Animal Welfare Approved is pleased to announce a call for proposals for its 2011-2012 Good Husbandry Grants. Now in its fourth year, the Good Husbandry Grants program has funded nearly one hundred projects across the country to improve farm animal welfare. Certified farmers and those who have submitted an application for AWA certification may apply for up to $5,000 towards projects such as mobile housing, breeding stock, and on-farm processing equipment. Slaughter plants working with or seeking to work with AWA farmers are also eligible for funding.
The funding priorities for this year’s cycle include improved genetics, increased outdoor access, welfare improvements in the slaughter process and non-lethal predator control. A primary goal of this grant program is to facilitate the growth and success of high-welfare, pasture-based systems. Program Director Andrew Gunther explains: “The biggest challenge in agriculture right now is getting animals outside. The science tells us that when farm animals are responsibly managed on open pasture or range, a whole host of challenges inherent in industrial agriculture simply disappear. For instance, the incidence of pathogenic E. coli is much lower in pasture-based systems, and animals are proven to have higher welfare. This ultimately leads to more nutritious, healthier products.”
In Marengo, IL, Hasselmann Family Farm’s 2009-2010 Good Husbandry Grant funded the construction of new mobile housing for the farm’s farrowing sows, facilitating the transition to pastured production. Since moving the sows onto pasture farmer Scott Hasselmann has seen numerous benefits – not only in terms of animal health and welfare, but in improved disease prevention, farm sanitation and whole farm fertility. AWA’s Good Husbandry Grants program will also continue its focus on welfare improvements in the slaughter process. Another 2009-2010 awarded to Fruitland American Meat in Jackson, MO funded the purchase of a new knock box and handling facility improvements. The modifications have allowed the plant to safely and humanely handle smaller animals such as lambs, hogs, and calves – improving animal welfare and helping the plant diversify its business.
Visit AWA’s Good Husbandry Grants page for additional information.