- Are your meat selections ruining the environment? Find out more…
- Don’t settle for anything less than the “gold standard”!
- Discover one easy way to make sure your groceries are healthy, sustainable, and humane.
Dear Living Well Daily Reader,
“All the arguments to prove man’s superiority cannot shatter this hard fact: In suffering, the animals are our equals.” — Peter Singer, Animal Liberation
In a time of factory farming, this couldn’t be a more relevant thought.
And since the horrors of these crowded and filthy farms often make the evening news, you don’t have to look too far to see our food system is in a sad state.
While seeing these distrubing and often gut-wrenching stories makes buying humane meat, dairy, and eggs a desirable option, it’s hard to know if your dinner is coming from an animal that enjoyed a life of eating fresh grass in an open pasture or spent its days locked in a manure-filled pen being pumped full of antibiotics and chemicals.
Labels are supposed to help, but sometimes they can just make the decision more confusing…
Grass-fed, grass-finished, antibiotic-free, pasture-raised, free-range, etc.… all these choices can be overwhelming!
At times, you may even find yourself just staring deep into the meat cooler or at the egg section paralyzed by confusion and wondering how to make the best choice for you, your family, farm animals, and the environment.
Well, it doesn’t have to be this way…
There is one label that you can depend on to ensure your meat and dairy products come from animals raised on farms with the highest animal welfare and environmental standards. We will discuss it in just a bit.
First, let’s discuss why purchasing humanely raised meat, dairy, and eggs is so important.
Factory farms, also called concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) or industrial farm animal productions (IFAPs), can hold more than 125,000 animals under one roof.1 These humongous animal houses offer the highest outputs at the lowest costs for the operators.
Unfortunately, this comes at a cost to the animals and the environment.
Animals can experience emotions like joy and often have complex social structures. Being forced into a contained area without the ability to interact or engage with each other in an outdoor pasture setting can have negative effects on the animal’s health.
Not to mention, the crowded quarters can lead to serious health issues for the animals and sometimes the people eating them.
Some of these public health dangers include E. coli, salmonella, and even antibiotic resistance.
Often, factory farms routinely give animals low levels of antibiotics even if they aren’t showing any signs of illness. When this unwarranted dosing happens, it creates ideal conditions for the proliferation of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and can even reduce the efficacy of antibiotics in humans.2
Another serious issue associated with factory farming is water pollution. Many factory farms collect, store, and then spread millions of gallons of animal waste to land adjacent to the farm.
When this happens, nutrients, fertilizers, bacteria, viruses, and antibiotics can be washed into local watersheds or seep into ground water systems. This can result in the contamination of public drinking waters or recreational areas. 3
And while the detriments of factory farming are clear, being sure you aren’t buying products that support it isn’t.
Make Your Purchases With Peace Of Mind
That’s why this label is so important:
Animal Welfare Approved (AWA), sometimes referred to as the “gold standard” for independent family famers, audits and certifies farming operations for animal welfare, sustainability, and pasture-based farming.
With the help of scientists, researchers, veterinarians, and farmers, the AWA created standards to increase high-welfare farm management.
Through this set of standards, AWA is the only label that ensures eggs, meat, and dairy are produced by animals raised with uninterrupted access to pastures that have the ability to enjoy instinctive behaviors, which encourage health and well-being.
In addition, AWA requires high-welfare slaughter practices.
Plus, they are a third-party certifier, which means their audits are separate from any conducted by the UDSA or FDA.
And to ensure access to farmers, AWA does not charge farmers to join their program. Since they don’t rely on certification fees, AWA can conduct impartial audits and provide consumers with humanely raised, quality products.
To find out more about AWA and if their products are in your area, click here.
If AWA products aren’t available in your area, be sure to purchase meat, eggs, and dairy products with a third-party auditor’s label on them.
If you are a Living Well Daily Insider, you can find out more about food labels in your How to Survive the Supermarket: Your Guide to Buying Safe, Healthy Foods With Confidence report.
If you’re not an Insider yet, click here to learn more.
Managing editor, Living Well Daily