Monday, May 11, 2009

Animal Welfare Approved

My farm had a very important visitor on Saturday. As it rained, a silver car pulled up to the barn door and a woman began to put on her decon outfit, her boots and gathered an armful of paperwork. Dr Wendy from the Animal Welfare Approved certification program had arrived to inspect the farm, animals, water, food, shelter, fencing and management. There are only 2 other farms with the certification in this state. I hope to be the next. This certification is different from the Certified Humane program. That program only certifies the "end " product of animals, such as meat, milk or eggs. I do not have an end product as I sell my cows live to the next person and it is that next person who will have an end product. Animal Welfare Approved is linked to the Grassfed Farmers Association and they have a more realistic approach to their certification standards. They understand that there are many seedstock and stocker producers who do not slaughter their animals. Instead we sell them as weanlings or yearlings. Dr Wendy was at the farm for 3 hours. Every field was visited, all water sources were discussed, all aspects of management, disaster plans, breeding plans, documentation, etc was evaluated. It may be weeks before I find out if I have been approved or not. No matter what the outcome, I am very impressed with how quickly, efficiently, thoroughly and effective this process has been. For more information on the requirements & standards;

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