Check out the ‘Best of the Humane Touch Blog’
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The end of the year approaches, reminding us of all the great things and interesting news that we’ve reported on the Humane Touch blog.We also realize it’s hard to keep up with everything we publish.
So we’re taking the opportunity today to take a look back and at the same time help you catch up with all the developments during 2011 at American Humane Association farm animal program:
- Luke Knowles was named Senior Adviser to American Humane Association’s Farm Animal Welfare Program.
- What will be the Top Food Trends of 2012? How do they relate to farm animal welfare? Learn more.
- Steve Spielberg has a remarkable new movie, War Horse, that just happens to have a close connection to American Humane Association. Learn what it is.
- Looking for a good read that also would make a great holiday gift? Let Robin R. Ganzert, CEO and President of American Humane Association, offer a suggestion.
- We were thrilled to welcome some tremendous food producers to the ranks of Certified. Learn more about Just BARE Chicken, OK Foods, and Springer Mountain Farms announced a partnership with Food Network superstar Paula Deen to produce and package her branded line of chicken products.
- We cheered a ground-breaking vote on April 11 in the Washington state House of Representatives approving Senate Bill 5487 – a historic piece of legislation significantly improving animal welfare in commercial egg-laying chicken operations, based on guidelines developed by the scientific panel at American Humane Association.
- American Humane Association applauds the proposal for federal legislation by United Egg Producers to move egg-laying hens into the kind of “enriched colony systems” long endorsed and promoted by American Humane Association.
- The Celebrity Chef Tour benefit on June 15 in Denver benefitting The James Beard Foundation was a testy, sold-out smash.
What standards do we use to determine farm animal welfare? Glad you asked
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But we still get asked one question a lot: “What exactly are the standards you use to determine if a farmer or rancher is practicing good animal welfare?
We’re always glad to answer that science-based standards make up the core practices of the American Humane farm animal welfare certification program. And how did we create those standards? We asked the people who know: animal science experts, familiar with all species
The standards were built upon accepted values including the Four Freedoms as used by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the 1999 Federation of Animal Science Societies Guide, and other practical standards and animal husbandry guidelines.
We also knew that we couldn’t create one set of standards that would last forever. In order to maintain the program’s effectiveness, American Humane regularly reviews and updates the standards with our distinguished Scientific Advisory Committee and Fellows, which includes the likes of Temple Grandin, one of the world’s foremost livestocl experts
Want to learn more about our standards? Visit here.
Agricultural Policy Expert Luke Knowles Named Senior Adviser for American Humane Association Farm Program
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Luke Knowles, former Special Assistant to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and an expert on the link between sustainable agriculture and rural development, has been named Senior Adviser to American Humane Association’s Farm Animal Welfare Program. In this role, he will be advising the 135-year-old nonprofit organization on agricultural policy and the expansion of American Humane Association’s growing array of programs addressing issues of health and well-being in rural America – especially as they impact the lives of animals, children, families and rural communities that feed our nation.
“Luke is the right person at the right time for this important role,” said Dr. Robin Ganzert, president and CEO of American Humane Association. “As the global population soars and people rightly become more concerned about how their food is raised there are additional opportunities for America’s farmers not only to feed the world’s children and families, but to do it in a humane and sustainable way. We are committed to creating programs and initiatives that encourage and support responsible farmers, ranchers, and others, and lead to a safe and humanely raised food supply that benefits farm animals, rural communities, and children and families nationwide.”
American Humane Association was founded nearly 150 years ago on issues central to rural America and reflective of core American values. Among the organization’s first campaigns were successful efforts to improve care and treatment during the transportation of farm animals. American Humane Association’s newest innovative initiative – Rural America Landscape: Healthy Children and Healthy Animals in our Nation’s Heartland – has the ambitious and vital mission of addressing the core challenges facing rural communities under a unified banner of sustainable, smart, healthy, and humane food systems.
Knowles has the depth of knowledge and experience to make a substantial contribution to this effort. As Special Assistant to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, he developed and coordinated Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food, a USDA initiative to support local and regional food systems. In this capacity, he managed a department-wide task force of USDA employees and engaged audiences in the USDA’s work through a range of platforms. He is a leader in food systems issues, having presented at such prestigious gatherings as TedX Manhattan.
“American Humane Association is an organization with the reputation and capability to further a positive dialogue between agricultural producers and consumers,” Knowles said. “The organization has recognized animal welfare as central to the sustainability of food and agriculture. I’m proud to work with them in improving life for children, animals, families, and rural communities all across America.”
What’s next in food? Supermarket Guru Predicts Top Trends in 2012
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It’s that time of year when newspapers, magazines, columnists — you name it — predict what will happen next year.
While many of those predictions miss the mark by a country mile (which explains why you so rarely see the results examined one year later), they still provide a sense of what people are thinking about and how things are changing.
Which brings us to Phil Lempert, the Supermarket Guru, who has just dished up his Top Food Trends for 2012. Some strain at the obvious (“Food prices keep rising”), while others strike us as intriguing. “Listen for the Sound of Food,” for example, suggests “Psychologists and food scientists (will join) forces to design, create and influence the sounds of our foods to convey freshness, taste and even health attributes.”
We especially like the trend “Increased Emphasis on Farm to Fork Journey,” which reminds that “shoppers are increasingly interested in knowing where their food comes from.” Of course, that’s one of the great things about our Certified program for producers. Not only will shoppers know where their food is coming from, they’ll know that it was produced in a humane way as determined by third-party certification.
We also were glad to see the list mention a trend with which we are very familiar: “A growing number of farmers are leading the conversation by using blogs and social media to bring the story of the American farmer to consumers.” In fact, we wrote about it just recently.
Read the Top Food Trends of 2012.
