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Animal Welfare Approved
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LABEL REPORT CARD
How meaningful is the label? Is the label verified? Is the meaning of the label consistent? Are the label standards publicly available? Is information about the organization publicly available? Is the organization free from conflict of interest? Was the label developed with broad public and industry input?
Highly Meaningful Yes Yes Yes No1 Yes2 Yes
1. Changes to the standards are made by the Animal Welfare Approved Standards Board. Its members are not listed on the website. Financial information and funding sources are not disclosed on the website.
2.
 
LABEL CATEGORY:
Sustainable Agriculture, Animal Welfare
 
WHERE YOU'LL FIND THIS LABEL:

 FOOD
  • BEEF
  • EGGS
  • LAMB
  • PORK
  • POULTRY
  •  
     
    WHAT THIS LABEL MEANS:
    The Animal Welfare Approved (AWA) label means that animals raised for meat, dairy or eggs were raised humanely from birth to slaughter. The AWA label is the only label that assures consumers that the animals were raised on a family farm with adequate and meaningful welfare protections and outdoor access, and was treated humanely during transportation and slaughter. For poultry, it is one of the only animal welfare labels that requires access to pasture.
     
    CONSUMERS UNION EVALUATION:
    How meaningful is the label?
    Highly Meaningful.

    The comprehensive standards require humane treatment, living conditions and slaughter of farm animals. There are minimum space requirements for all species, including for indoor and outdoor space. The standards prohibit routine antibiotic use, animal waste products in the animals’ feed, artificial growth hormones, and other drugs given in the absence of disease, such as the growth promotant ractopamine.

    It is the only animal welfare program that consistently, across species, requires meaningful outdoor access for all animals, and includes standards for ensuring that the outdoor space is well-managed. It is also the only animal welfare program that prohibits physical alterations such as beak trimming of laying hens and teeth filing of piglets. For certain other physical alterations, like castration of beef calves and piglets, there are restrictions in terms of maximum age of castration or methods used. The standards also cover humane treatment of other animals, such as prohibiting poison or leg traps for predator control.

    Is the label verified?
    Yes.

    The Animal Welfare Approved program is ISO-65 accredited and works with a team of auditors and certification staff who determine through yearly audits whether a farm meets the standards.


    Is the meaning of the label consistent?
    Yes.

    Are the label standards publicly available?
    Yes.

    Is information about the organization publicly available?
    No.

    Board of Directors: No. The Animal Welfare Approved label is a program of the Animal Welfare Institute, although this information is not shared on the Animal Welfare Approved website (and there is no link from the Animal Welfare Approved website to the Animal Welfare Institute website). The members of the Board of Directors of the Animal Welfare Institute are not listed on the Animal Welfare Approved website, but are listed on the separate Animal Welfare Institute website. Changes to the standards are made by the Animal Welfare Approved Standards Board. Its members are not listed on the website.

    Financial information: No. Financial information and funding sources are not disclosed on the website. The Animal Welfare Institute’s IRS Form 990 lists the primary revenue source of the organization as contributions and grants, but does not include the names of donors.


    Is the organization free from conflict of interest?
    Yes.

    Standards development: The organization has an extensive conflict of interest policy that prohibits board members and staff from having an interest in a certified farm or operation. The Standards Board sets the Animal Welfare Approved standards, and includes at least one producer. As an ISO-65 accredited certifying agency, the organization adheres to conflict of interest policies for standards development.

    Verification: The conflict of interest policy applies to anyone employed by the organization, including auditors on a contract basis.

    The Animal Welfare Approved program does not charge a fee for audits and certification, or for any other services. This adds an additional level of independence to the label, since there is no financial gain to granting certification.

    Was the label developed with broad public and industry input?
    Yes.

    Standards development: The standards were developed by a group of stakeholders including scientists, farmers, and farm animal welfare experts.

    Standards updates: Updates to the standards are developed in collaboration with members of the standard committee, certified producers, and the public. Draft updates are posted on the website for public comment.

     
    PROGRAM NAME:
    Animal Welfare Approved animalwelfareapproved.org
     
    ORGANIZATION:
    Animal Welfare Institute
    www.awionline.org
     
    ORGANIZATION SUMMARY:
    HISTORY
    The non-profit Animal Welfare Institute created a separate division to provide certification and promotion of humane animal treatment on family farms, establishing the Animal Welfare Approved labeling system in 2006.

    FUNDING
    The program doesn’t charge farmers for certification or advice. Animal Welfare Approved gets its funding from foundations and individuals, which the group wouldn’t identify because they have asked to remain anonymous. The group has no written guidelines for conflict of interest on the part of donors. The organization plans to begin a fee-based membership program to support farm and slaughter plant audits. In 2011, it will receive a $5,700 donation from The Pit Authentic BBQ restaurant in Raleigh, NC. Pit BBQ does sell AWA certified meat.

    STRUCTURE
    The standards are reviewed annually by the Standards and Approval Board. The board has the sole authority to change standards. Producer representatives and secretary do not have a vote. Board members may consult and advise companies that sell AWA products, but do not obtain a fee for it.
     
    LABEL STANDARDS:
    Animal Welfare Approved Standards
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