Part I: Debrief From NYFB Farm Animal Welfare Conference

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If you have been following my blog then you know that last Thursday I was a panelist for the New York Farm Bureau (“NYFB”) farm animal welfare conference in Albany titled “What Every Livestock Owner Needs to Know . . . A Positive Approach.”  There was a great crew of speakers for the event including Patrick Hooker, the New York State Agriculture Commissioner, Dr. David Smith, the Assistant Director for the Division of Animal Industry of the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets, Richard McNally, Jr., Rensselaer County District AttorneyDavid Martosko, Director of Research for the Center for Consumer Freedom (@DMartosko on Twitter), and Kay Jonson Smith, the Executive Vice President for the Animal Agriculture Alliance.

It was my first time meeting the State Commissioner of Agriculture Patrick Hooker.  He seemed incredibly humble and knowledgeable about the agriculture industry here in New York.  After Mr. Hooker’s opening remarks, Dr. David Smith, DVM, discussed programs from the NYS Department of Agriculture & Markets that promote good animal husbandry practices.  For example, Dr. Smith outlined the New York State Horse Health Assurance Program (“NYSHHAP”), a voluntary certification program to help teach and support “best management practices.”  Horse operations that may be struggling with animal welfare can be put on a “get well program” from the State to help producers fix their problems.  Participation in this program may help deter prosecution for farm animal cruelty here in New York.

Additionally, Dr. Smith outlined the New York State Egg Quality Assurance Program (“NYSEQAP”), a voluntary program sponsored by the NYS Department of Agriculture, NYS Department of Health, and the New York State Poultry Producer’s Association.  The program “incorporates the bacteriologic surveillance, biosecurity, and pest control measures developed by the USDA. . . .”  This program is part of the Federal Egg Safety Action Plan.  I recommend participating in programs like this spearheaded by the NYS Department of Agriculture & Markets.

Tomorrow, I will debrief my discussion with producers regarding farm animal cruelty laws here in New York on this blog so stay tuned!

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