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verifying free range farming

A program that audits and certifies that family farms raising their animals humanely, outdoors on pasture or range.

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A Quick Tip by ktCakes

  • Mar 2, 2011
With so much green-washing in the market today, how can you be sure that any labels on your meat or dairy products mean anything? Naturally raised? Sustainably raised? Free Range? These terms have little value. One way to guarantee that your food is treated humanely is to see if it is Animal Welfare Approved. This certification is not easy to obtain and their standards are very strict. You can find farmers and read their standards on their website. http://www.animalwelfareapproved.org/
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March 03, 2011
Hi - I am a certifed organic and AWA farmer. kt is correct, the farmer does need to apply, but unlike other humane livestock certifiers AWA does not charge for the certification. This is very important because they have no financial interest in retaining a farm that isn't meeting the statndards and allows for much more objective oversight. They also only certify family-owned farms and require that ALL animals be raised on pasture, where I for one think they belong. Their are quite few AWA farms but it will take many more to feed us all. If you have a local farm you like encourage then to become AWA. They offer marketing and animal health expertise, as well as grants to their members. I just received a $5k grant to expand production. Please feel free to join us on our Food Ed site at: http://www.facebook.com/organic.pastured.poultry and thanks for thinking about your food!
March 02, 2011
Ooooh, I just checked out their site and did a search in my area. Do you know how inclusive the Animal Welfare Approved organization is? The list of approved products that I saw on the site for my local organic mart was very small when I know that they have more. Nonetheless, I appreciate the site and their mission. Thanks for sharing, Kate! :)
March 03, 2011
I think part of it is that the farmer has to apply, so perhaps the farmers at your market just haven't gone through the process. And the standards are pretty stringent. I found out about the organization because the farmer I get my beef from is AWA certified.
March 03, 2011
Ahhh, thanks for the info!
March 02, 2011
Thanks! Didn't know about that organization! :)
March 02, 2011
I don't think I knew about this standard...great to know! Some people are willing to go to the farm to check out the situation themselves... but they're definitely in the minority, so we need reputable standards like this...
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Kate H ()
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Member Since: Feb 8, 2011
Last Login: Mar 3, 2011 05:55 AM UTC
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The Animal Welfare Approved program audits and certifies family farms raising their animals humanely, outdoors on pasture or range. Farmers who earn the AWA seal benefit from having a third-party verification of their high-welfare practices and consumers benefit by knowing that the humane label means what it says.

Animals are raised outdoors on pasture or range on true family farms with the “most stringent” humane animal welfare standards according to the World Society for the Protection of Animals. Annual audits by experts in the field cover birth to slaughter.

AWA is able to offer this certification and technical and marketing services to farmers at no charge. Because AWA is not financially dependent on farmer fees, the program is unbiased and completely transparent.


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Green Living, Healthy Living, Gourmetbutcher, Organics, Free Range Farming


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