Spielberg’s ‘War Horse’ delivers gripping World War I drama as well as a little American Humane Association history
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The holiday season always bring a variety of high-octane movie releases, but the one we’re anticipating this year isn’t about space aliens or vampires.
We’re counting the days until the Christmas Day release of War Horse, a Steven Spielberg-directed film about a young man, a horse and the war that pulled them apart. The gripping World War I movie is based on the 1982 young adult novel by Michael Morpugo.
In addition to looking forward to its wonderful animal story, we’re also excited about the historical connection the movie represents. You see, American Humane Association began doing animal relief in August of 1916, after it accepted an invitation by the War Department to help animals used by the U.S. Army during World War I. The invitation resulted in the development of the American Red Star Animal Relief Program known today as Red Star Animal Emergency Services.
So put War Horse on your “must” holiday viewing calendar and, until then, check out these great stories about the movie (of course, it earned our “No Animals Were Harmed” credit) from Hollywood Reporter and USA Today.
An inspirational read: “Animals and the Kids Who Love Them”
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That was the case earlier this year when Robin R. Ganzert, President and CEO of American Humane Association, along with board member and pet expert Steve Dale, were approached by authors Allen and Linda Anderson to write a foreword to their book: Animals and the Kids Who Love Them.
Robin notes in her American Humane Association blog: “We jumped at the opportunity, for this title could not sum up the work of American Humane Association more accurately. We are one of the nation’s oldest humanitarian organizations, and the only one with the dual focus of preventing abuse, neglect and abandonment for both children and animals.”
That resulted in a close read of the book, which Robin calls “inspirational.” See what else she has to say about what figures to be a great holiday gift for any animal lover on your list. Read more. You can buy the book here.
American Humane Association Welcomes Just BARE Chicken as a Certified Producer
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American Humane Association’s farm animal welfare certification program is proud to announce its newest American Humane Certified™ producer – Just BARE® Chicken.
This premium, all-natural brand of chicken, distributed by Minnesota-based GNP Company, has no antibiotics, no added hormones, no animal byproducts, and no unwanted solutions or additives. It has traceability to the family farm where it was raised, and the promise of a lighter environmental footprint, as proven by the carbon reduction logo on every package.
“Just BARE Chicken is an exciting addition to the ranks of American Humane Certified producers,” said Robin R. Ganzert, Ph.D., President and CEO of American Humane Association. “The brand’s focus on caring practices, transparency, and high quality standards for its chickens is a perfect match for our farm animal welfare program.”
In early 2012, the American Humane Certified seal will be added to labels of the company’s fresh and frozen lines of Just BARE all-natural chicken, which include items ranging from hand-trimmed boneless, skinless chicken breast fillets to whole chicken to boneless, skinless chicken thighs. The American Humane Certified seal signifies that an independent, third-party audit verified that Just BARE’s animal care and handling processes met the more than 200 standards certified by American Humane Association.
According to Julie Berling, Director of Brand Advocacy and Marketing for Just BARE, only a few small changes were required for the brand to achieve certification. This didn’t surprise Berling, since the respectful care and handling of its chickens has been a priority for the company since it was founded in 1926.
“For us, the real benefit of Just BARE becoming an American Humane Certified producer is the access to the leading thinking on animal welfare of American Humane Association and the added consumer trust and confidence third-party certification provides,” Berling explained.
In October 2010, GNP Company conducted a study with its consumer panel to determine how much trust consumers place in various levels of animal welfare claims. Choices included certification by a third-party animal welfare association, by a government or industry association, or by a company’s own records. Nearly 62 percent of Just BARE target consumers said they placed a high degree of trust in certification by a third-party animal welfare association, as long as it was executed by a known and reputable certifier — more than twice that of each of the other two options.
“With its founding association dating back to 1877, it being the nation’s first and fastest-growing farm animal welfare program, and its sound, science-based standards,” Berling said, “the American Humane Certified Farm Program fits the bill as a known and reputable certifier and, in our opinion, is the best and strongest choice for animal welfare certification.”
OK Foods also is a Certified Producer. Learn more.
This hot new calendar is from down on the farm
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So it only makes sense that farmers would have their moment in the sun as well. Which brings us to the Farmers of the Front Range, a wall calendar that highlights Northern Colorado farmers for all 12 months of 2012. Atfter all, what’s hotter than local food?
According to the website Pitchfork Pinups (now THAT’s a good name), in addition to photos, each month includes “a glossary of commonly used local food terms, a monthly seasonal local food recipe and biographical information for each farmer.” Even nicer, Pitchfork Pinups promises to “donate all profits after taxes to the farmers featured.”
So consider this as a great holiday gift that can educate your friends about sustainable farming as well as lend some support to that farming. (Buy it here.)
Not to mention you’ll have a lot of “hot”‘ farmers to look at all year.
How do consumers think about the way farmers and ranchers raise their food?
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One way to learn more about that relationship is to read the “2011 Consumer Trust in the Food System” survey conducted by the Center for Food Integrity. A few highlights of the survey include:
- Most consumers consider most U.S. farms “commercial.”
- The top food priorities for consumers includes safe, affordable and nutritious food.
- Consumers fear that U.S. farmers are placing profit ahead of principle.
Trent Loos talks about why he’s an ‘agrovate’ (and a whole lot more)
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It’s fair to say that Trent Loos is never at a loss for words.
The peripatetic Loos has a radio program, is a contributing columnist to High Plains Journal and also blogs.
Recently, Chuck Jolley of Drover’s CattleNetwork spent “Five Minutes With Trent Loos” and discussed (no surprise) a wide variety of topics, including why he’s an “agrovate,” the “importance of food as a matter of national security” and even his politics.
As always, Loos had a lot of interesting things to say. Read the Q&A.