Facebook is a forum for us to communicate with our friends and supporters and sometimes to engage in respectful debate. We are pleased that so many of you have become our "fans." It is becoming increasingly difficult not to want to delete posts that are insulting or hurtful to the farmers in our program, many of whom are also fans of our Facebook page. Part of what we do on Facebook is share facts that will allow consumers to make informed choices. We are a program promoting high-welfare meat, dairy and eggs. We have a strong following of people who choose to consume these products, but want to assure that the animals were raised with positive welfare. These consumers understand that these products are safer, healthier and ultimately better for the farmers, animals and the environment.
Animal Welfare Approved program director Andrew Gunther is pleased to announce a new partnership with the American Grassfed Association (AGA) in which Animal Welfare Approved will audit AGA members for both AGA standards and Animal Welfare Approved standards. This new partnership begins immediately.
“Our standards require pasture and/or range access, which aligns us philosophically with the American Grassfed Association, an organization that protects and promotes grassfed producers and grassfed products,” remarked Gunther. “We are looking forward to a long and fruitful relationship that will provide great benefit to animals, farmers, the environment and consumers.”
Dr. Patricia Whisnant, President of AGA, added, “Animal Welfare Approved is the only certifying agency that shares all of our core values: no feedlots, no routine antibiotics or hormones, focus on family farms and humane treatment of animals. It’s a natural match and we are looking forward to working with Andrew and his seasoned team of auditors, advisors and marketing professionals.”
The annual audits will be provided to the farms at no cost, and, additionally, farmers bearing the seals will be provided free technical advice and marketing support.
The AGA standards are based on four principals: total forage diet, no confinement, no antibiotics and no added hormones. Members who adhere to these standards and meet the Animal Welfare Approved’s rigorous high-welfare standards will be able to use both American Grassfed Association and Animal Welfare Approved labels on their products.
AGA’s grassfed ruminant standards exceed the requirements for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s grassfed standard announced in October of 2007, which addresses the feeding practice alone. USDA animals are allowed to be confined to feedlots, given antibiotics and growth hormones to still be labeled “grassfed” as long as they were fed a forage diet.
Products from grassfed animals include beef, bison, lamb, pork, poultry, eggs and dairy. A variety of research shows that meat, dairy products, and eggs from animals fed grass diets, rather than grain-based diets, are higher in vitamin E, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), and Omega-3 fatty acids while being lower in saturated fat and cholesterol. Initial research shows promise that these compounds have positive benefits in reducing diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure and other life threatening diseases.