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Broiler chicken welfare on the agenda for 2017 Stakeholders Summit

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With activist groups pushing hard for restaurants, retailers and foodservice companies to adopt policies requiring the use of “slower growing” chicken breeds and new welfare standards for raising and stunning broilers, broiler chicken welfare will be up for discussion at the 2017 Animal Agriculture Alliance Stakeholders Summit. The 2017 Summit, themed “Connect to Protect Animal Ag” will be held May 3 and 4 in Kansas City, Missouri.

On a panel titled “Latest Target for NGOs: Broiler Welfare & Sustainability,” a group of expert speakers will offer perspectives on animal welfare in the broiler industry and meeting consumer demand while balancing environmental and economic sustainability.

Panelists include:

 Kate Barger Weathers, DVM, is the director of World Animal Welfare at Cobb-Vantress, Inc., a global primary breeder company dedicated to the development of broiler breeder genetics. Weathers leads the company’s animal welfare program and actively collaborates with a diverse group of engineers, scientists and poultry specialists to design and test new innovations to enhance animal well-being and bird health.

Mike Morris is the manager of Food Animal Programs for Yum! Brands. He has been employed with Yum for 11 years and provides technical guidance for global suppliers of beef, dairy, poultry and pork for Yum Brands including KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut. Morris’ responsibilities include oversight for global quality assurance, food safety, animal welfare and animal production programs.

Ken Opengart, DVM, Ph.D., is the vice president of Live Operations/Processing and Corporate Social Responsibility for Keystone Foods. Opengart has been employed by Keystone Foods for 13 years and during that time his responsibilities have included overseeing live operations, health and nutrition, animal welfare, biosecurity, pre-harvest food safety, sustainability and grain risk management programs.

 Matt Salois, Ph.D., is director of Global Scientific Affairs and Policy for Elanco Animal Health, a division of Eli Lilly and Company. Salois also holds a courtesy professor appointment with the Food and Resource Economics Department at the University of Florida. His current research and professional experience focuses on the role of innovation and technology in food and agricultural production, with a focus on animal health, sustainability and food security.

“Broiler welfare is certainly a hot topic this year, with several activist groups indicating current or future plans to launch pressure campaigns targeting consumer-facing brands,” said Kay Johnson Smith, Alliance president and CEO. “This panel will help our attendees to understand the current situation facing the broiler industry. It will also help arm our restaurant, retail and foodservice partners with truthful information about broiler production, welfare and stunning so that they have the necessary resources to navigate demands from activists, to address sustainability and animal welfare, and to meet the needs of their customers.”

Be sure to check the Alliance website for the most up-to-date Summit information. You can also follow the hashtag #AAA17 and #ActionPlease2017 for periodic updates about the event. For general questions about the Summit, please contact or call 703-562-5160.

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