Despite the recent recession, it’s great to see that demand for high-welfare, sustainable meats, dairy products, and eggs continues to grow. As the public wakes up to the negative impacts of intensive farming, they’re looking for food labels that provide real assurances that the food they buy is healthful, and produced with animal welfare and the environment in mind. Many different businesses have now set up programs to offer consumers certain assurances about the food they buy. It goes without saying that the many different labels offered by food businesses vary enormously in terms of their scope and operation. However, most of the claims are centered on claims that farmers are using humane, sustainable farming practices, or that animals are fed a strictly controlled diet, or that medications or hormones are restricted or even prohibited. Since it’s impossible for each of us to go out and check the farms ourselves, we effectively take it on face value that the food label we choose to support really does deliver the benefits that it promises.
According to the WSPA, “This program [Animal Welfare Approved] currently has the most stringent animal welfare standards and includes certain animals not covered by other programs, such as rabbits and ducks. Animal Welfare Approved requires that all animals have regular access to the outdoors and prohibits physical mutilations like debeaking of hens and tail docking of pigs. This program also requires that producers be family farmers and does not allow producers that have dual humane and factory-farming operations to participate.”
WSPA has just released a new survey of almost 200 individual grocery stores throughout the U.S. to assess the availability of animal friendly foods on their shelves. Find out how your favorite store ranked in its report, available for download on the WSPA website.