This week on The Farm Report, host Erin Fairbanks is getting some expert opinions on recent newsworthy stories coming from the animal welfare world, most notably the January 19, 2015 New York Times article "U.S. Research Lab Lets Livestock Suffer in Quest for Profit." First talking to Paul Shapiro about the article and related issues, he is the Vice President of Farm Animal Protection of the Humane Society of the United States, and has played an integral role in numerous successful legislative and corporate campaigns to improve the plight of farm animals. In his role overseeing efforts to pass state laws and corporate policies, he works with lawmakers and major food retailers alike to implement animal welfare reforms in the agricultural industry. After the break, Erin chats with Sam Edwards of S. Wallace Edwards & Sons, a purveyor of Virginia Country ham, bacon, sausage and other specialty foods of the American South to get his reactions to the recent animal welfare questions raised by the New York Times article and food safety as it relates to pork. Tune in for a detailed discussion on these important issues. This program was brought to you by White Oak Pastures.

"Too often in America's meat, ag and dairy industry, suffering is the norm for these animals. We're waging a global effort to give a voice for farm animals." [8:48]

"You can't underestimate the importance of hearing from farmers on these issues because they will be the ones changing something to meet the new Starbucks demand" [19:27]

"The meat industry is so reliant on federal handouts that it takes huge numbers of taxpayer dollars to fund this Meat Industry Research Center [...] The meat industry can't pay for its own R&D but has to reply on the government? [...] Why should it get that kind of handout? [...] It's a kind of industry that loves to tout libertarianism but when it comes to wanting socialism in the form of government hand out, they have their hands cupped and out." [23:10]

---Paul Shapiro on The Farm Report

"In the USDA world I live in - there's zero tolerance. Everything is checked. If everything would be checked in the US why wouldn't the same rules apply for an imported product? I can't answer that." [34:13]

"There's 5,000 years of history of doing dry cured meats correctly not causing any food borne illnesses." [38:21]

"The marketplace drives what we sell. When started developing connections with companies like Heritage Foods USA to buy fresh pork that was certified humane, we did it just because the chefs or store we ultimately sold the product to demanded that." [47:03]

"A happy pig, in our mind, seems to taste better." [48:38]

--Sam Edwards on The Farm Report