Iowa State University (ISU) will host the 4th International Beef Cattle Welfare Symposium July 16-18 in Ames. The symposium will bring together beef producers, processors, retailers, government officials, non-government organizations (NGOs), animal scientists, veterinarians and students to discuss welfare issues certain to impact and change the beef cattle industry, based on the ever-changing production practices and in response to animal welfare concerns in the livestock and poultry industries. Such issues will encompass all angles of the beef supply chain, including social concerns, production, environment, transportation, processing, marketing, trade regulations and legislation.

The first day of the symposium is designed to provide participants with hands-on experience in diagnosing and treating lameness in beef cattle, practicing the correct technique for on-farm euthanasia and learning a variety of on-farm techniques for minimizing stress during handling and management procedures, including dehorning. This portion of the symposium will take place in the new $7 million state-of-the-art Jeff and Deb Hansen Agriculture Student Learning Center on the ISU campus.

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The scientific program scheduled for July 17-18 will take place at the ISU Alumni Center. These sessions will include in-depth discussions about current and future beef cattle welfare concerns, low-stress cattle handling, beta-agonist use, lameness and pain management from industry experts .Among the speakers are Temple Grandin, Dan Thomson and Tom Noffsinger. World-renowned beef cattle experts, bovine practitioners and animal scientists from Australia, Brazil, Ireland, Canada and the U.S. will provide an international perspective on global issues such as the impact of stress on the health and welfare of beef cattle, strategies for reducing stress and improving welfare at weaning and understanding and managing the animal welfare impacts of painful procedures in beef cattle.

A highlight of this year’s event will be a presentation by Greg Peterson representing “The Peterson Farm Brothers” whose clever parodies of popular songs convey a positive message about agriculture and livestock production. Their videos have received over 15 million views on YouTube.

“Ranchers, animal scientists and veterinarians have traditionally been the standard bearers for beef cattle welfare,” said Hans Coetzee, 2014 symposium chair and section leader, ISU Pharmacology Analytical Support Team (ISU-PhAST). “With the growing separation of consumers from rural agriculture, beef producers need to take a strong leadership role in establishing good livestock practices and have active and informed input on potential regulations and changes in the industry to help minimize the information disconnect between consumers, food retailers, and livestock producers and protect the long term sustainability of beef cattle production.”