Bill and Lee Barker moved to Polk County, North Carolina, in 2007, where they began to develop their nine-acre family farm. The Barkers raise AWA-certified goats and laying hens, as well as growing a range of fresh vegetables, herbs and flowers for sale to their local community.
Sandra Sorensen manages AWA pigs at Sorensen Farm—40 acres of mixed pasture and woodland, situated about 10 miles east of Benton, Illinois. After working in the industry for decades, she eventually became disheartened: “I had always been concerned with the plight of meat animals,” she says. “I could not become a vegetarian, so I decided that I would make sure the animals that I raised would have humane treatment.” What started out a small venture has blossomed: “I now sell pasture-raised pork at local farmer’s market and directly from the farm.”
We can be pretty certain that in the coming days we will hear this message over and over again “So what if most of the meat on our supermarket shelves is contaminated with antibiotic-resistant bacteria? If you handle and cook your meat properly then a few bacteria shouldn’t be a problem; and if you get sick with an untreatable disease then it’s your own fault.’
This is the kind of contemptible retort we can expect from the intensive meat industry lobby and its many trolls in response to new research by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), which reveals high levels of life-threatening antibiotic-resistant bacteria on raw supermarket meat. Yet the “cook it properly and everything will be OK” spin is just Big Ag’s latest attempt to absolve itself of any responsibility for squandering one of the most important medical innovations of our time– and putting American lives at risk.
Joey Rittenberry raises AWA-approved cattle and pigs on pasture at Rittenberry Farm in Burna, Kentucky. Rittenberry Farm is one of several trusted ranchers who supply high-quality grassfed cattle to the American Grassfed Beef brand. For more information, see americangrassfedbeef.com.
By Animal Welfare Approved
| November 19, 2012
This Thanksgiving, give thanks for pasture-raised food. Watch this video to see why pasture-raised products are so special.
By Animal Welfare Approved
| September 27, 2012
Katharine – or Katie – Short started Farm Girl Natural Foods in 2004. Originally beginning with sheep, she has since refocused her efforts on raising AWA pigs and beef cattle, and currently sells to a variety of local markets, restaurants and buying clubs. The farm has expanded to include co-workers Will, Ashley, and Amber. Katie now divides her attention between raising a few cattle, a plethora of pigs, and managing a rapidly expanding garden – as well as raising two children of her own.
By Andrew Gunther
| September 10, 2012
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS)’s recent decision to lift the federal regulation protecting wolves in Wyoming – and allow hunters and ranchers to shoot wolves on sight across 90 percent of the state – has reignited the decades-old conflict between wildlife conservation objectives and the ranching industry.
Native predator species, such as coyotes, bears, wolves and mountain lions, are critical to the functioning of ecosystems, helping to keep nature in balance. But as livestock farms and ranches have expanded, problems have often occurred where large predators come into direct contact with farmed animals, such as sheep and cattle. The FWS’s decision will allow anyone to shoot wolves on sight across most of Wyoming, although wolves will still remain off-limits inside the state’s national wildlife refuges and national parks, such as the Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks and the Wind River Indian Reservation.
But therein lays the crux of the problem: Most people still see “conservation” and “ranching” as two very separate – and often incompatible – objectives. In the pursuit of maximizing food production, we have done our utmost to eradicate the threat posed by nature to modern farming systems. At the same time, growing recognition of the damage that human activity is inflicting on the environment has fueled campaigns to protect and conserve threatened species and wildlife habitats.
Hugh Miller Sr. and Jr. are third and fourth generation farmers in Pink Hill, North Carolina. Hugh Sr. began raising pigs at the age of nine and Hugh Jr. began raising livestock when he was 12. Now father and son work together on the family farm, where they grow row crops and raise Animal Welfare Approved pastured pork.
Greg Kestner of Double Creek Farm has been raising cattle on his family’s land in Clayton, IL, about 25 miles east of Quincy, since 1976. While the farm has undergone many changes since then, his animals have always been pasture-raised outdoors with a focus on making sure to keep them happy and healthy. His Animal Welfare Approved herd now consists of around 100 White Park cows. Greg sought AWA certification in 2010 and was happy to learn that the AWA standards were well in-line with his own goal as a farmer to always act in the best interest of his animals.
By Animal Welfare Approved
| December 13, 2010
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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