Invited Paper: Customer and consumer confidence in the livestock industry-Professional ethics

L. Dwain Bunting, M. L. Galyean

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Close relationships between university scientists and research sponsors or other commercial interests increase the probability that research bias or conflict of interest (COI) will arise in the research process. University researchers can limit the chances that obvious or subtle forms of bias or COI will occur by (1) carefully managing relationships with sponsors and external parties; (2) using research practices that ensure unbiased management of data and publications; and (3) appreciating that bias and COI also occur when researchers begin to assume roles as experts in both public and sponsored venues. Specific good management practices to avoid COI or bias include (1) following institutional polices; (2) frequent self-evaluation; (3) seeking independent program assessment; and (4) reporting potential COI in publications. Drawing on examples from sales and marketing of specialized feed technologies, areas where the industry should increase its focus on training and mentoring to minimize opportunities for ethical conflicts include (1) emphasizing the importance of the quality and relevance of supporting data used for promoting product sales; (2) strengthening supplier training on products and technologies in the context of fair and ethical positioning, so that opportunities for both ethical lapses and misunderstandings are decreased; (3) reinforcing the importance of confidentiality in maintaining customer trust in suppliers; and (4) increasing recognition of COI as it can occur between consultants and their clients for recommendations of technologies in which the consultant has undisclosed financial interest.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)309-314
Number of pages6
JournalProfessional Animal Scientist
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2015


  • Bias
  • Business ethics
  • Client confidentiality
  • Conflict of interest
  • Industry-sponsored research


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