UACES Facebook Sept. 29 Center for Food Animal Wellbeing symposium offers virtual and in-person attendance
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Sept. 29 Center for Food Animal Wellbeing symposium offers virtual and in-person attendance

Sept. 15, 2023

By Jessica Wesson
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Fast facts:

  • Center for Food Animal Wellbeing’s ninth annual symposium set Sept. 29
  • Speakers from around the country to address animal welfare industry challenges
  • Register to attend virtually or in person:

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Newsrooms: with file image of Weimer, Caldwell

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — The Center for Food Animal Wellbeing will host its ninth annual symposium on Sept. 29 with a focus on sustainability and animal-human interactions.

Shawna Weimer
2023 SYMPOSIUM — Shawna Weimer, director of the Center for Food Animal Wellbeing, will host the centers 2023 symposium both virtually and in-person on Sept. 29. (U of A System Division of Agriculture photo)

Shawna Weimer, director of the Center for Food Animal Wellbeing, said the event aims to target a variety of professionals in animal welfare. Participants can choose ­to attend online or in-person at the Don Tyson Center for Agricultural Sciences, 1371 W. Altheimer Drive, in Fayetteville.

“This year, we are focusing on multidisciplinary approaches to sustaining positive relationships with agricultural animals in our lives,” Weimer said. “From both industry and academia, speakers will delve deeper into their perspectives and dedicated efforts in the area of animal welfare research innovations and assurance, with a specific focus on advancements in the United States.”

The center’s mission is to disseminate science-based information and drive innovation towards practices and technologies that cultivate animal welfare for ethical and sustainable food systems. The Center for Food Animal Wellbeing is a unit of the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station, the research arm of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.

The center’s team works closely with the Division of Agriculture’s Center of Excellence for Poultry Science and department of poultry science, the department of animal science and the National Agricultural Law Center.

Five speakers will address topics on beef cattle, equine and poultry welfare. The speakers for the event and their presentations include:

  • Courtney Daigle, associate professor at Texas A&M University: “You’re not operating in a vacuum: Assessing how the structure of the beef industry impacts cattle welfare.”
  • Nichole Anderson, associate professor of animal behavior and welfare at Texas Tech University: “Gotta’ walk before you can trot: What we currently know about equine welfare.”
  • Marisa Erasmus, associate professor at Purdue University: “‘Gaitway’ to sustainability: How the environment shapes the walking ability and welfare of meat poultry”
  • Karen Christensen, senior director of animal welfare for Tyson Foods: “Light gradient promotes freedom of choice.”
  • Elizabeth Rumley, senior staff attorney for the National Agricultural Law Center: “Farming by referendum? Ballot initiatives in the United States.”

“We will wrap up the symposium by bringing speakers from a diverse spectrum of expertise to engage in a roundtable discussion to exchange ideas with the audience,” Weimer said.

Event organizers encourage anyone with an interest in animal welfare to attend the free event, either in person or online.

To register for this event, visit

Event organizers are still seeking sponsors for this event. Sponsor logos will be displayed at the event to recognize their donations. To sponsor this event, visit

Learn more about the Center for Food Animal Wellbeing.

To learn more about Division of Agriculture research, visit the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station website: Follow on Twitter at @ArkAgResearch. To learn more about the Division of Agriculture, visit Follow us on Twitter at @AgInArk. To learn about extension programs in Arkansas, contact your local Cooperative Extension Service agent or visit

About the Division of Agriculture

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work within the nation’s historic land grant education system.

The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses.

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs and services without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.


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Media Contact: Nick Kordsmeier
Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station communications director