NAIA policy statement: Agriculture

NAIA supports the breeding and raising of animals for food, fiber, and draft when responsible and humane animal husbandry procedures and sustainable land use practices are followed.

Modern American agricultural methods supply us with an unprecedented bounty of quality meat, eggs and dairy products and with leather, wool, furs, and myriad items derived from animal byproducts. The vast majority of Americans enjoy these products as part of a well-balanced diet or lifestyle, and developing countries look to US agriculture to help them overcome the devastating problems of malnutrition, starvation, and economic hardship that plague their nations.

Livestock farming represents an ancient partnership between animals and man. Sheep, cattle, goats, and poultry have sustained human families for millennia and have made civilization possible. Many Americans prefer environmentally-friendly natural animal fibers such as wool, leather, and fur over synthetic fibers that use non-renewable petroleum-based resources in the manufacturing process. In addition, the byproducts of meat and fiber production are invaluable as raw materials for products ranging from pharmaceuticals to industrial oils, photographic film, and fertilizer.

NAIA believes that livestock agriculture is beneficial to society and to the animals when they are raised in accordance with established humane animal husbandry practices. NAIA also recognizes the contributions that farmers and ranchers make to wildlife conservation and notes that livestock can be raised in a manner compatible with wildlife and habitat management if peer-reviewed environmental science is conducted and the principles of sustainable use are upheld.

The use of draft animals is rare in our society, but some homesteaders, religious groups and family farmers use horses and oxen to plow their fields or for transportation, and many living history museums demonstrate past farming practices with horses, mules, and oxen. Some horse breeders and fanciers participate in parades or provide horse-drawn carriages as tourist attractions, and horse-drawn vehicles are also a mainstay of the Amish, a religious group that rejects modern conveniences. NAIA appreciates and supports these uses of draft animals under circumstances that provide for animal well-being.

Suggested reading:

Be sure to see these additional NAIA policy statements
Pet Ownership / Dogs / Pets and the Community / Guardianship / Animals in Entertainment
Animal husbandry / Animal Careers / Agriculture / Research / Wildlife / Mandatory Spay/Neuter Legislation