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Our world is still a hungry place. At the same time, the number of people worldwide who grow food for themselves continues to dwindle. Most U.S. citizens have never set foot on a farm or harvested one mouthful-let alone a lifetime's worth-of daily bread. Yet our farmlands and climates and our agricultural and food industries are this nation's ultimate resources. By increasing productivity, our farmers and the scientific and business endeavors that support our nation's food production, processing, and distribution have proved to be able and reliable husbands of these precious resources. But make no mistake: The challenge to increase food production in step with increasing demands is a huge one. It requires managing numerous elements of nature which are recalcitrant at best, while coping with others which are manageable or unpredictable, or both. Our agribusinesses have made the task simple; plenty of safe, wholesome, inexpensive food is available in our groceries every day. Again, make no mistake: Making this so has not been a simple task It is incumbent upon severe critics of American animal agriculture to recognize and appreciate this and to make their retrospective judgments accordingly.


Paper presented at the national conference, "Animals and Humans: Ethical Perspectives," Moorhead State University, Moorhead, MN, April 21-23, 1986.