Understanding differing animal sustainability practices

Je suis américaine, and I have never been more aware of that. The differences have been major, but delving into animal sustainability issues in lecture today was a challenge for my American mind.

June 8, 2017 - Author: Emilly Kittendorf

Field in France with animals.

Je suis américaine, and I have never been more aware of that. The differences have been major, but delving into animal sustainability issues in lecture today was a challenge for my American mind. Challenge number one was the fact that France prides itself on region-based specialties.

From Roquefort Cheese in Roquefort, France to Pyrenees Spices from the Pyrenees region, every corner of France has something that is boastfully splashed on the labeling in the grocery store. This is sharply contrasted with America, as a beef cow produced in Oklahoma is marketed the same as a beef cow raised in Kansas. There is more land difference between Oklahoma and Kansas than there is between regions of France, but can the region affect management practices, breed of animals, and overall techniques enough to produce a difference in taste or quality?

The second challenge came with understanding governmental influence on agriculture. Large farms are not allowed by the government in France and each small farm is only allotted to produce as many hectares of crops as dictated by governmental officials. The overall regulation of agriculture is something that Americans are less familiar with. A person who wants to start a goat farm just needs to have the proper amount of land and abide by the area’s regulation instead of needing to consult the government first. Is having numerous little farms rather a few large ones effective for being competitive in the global market, having good animal welfare, and protecting farmer’s livelihoods?

While challenges appear to create drastic differences in agricultural practice and policy on paper, the spirit of American and French farmers are similar. Everyone wants to do what is best for their animals, improve the welfare of the farm, and incorporate modern technology to more easily produce safe, high quality animal products for themselves and consumers.

Michigan State University Michigan State University Close Menu button Menu and Search button Open Close