The Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST) addresses concerns about how changes in livestock production practices can ultimately impact consumers in a new, eight-minute video. The video is narrated by Scott Hurd, DVM, Iowa State University. “Animal health is closely linked to public health,” Hurd says. He urges policy makers and consumers to carefully consider the implications that animal housing and animal care decisions can have both on the health of the animal, and, ultimately, on public health as well.

Many groups in society, including politicians, activists, scientists and stakeholders, are advocating for significant changes to livestock production practices. These changes include modification of stocking densities, limitations on antimicrobial use, and requirements for outdoor “experiences” for animals. Such changes may impact animal health. Simultaneously, consumers are demanding virtually risk-free food and believe food safety should be addressed on-farm as well as during processing. Many of these consumers do not understand the relationship between animal health and food safety.

In addition to the video, CAST addresses consumer concerns in a commentary prepared by a 10-member task force of subject experts. To broaden the reach of this important information, CAST is publishing a Spanish language version of the commentary too.

The commentary discusses the quantifiable impact animal health has on both public health and on the risk of foodbourne illness from farm products. The commentary also highlights specific research needs, while looking at the pressures being applied to change livestock rearing methods. The authors use anecdotal examples, diagrams and graphs to deliver their findings about the ways that healthy animals result in safer food.

The full Spanish text of the CAST Commentary QTA2012-1 SPA is available online only at the CAST Web site at, along with many of CAST’s other scientific publications. All CAST issue papers and commentaries are free.

The CAST video featuring Task Force authors is also available at the CAST Website here.