In this episode, ILM Editor Isabella Griffiths is joined by Steven Sothmann, President, Leather and Hide Council of America (LHCA); Julia Herman, Beef Cattle Specialist with the U.S. National Cattleman’s Beef Association; and Ashley Lembke, Vice President of Food Safety and Quality Assurance, American Foods Group, to discuss animal welfare and the programmes that are currently being employed, as well as how this translates into the leather industry and the public perception of leather.
This highly engaging and informative talk delves into the challenges of the cattle industry with regards to animal welfare, best practice, latest traceability technologies and how cross-industry efforts can be galvanised to change the negative image of leather.
Julia Herman serves as the Beef Cattle Specialist Veterinarian with the Producer Education Team at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association in the U.S. With special interests in animal behavior and welfare, biosecurity, and producer/employee education, she seeks to prepare all sectors of the livestock industry to produce a safe and healthy food supply. Following graduation from veterinary school, she spent time in a beef cattle practice on the Central Plains before joining the veterinary school faculty as a livestock ambulatory veterinarian with Colorado State University. Julia’s applied research focussed on infectious disease affecting the livestock/wildlife interface which translated to preventative population medicine in the beef, dairy and other livestock industries. Herman earned her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine and Master of Science with an emphasis in Epidemiology from Colorado State University.
Ashley Lembke is the Vice President of Food Safety & Quality Assurance at American Foods Group. In this capacity, she oversees four beef slaughter facilities in the areas of regulatory affairs, food safety, quality assurance and animal welfare. She received her B.S. in Animal Science from Colorado State University, M.S. and Ph.D. from Texas Tech University in Animal Science with an emphasis in Meat Science – Food Microbiology. She also serves as co-chair for the Animal Welfare Committee at the North American Meat Institute and partners on leading the team in developing industry standards for humane handling of livestock in slaughter facilities.
Stephen Sothmann is the President of the Leather and Hide Council of America (LHCA). In this role, he represents and promotes the interests of the U.S. hides and skins industry before a wide-range of stakeholders, including U.S. and foreign governments, industry trade associations, media outlets and other organisations related to global leather production and trade. A native of Indiana, he received a Bachelor of Arts from Purdue University, a Master of Business Administration from the Indiana University Kelley School of Business, and a Juris Doctor from the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law.