Animal Science Department


Date of this Version



24th Range Beef Cow Symposium, Nov. 17-19, 2015, Loveland, Colo.


Copyright 2015 Jason K. Ahola.


An increasing number of consumers are making animal product purchasing decisions based on how animals were raised and cared for. This decision is, in most cases, based on labeling claims made on packaged products, point of purchase materials offered, and/or conversations with those selling the product. This issue is driven by consumers wanting to know more about how their food is raised and where it comes from. For the average consumer with no baseline knowledge, there appears to be a need for verification and validation that animals received appropriate care during their lifetimes and were treated as humanely as possible. As consumers want more information about their food products, and as brands are working to differentiate themselves, the third-party verification of these credence attributes (i.e. those claims made about a product that can’t be determined by simply looking at the product) continues to be in demand. And, scrutiny over the use of traditional cattle industry practices (i.e. dehorning, castration, and branding) and whether pain mitigation is provided to cattle undergoing these procedures, is increasing.