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September 12, 2006

National Commission to Study Health, Environmental Impact of Industrial Farm Animal Production

Emergence of Zoonotic Diseases, Including Avian Influenza, to be a Focus

The challenges all livestock, dairy and poultry producers face with the reemergence of avian influenza and other zoonotic diseases will be one of the topics of a two-year study by the National Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production (NCIFAP), members of the Commission announced here today.

The independent NCIFAP was formed by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The NCIFAP will conduct a two-year study of the public health, environmental, animal health and well-being, and rural sociological impacts of concentrated animal feeding operations.  The Commission, chaired by former Kansas Governor and Archivist of the United States John Carlin, brings together accomplished individuals from a variety of backgrounds, including academia, public health, agricultural production, the food industry, veterinary medicine and the general public.  At the end of the two-year study, the Commission will release a report to the nation, outlining its findings and making recommendations to policy makers.

“American agriculture is the most productive in the world.  As the number of farms has declined, the number of animals produced for meat consumption has increased.  That means animals are being raised in more and more concentrated operations.  The potential public health consequences, particularly the increasing threat of zoonotic diseases like avian influenza, will be studied by the Commission, as well as the impacts these types of operations have on the environment and rural communities. It is in everyone’s interest, including producers, that concerns are addressed and viable solutions found,” said John Carlin, Chairman of the Commission and former Kansas Governor and Archivist of the United States.

Other Commission members include:

Brother David Andrews, CSC, JD, Executive Director, National Catholic Rural Life Conference; Member, Iowa Food Policy Council; Fedele Bauccio, MBA, Co-founder and CEO, Bon Appétit Management Company; Michael Blackwell, DVM, MPH, Dean, College of Veterinary Medicine Univ. of Tennessee; Assistant Surgeon General (Ret.) USPHS; Former Chief of Staff, Office of the U.S. Surgeon General; Tom Dempster, State Senator, South Dakota; Most Rev. Richard Garcia, DD, Auxiliary Bishop of Sacramento, Diocesan Pastoral Center; Member, Board of Directors of the National Catholic Rural Life Conference; Dan Glickman, JD, Chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America; Former U.S. Sec. of Agriculture; Alan M. Goldberg, PhD, Professor, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; Director, Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing; Daryl Hannah, Actress; Advocate for biofuels and environmentally sustainable lifestyles; John Hatch, DrPH, Kenan Professor Emeritus, Health Behavior and Health Education, Univ. of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Public Health Thomas Hayes, President, Cargill Meat Solutions Corp.; Deirdre Imus, President and Founder, The Deirdre Imus Environmental Center for Pediatric Oncology; Co-founder and Co-Director of Imus Ranch, a working cattle ranch for kids with cancer; Dan Jackson, Rancher; Member, Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes; Former President, Western Montana Stockgrowers Association; Frederick Kirschenmann, PhD, Distinguished Fellow, Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, Iowa State Univ.; Served on USDA National Organic Standards Board; James Merchant, MD, DrPH, Dean, Univ. of Iowa College of Public Health; Leading expert on occupational and environmental health, rural health, and public health policy; Marion Nestle, PhD, MPH, Paulette Goddard Professor, Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health, New York Univ.; Bill Niman, Cattle rancher, Founder and Chairman of the Board of Niman Ranch, Inc.; Bernard Rollin, PhD, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, Colorado State Univ.; Leading scholar in animal welfare

Visit the Commission on the web at

Media contact for the National Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production: Ralph Loglisci at 202-223-2996 or

Public Affairs media contacts for the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health: Tim Parsons or Kenna Lowe at 410-955-6878 or