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Thursday, October 24, 2002

New Orleans, LA, October 24, 2002 - The American Meat Institute (AMI) Board of Directors today voted to make animal welfare a non-competitive issue throughout AMI member company plants.

AMI’s Animal Welfare Committee recommended the motion to the board. The committee hopes to develop a mentoring program that will allow plants that need to solve an animal handling issue to phone other volunteer “mentors.” These mentors might also offer plant access, if appropriate. The committee was inspired to make the motion this Summer, after the committee toured a pork plant with leading animal handling expert Temple Grandin, Ph.D., of Colorado State University. During the tour, Grandin was able to provide valuable instruction and commentary and the committee members engaged in a productive information exchange.

AMI and its members have a demonstrated, decade-long record of proactive animal welfare efforts. In the early 1990s, AMI established a relationship with Grandin, who authored the industry’s first Voluntary Animal Handling Guidelines for Meat Packers. In the mid-1990s, AMI, again working with Grandin, launched an animal welfare self-audit program for the meat industry that has been widely adopted and endorsed by outside groups.

In a landmark educational effort, the AMI Foundation in 1999 launched the industry’s first animal handling training conference. The conference has grown over four years and how attracts nearly 300 people involved in beef, pork, poultry and egg production and processing. Designed as a practical, solutions-oriented educational event, the conference gives attendees ideas and information they can implement in their plants to improve animal welfare.

“I am proud of the Board’s vote today because it reaffirms the industry’s ongoing commitment to ensuring optimal welfare in plants,” said AMI President J. Patrick Boyle. “Excellent livestock and poultry handling is good for animals and good for our companies. Consumers have the right to expect this of us and we are committed to meeting their expectations.”

AMI represents the interests of packers and processors of beef, pork, lamb, veal and turkey products and their suppliers throughout North America. Together, AMI's members produce 95 percent of the beef, pork, lamb and veal products and 70 percent of the turkey products in the U.S. Headquartered in Washington, DC, the Institute provides legislative, regulatory, public relations, technical, scientific and educational services to the industry. Its affiliate, the AMI Foundation, is a separate 501(c)3 organization that conducts research, education and information projects for the industry.

For more information contact:
Janet Riley
Vice President, Public Affairs
Josee Daoust
Manager, Public Affairs

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