In response to Facebook Fan Lisa’s questions regarding the source of the bison burgers she purchased and also about the USDA rule regarding feedlots for Certified Organic bison and cattle, we emailed her the following information: Unfortunately, Superior Midwest Foods said they wouldn’t be able to tell us the names of the bison farms for their burgers. They said they get the bison meat from several different farms, make it into burgers and ship them off to the retailers. This means the bison could have been raised on pasture or on a feedlot, no one really knows. Regarding Certified Organic, sadly, this certification does not guarantee that the animals didn’t come from feedlots. While certified organic does require that the animals have access to the outdoors, and ruminants must have access to pasture with exception of the “finishing phase”, this doesn’t mean they actually have to go outdoors and graze on pasture to be considered organic or not be on a feedlot. To avoid this issue buy only from AWA or AGA farms as they are the only two labels that prohibit feedlots. A good source of advice would be http://www.organicconsumers.org/.
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.