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Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Arlington, Va., November 24, 2003 - The AMI Foundation's 2004 Animal Care and Handling Conference for the Food Industry will be held February 18-19, 2004, at the Hyatt Regency Crown Center in Kansas City, Mo. The conference has become one of the Foundation's most popular and last year attracted nearly 350 people.

Ten groups will cosponsor this year's event including the American Association of Swine Veterinarians, the Animal Agriculture Alliance, Food Marketing Institute (FMI), National Cattlemen's Beef Association, National Council of Chain Restaurants (NCCR), National Grocers Association, National Milk Producers Federation, National Pork Board, National Pork Producers Council and United Egg Producers.

The conference will feature a half-day general session and a full day of species-specific, practical information. Species tracks will cover cattle, pig and egg production and processing.

Leading journalist Elizabeth Weise of USA Today will keynote the conference and offer her thoughts on animal welfare from a journalist's perspective. Weise recently visited a beef plant and wrote a major piece for USA Today about her experiences and detailed new customer-driven animal welfare initiatives. Also speaking during the General Session is Eric Hess of SES, Inc., who will detail the new Animal Welfare Audit Program launched by FMI and NCCR.

In addition, many of the conference's most popular speakers will return to instruct attendees, including Temple Grandin, Ph.D., of Colorado State University, David Meisinger, Ph.D., of the National Pork Board, Tim O'Byrne of Calico Consulting and Janice Swanson, Ph.D., of Kansas State University.

For the first time, attendees at the beef track will learn about religious slaughter practices during the Beef Track from Joe Regenstein, Ph.D., of Cornell University. They also will hear about the impact of animal handling on beef quality from Brad Morgan of Oklahoma State University.

Attendees at the Pig Track will receive instruction from John McGlone, Ph.D. of Texas Tech University, Floyd McKeith of the University of Illinois and David Fraser of the University of British Columbia. Instructors in the Egg Track include Kenneth Anderson, Ph.D., of North Carolina State University and Charles Johnson of the Agricultural Marketing Service. Egg track attendees also will enjoy a special session on public relations and crisis management with leading public relations experts.

The conference also will feature a reception with exhibits to give attendees the opportunity to interact with equipment suppliers, consultants and audit firms.

"This conference stands to be the most practical and compelling ever," said AMI Senior Vice President of Public Affairs and Professional Development Janet Riley. "Last year attendees asked for more time to talk about the 'nuts and bolts' of animal handling. We've doubled the time in species tracks this year to provide more practical information and more opportunity to exchange ideas about best practices."

Animal Welfare Science Conference
The Animal Care and Handling Conference will be immediately preceded by a new animal welfare science conference - the International Meat Animal Welfare Research Conference (IMAWRC), to be held Tuesday, February 17. The IMAWRC, cosponsored by the Federation of Animal Science Societies (FASS), will offer important research updates about cattle and hog production, transport and processing. The conference also will include poster sessions in each area. A call for posters has been issued. To submit a poster for consideration, go to: http://www.fass-abstracts.org/meetinginfo.asp?meetingcode=61

Registration for the Animal Care and Handling Conference is $325 for members of AMI and the ten cosponsoring organizations, $295 when three or more members register together and $450 for non-members. Registration rates for the IMAWRC are $125 for AMI and FASS members, $250 for non-members. Attendees at both Animal Care and Handling and IMAWRC will receive additional discounts.

To register, visit www.meatinstitute.org http://www.meatinstitute.org or contact AMI's Senior Manager of Convention and Member Services Katie Brannan, kbrannan@meatinstitute.org , 703/841-3621. Brannan also may be contacted to reserve a table-top exhibit at the conference reception.

For more information contact:
Janet Riley
Senior Vice President
Dan Murphy
Vice President, Public Affairs

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