Tyson Center for Food Animal Wellbeing Hosts 2022 Symposium

The Tyson Center for Food Animal Wellbeing hosted its first symposium since 2017, and speakers addressed current poultry welfare challenges and where the industry is headed in the future.
Jessica Wesson

The Tyson Center for Food Animal Wellbeing hosted its first symposium since 2017, and speakers addressed current poultry welfare challenges and where the industry is headed in the future.

The Tyson Center for Food Animal Wellbeing hosted its first symposium since 2017, and speakers addressed current poultry welfare challenges and where the industry is headed in the future.

Shawna Weimer, director of the center, which is part of the Center of Excellence for Poultry Science within the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, said she started planning the first symposium when she arrived in Arkansas earlier this year.

"This symposium marks a public revival of the Center for Food Animal Wellbeing," Weimer said. "We will continue the tradition of hosting an annual animal welfare symposium for years to come. CFAW is housed in the Center of Excellence for Poultry Science, and we also wanted to let the poultry industry to know that we are here and ready to get to work."

Weimer said involving the public in the Center for Food Animal Wellbeing revival is essential to moving toward combating animal welfare challenges.

"Public-private partnerships are key to moving the needle forward to improve the lives of animals we raise for food," she said. "These relationships are the infrastructure for real innovation and impact. It is important for the public to understand that animal welfare is a very complex topic, and the answers to animal welfare questions are not often simple."

This year's symposium, "Flocking Together to Address Poultry Welfare Challenges," focused on poultry welfare.

"The center has a close collaboration with the Poultry Extension Collaborative, a group of U.S. poultry welfare academic experts, and this symposium provided an opportunity for the collaborative to showcase research," Weimer said.

Speakers included:

  • Amelia Woods — poultry welfare manager, Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization
  • Brian Wooming — veterinarian, Cargill Protein
  • Dallas Wynn — senior manager of animal welfare, Tyson Foods
  • Elizabeth Bobeck — associate professor, Iowa State University
  • Leonie Jacobs — assistant professor, Virginia Tech
  • Prafulla Regmi — assistant professor, University of Georgia
  • Whitny Haley — director of animal welfare, Simmons Foods Inc.

Speakers presented on a variety of topics surrounding poultry welfare including research, auditing and industry relations.

"In one way or another all presenters spoke to the need for advanced poultry welfare research, the importance of team-oriented approaches and how humans are the most influential piece of the puzzle to improve the lives of poultry," Weimer said.

There were over 100 people registered for in-person attendance and approximately 140 people registered for virtual attendance. The Center for Food Animal Wellbeing also received numerous sponsorships from various donors.

"We received $8,000 in sponsorship from animal welfare organizations and poultry industry and allied industry companies that we are so appreciative to receive," Weimer said. "We were also able to offer seven continuing education credits for Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization certified auditors."

Sponsors included:

  • Gold: Tyson Foods, Cargill Protein
  • Silver: Cobb-Vantress
  • Bronze: Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization, Universities Federation for Animal Welfare, ONCE Animal Lighting, Peco Foods, and International Flavors & Fragrances Inc.

"We would like to thank the speakers, sponsors and all of the hard work that folks at the university put into making this event a success," Weimer said. "We look forward to seeing everyone next year."

Future symposiums will include more agricultural animal species and stakeholder perspectives on animal welfare.

View the recordings from this year's symposium.

About the Tyson Center for Food Animal Wellbeing: The Tyson Center for Food Animal Wellbeing's mission is to disseminate science-based information and drive innovation towards practices and technologies that cultivate animal welfare for ethical and sustainable food systems. The center team works closely with three units within the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture: the Center of Excellence for Poultry Science, the Department of Animal Science, and the National Agricultural Law Center. The center's goal is to improve animal health, handling and productivity through husbandry's practices that optimize welfare. The Center for Food Animal Wellbeing hosts a symposium for professionals in academia, research and industry to gather and discuss current challenges, research and solutions in animal welfare. Learn more about the Center of Food Animal Wellbeing.

About the Division of Agriculture: The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture's mission is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work within the nation's historic land grant education system. The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses. The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs and services without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

 

 

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