A recent newspaper article brought home once again the extraordinary reality of industrialized food production – and lengths that some in the US food and farming industry will go to in the pursuit of "efficiency." This time, it was an article in the LA Times about the currently legal practice of feeding US cattle so-called "poultry litter." An unlikely sounding cattle feed, poultry litter is actually made up of industrial chicken feces, spilled chicken feed, feathers and other poultry waste collected from the floors of factory farms across the US. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – which is responsible for protecting public health and is at the center of this current situation for continuing to permit poultry litter as a feedstuff – estimates that US farmers currently feed between one and two million tons of poultry litter to their cattle each year.
As Program Director for Animal Welfare Approved, a free third-party food label that certifies family farms raising their animals outdoors using high-welfare practices, I generally sit out ballot box battles over farm animal welfare. Our efforts at Animal Welfare Approved focus on supporting sustainable family farms, high-welfare production and consumer education. So the fact that I’m going to ask Ohioans to vote against Issue 2 this coming Tuesday will seem unusual to those who know me and my organization. But the case is clear. Our farmers are telling me that Issue 2 is not what it seems and attention should be paid. The basic problem with Issue 2 is summed up by Animal Welfare Approved farmer Dennis Adams of Cota Farms in Cardington. He says: “Issue 2 is not about farm animals, it’s about control. The measure is a fake, a sham.”
Asheville, NC Citizen-Times, October 27, 2009--The rural American landscape has changed in a way that can now imperil human health. In the name of efficiency, industrial farms have uprooted the family farm and the numerous jobs that go with it. Today the meat, milk and eggs on the average American’s table travel to supermarkets from places that more closely resemble factories than farms. On these industrialized operations, animals are confined indoors, in numbers far exceeding their natural social groups. They are forced to eat, drink, and in many cases stand in their own feces. These stressful conditions incubate and cause many diseases.
The first Vermont dairy recently passed its state certification to legally sell up to 40 gallons of raw milk per day. The certification is being given in two tiers—Tier 1 farms are only allowed to sell up to 50 quarts of milk per day and they do not have to be inspected or have their milk tested. Farms that wish to sell 40 gallons or more must be Tier 2 certified and both inspection and twice monthly milk testing is required. You may want to read the full list of legal requirements under Vermont’s Legislative Act 62 and as outlined in Rural Vermont’s Raw Milk Sellers Guide .
Animal Welfare Approved is pleased to announce that Eden Earthworks in Mountain View, Hawaii Lowline Cattle Company in Honoka’a, and Kauai Kunana Dairy on Kauai’s North Shore, have recently been awarded the Animal Welfare Approved seal for high-welfare animal husbandry. According to Animal Welfare Approved Program Director Andrew Gunther, “Hawaiians, like their mainland counterparts, are interested in purchasing locally produced farm products from sustainable, humane farms. Being able to find these products is especially important in a state where an estimated 85 percent of the food is imported. We are excited to be a part of the effort to grow Hawaii’s farming community and to make sure Hawaiians can purchase products that align with their values.”