To our family of AWA farmers:
As an AWA farmer you already agree “humanely raised” and “sustainably farmed” claims on food labels should have real meaning behind them. After all, that’s why you chose to be certified.
But you’ll also know that major meat processors and other farmers are increasingly selling food products using animal welfare and environmental label claims that offer no assurance that farm animals were raised according to any real environmental, welfare or socially responsible standards. If left unchallenged, these products could ultimately threaten the future viability of your farm business.
We have an opportunity to make sure only those farmers who are doing the right thing have the right to use such claims.
The Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) has submitted a petition to USDA asking them to only approve animal welfare and environmental stewardship label claims if the food product is certified by an independent third party. Right now, USDA approves food label claims based solely on minimum industry standards and sometimes without supporting evidence from food manufacturers. This loophole is not only misleading to millions of consumers, but threatens the livelihoods of high-welfare farmers who deserve real recognition for their improved farming practices.
If this petition is granted it will mean producers and food manufacturers can no longer use “humane” or “sustainable” label claims without being certified by an independent third party to a standard well above the conventional industry minimum. It will also prevent markets from being flooded with misleadingly labeled food products that are undeserving of the claim and increased price tag.
You can help encourage USDA to grant this petition by signing the petition below.