Dr. Morrison continues with an equally powerful statement regarding the “fight” that tends to develop between those who believe in the use of animals and those who do not (animal rights groups). He states, “Also, in the heat of the battle against those who were seriously misleading the public about the value and necessity of the use of animals in research, it was sometimes difficult to discern between those who wanted only better treatment of animals and those who wanted to block our work entirely. I freely admit that I made a number of mistakes in this regard. So focused was I on the unconscionable attacks on various researchers and the validity of biomedical research in general that I sometimes turned away the true welfarists.”
Are we in the beef industry guilty of this? Do we get so caught up in the battle that we lose sight of what the goal should be? As a cattle farmer, my mission is to use BQA holistic herd health and animal well-being BMP’s in order to provide quality care to my cattle. This, in turn, enables my cattle to efficiently produce safe, healthy, and delicious beef to feed my family and families all over the world. My mission has nothing to do with animal “rights” and it has everything to do with animal well-being. As such, my focus must remain on the commitment to quality animal well-being.
Morrison reports that, in an attempt to improve animal well-being in biomedical research, a couple of British scientists developed the concept of “the rule of the 3 R’s” for the use of animals in medical research. Later, this increased to “4 R’s”, which are:
- Reduction (#’s of animals used)
- Refinement (of techniques to eliminate or reduce pain)
- Replacement (with alternative approaches when available)
- Responsibility (of the laboratory scientist) to provide good care.
While not all of these are applicable to a cattle farmer’s use of animals for food production, I believe that they are worth considering.
I revised them in an attempt to make them relative to my cattle operation. They are:
- Responsibility (to provide basic care)
- Refinement (of techniques to improve care and reduce pain and stress)
- Research (continue to study the animals that we raise in order to best understand their needs and how to care for them without jeopardizing food safety)
- Realization (of scientific advancements “on farm”).
While someone smarter than I am can come up with a better way to say it, the idea is to have simple, universal ideals/standards by which to operate our cattle farms.