Leading academics across four continents have joined U.S., Canadian, and international organizations representing millions of farmers, producers, and veterinarians to sign an open letter pushing back against misinformation around animal agriculture during the pandemic.
Signatories — including the Animal Agriculture Alliance, World Veterinary Association, and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) — clarified that domestic livestock production is safe and has not played a role in the spread of COVID-19, despite recent (and entirely unfounded) claims.
The letter calls for governments and authorities to reassure consumers around the safety of meat, milk, eggs, and fish while also working with farmers and veterinarians to share lessons and expertise around animal health.
This has been signed by more than 65 farmer groups, producer associations, veterinarians and researchers, including Animal Agriculture Alliance, North American Meat Institute, and American Feed Industry Association. Multiple academics from UC Davis, Iowa State, and University of Arkansas, and former USDA Undersecretary for Food Safety, Richard Raymond. This is alongside similar global, European and Canadian groups.
“Our world needs the contributions of livestock. Globally, 1.3 billion people depend on livestock for their employment, while billions more rely on livestock to provide food for their families. Animal agriculture provides milk, meat, fish, and eggs at a time when access to safe, nutritious and affordable food is necessary to fend off a potential global hunger crisis, and offers invaluable support for farmers facing severe, often existential, economic hardships.”
The letter continued: “We urge authorities, intergovernmental groups, and NGOs to support these efforts by:
- Reaffirming the safety of livestock production and reminding consumers of our robust food safety system, including the important role of veterinarians and animal nutrition.
- Refuting misinformation that tries to manufacture a link between livestock and the spread of Covid-19.
- Consulting with livestock experts, including farmers and other stakeholders in the feed and food chain to understand how to aid their efforts to feed communities.
“During this pandemic, livestock farms and the value chain are working tirelessly to ensure we have safe and affordable food to eat and drink. It’s vital that society supports these efforts and tap into their knowledge to build a more resilient world in the future.”
The Open Letter is available to read here.