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Animal Welfare Approved Launches Monthly Series of Consumer Alerts

ALERT 1: HIGH WELFARE DOESN”T ALWAYS EQUAL HIGH COST

Tips for Shopping for Affordable Products from Animals Raised Outdoors with High Welfare Standards

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Animal Welfare Approved is pleased to announce the launch of a series of monthly consumer alerts to assist shoppers in understanding, locating and purchasing products from family farmers who utilize sustainable farming methods and raise their animals with high welfare standards.

There is ample evidence that products from pasture- or range-raised animals are safer (lower salmonella and E.coli for example), healthier (more vitamins, higher levels of omega 3 fatty acids, and higher levels of CLA-the good cholesterol), and better tasting.

But at what cost?

True or False? The release of Food Inc. has once again brought the cost of alternatively raised products to the forefront, but the relevant question is rarely answered: Are products from humanely and pasture-raised meat, dairy and eggs always more expensive than products from industrially (factory) farmed animals?

False: Animal Welfare Approved regularly monitors markets in rural and urban areas to track pricing trends and run price comparisons. A recent price comparison in the New York City area showed that beef tenderloin at major New York City supermarkets was priced higher, sometime significantly, than the same cut offered directly for sale by an Animal Welfare Approved farmer who makes deliveries to customers in New York City. Conventionally produced beef tenderloin found in four NYC supermarkets was $1.99, $2.99 $3.99 and $9.99 more per pound than the 100% grassfed Animal Welfare Approved tenderloin.

“There is a nagging misconception that buying your meat, dairy or eggs from independent farmers who raise their animals humanely will cost families a lot more money,” says Animal Welfare Approved Program Director Andrew Gunther. “That’s simply not true.”

Consumers looking for alternatives to industrially raised animal products are starting to think outside the box when it comes to stocking their refrigerators. “Some people like to comparison shop between supermarkets to get the best price for the best product,” Gunther remarked. “What many are doing now is comparison shopping between supermarkets and non-traditional food suppliers, such as farmers markets and farmers who supply directly to their customers and many are finding that humanely raised meat, dairy and eggs are actually quite affordable.”

In order to cut costs when grocery shopping, consumers will shop in large warehouses, clip coupons, watch sales circulars and/or shop hop. “All of that takes time,” says Gunther. “When shopping for healthier, safer animal products, we urge consumers to do the same and take a little more time to do research, educate themselves and engage their community or neighbors to work together for a healthier, more conscious shopping and eating regime.”

Here are a few tips for finding and purchasing products from humanely raised animals:

Buy Directly from the Farm-Making a trip to the farm is the easiest way to get to know who produces your food and to see for yourself if you are comfortable with the farm’s production practices. Most farmers will sell to consumers directly from the farm at a considerable discount, especially if you buy in bulk. Generally, even the densest urban areas are only an hour or two away from an agricultural belt. In some cases, once you’ve established a relationship with a farmer, you can set up an order and pick-up schedule. Farmers are also increasingly offering home delivery, having found that establishing a customer base in a given city or town increases their sales. Check with your local farmers to see if they would consider a delivery service to your neighborhood. Visit www.AnimalWelfareApproved.org, www.eatwellguide.org, www.eatwild.org, www.localharvest.org, http://www.ediblecommunities.com/content/ or www.americangrassfed.org for searchable databases of farms.

Join a CSA or Buying Club-Customers of CSAs pay an upfront fee to have a box of farm products
delivered to them or to a drop off point each week. Members of buying clubs order the products they need on a pay-as-you-go basis. In both cases, products are delivered to a drop-off point on a scheduled basis.

Frequent Your Local Farmers’ Markets-The number of farmers’ markets in the United States has doubled in the past ten years as consumers seek expanded control over their food supply. Look for a producer-only market where the farmers sell meat, dairy and eggs they”ve raised themselves.

In each case, consumers should ask tough questions: How do you treat your animals? Who does your processing? Are you Animal Welfare Approved? If you’re a patron of a local farmers’ market, find out from the market master what the requirements are for being a vendor and how often, if ever, a market representative visits the farm to verify they are adhering to market requirements.
Buying the meat, dairy and eggs you need to meet recommended nutritional requirements directly from farmers is both cost-effective, safer and healthier. “Most people,” Gunther says, “are realizing they have a right to be involved in their food choices from the beginning. They are no longer willing to listen to scare tactics about cost. Both farmers and customers are realizing that they don’t have to choose between their values and their budget. they’re coming together to provide products at a price that works for everyone.
delivered to them or to a drop off point each week. Members of buying clubs order the products they need on a pay-as-you-go basis. In both cases, products are delivered to a drop-off point on a scheduled basis.
Frequent Your Local Farmers’ Markets-The number of farmers’ markets in the United States has doubled in the past ten years as consumers seek expanded control over their food supply. Look for a producer-only market where the farmers sell meat, dairy and eggs they”ve raised themselves.
In each case, consumers should ask tough questions: How do you treat your animals? Who does your processing? Are you Animal Welfare Approved? If you’re a patron of a local farmers’ market, find out from the market master what the requirements are for being a vendor and how often, if ever, a market representative visits the farm to verify they are adhering to market requirements.
Buying the meat, dairy and eggs you need to meet recommended nutritional requirements directly from farmers is both cost-effective, safer and healthier. “Most people,” Gunther says, “are realizing they have a right to be involved in their food choices from the beginning. They are no longer willing to listen to scare tactics about cost. Both farmers and customers are realizing that they don’t have to choose between their values and their budget. they’re coming together to provide products at a price that works for everyone.”

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