biology is advancing at an exponential rate. Thus, research in animal nutrition can be largely based on knowledge of biological principles and fundamental concepts rather than a trial and error approach.
Food products derived from animals are important components of human food production throughout the world. The CAN reports have played an important role in providing scientific-based information on the nutrient requirements of animals and the nutrient composition of feedstuffs. Reports have been translated into five languages, and their use represents a key element in providing for the needs and well-being of animals. Their present value and future potential can be broadly divided into five topics - sustainable agriculture, food safety and public health, animal welfare, environmental quality, and international trade and development.
Agriculture is and will always be a vital industry because of our need for a safe, high quality, affordable food supply. Animals and knowledge of animal nutrition are key components to an integrated farming system. At the individual farm level, animal nutrient needs are of critical importance in the development of whole farm nutrient management programs. At the industry/farm level, animal use of nutrients represents a key component in utilizing food industry byproducts and the formulation of a "system" nutrient management program.
The CAN reports provide the latest nutritional information so that various feedstuffs and byproducts can be considered on an individual farm basis and utilized in formulating balanced diets for livestock. For example, even now, 25 percent of poultry and swine diets and 50 percent of Florida dairy cattle diets are byproducts from human food and fiber industries. In fact, a few years ago Anheuser Busch proudly advertised that their distiller's grains were used in the diets of ruminants, which represented an effective part of their waste recycling program. The use of byproducts as animal feeds is expected to increase in the future and will continue to be an important component in the food industry's nutrient management programs.
Feeding animals appropriately improves their ability to produce high quality food products. The composition and nutritional quality of milk, eggs, and meat can all be affected by the diet the animal consumes. For example, if an animal is fed a diet that is inadequate in certain vitamins, then the vitamin content of food products from those animals will also be below normal.
When animals are adequately nourished, their resistance to disease also improves, which reduces the potential for animal pathogens that might adversely affect public health. Improving animal health through nutrition also decreases the need for drug treatments, which reduces the potential of drug residues. Thus,