The US Poultry & Egg Association served as another sponsor of the Chicken Media Summit, held in north eastern North Carolina last week. Members of the media were welcomed with warm, sunny skies as members of the poultry industry took us under their wings to share a little of their passion for the chicken community.
After a wonderful meal at Persimmons Waterfront Restaurant in New Bern, NC, I sat down with John Starkey. John is president for USPOULTRY and served as moderator for the second panel on Issues in the News. During that panel experts discussed poultry welfare, modernization of plants, labeling and the role vets play in modern poultry production. I asked John to address some of these issues.
“I think that is probably one of the reasons transparency has become important to us. We’ve let the animal rights activists define us in a way that isn’t very favorable. The truth is a lot different and we want to be able to show that. I guess that’s reactionary, but on the other hand it’s trying to get out ahead of it, so the next time you or another member of the media hears a report or story you have something to balance that perspective with.”
“Well really what we are doing is trying to catch up with the rest of the world. We are out there in the marketplace trying to compete with Europe and Brazil. They run their operations at a much higher line speed than we do. If we are going to compete, if we are going to continue to export and contribute to a positive trade balance in ag, which is one of the few sectors that has a positive trade balance, then we need to be competitive. These higher speed systems have been demonstrated safe by both consumer and employee in Europe and in Latin American countries. We don’t see a reason why we can’t move forward with them. Understanding we have responsibility to food and employee safety, but again the data clearly shows those can be maintained at these higher speeds.”
Listen to my interview with John here: Interview with John Starkey
Check out photos from the event here: 2013 Chicken Media Summit Photo Album