude Teillant and Ramanan Laxminarayan
Antibiotics are commonly used in food animals to treat and prevent disease, and to promote growth. In doing so, these practices are contributing to antibiotic resistance in humans. Policy-makers need to evaluate the economic value of antibiotics to the livestock industry versus the potential health cost of increasing antimicrobial resistance.
Catherine Greene and William McBride
The U.S. has experienced recurrent shortages of organic milk since it gained popularity with consumers in the 1990s. Even prior to enforcement of stricter pasture rules in 2011, organic dairy farms did not cover total economic costs. Lower feed grain prices and diversity in the business models could help expand the U.S. organic dairy sector.
Dan Lawler and L. Leon Geyer
The horse slaughter debate is characterized by differing views on the role of the horse. Some argue that it is a profitable international commodity, while others contend that it is a companion animal. Horse welfare, economic opportunity, and human health serve as complicating factors to an already complex issue.