Target: Foster Farm
Goal: Commend poultry farm for being the first in the nation to carry the seal of the American Humane Association
Consumers are becoming more and more concerned with how their food is raised and grown, but with USDA regulation limited to slaughterhouses and processing plants, there is no federal regulation for farms and ranches. While participation is voluntary, the not-for-profit American Humane Association provides a welfare certification program that ensures the humane treatment of farm animals. Foster Farm recently became the first major broiler chicken producer in the nation to carry the American Humane Association seal, joining ranks with a small but growing number of livestock producers trying to raise food in a humane way.
The American Humane Association uses stringent animal welfare guidelines based on five basic tenets for raising farm animals: freedom from hunger and thirst; freedom from discomfort; freedom from pain, injury, and disease; freedom to express natural behavior; and freedom from fear and distress. Obtaining certification requires livestock producers to submit to annual audits by third-party inspectors and follow specific handling requirements. The auditors check over 100 criteria, including living conditions, diet, and natural behaviors, and they check 100% of a company’s farms.
Today, the American Humane Association certifies more than 100 producers. Foster Farm is the eighth largest broiler chicken producer, with 140 ranches throughout California and the Pacific Northwest, but the first to gain the seal.
In an industry under fire for the inhumane conditions under which birds are often raised (crowded, filthy cages, poor ventilation, and constant darkness to inhibit movement and foster more rapid growth), Foster Farm has made a commitment to giving their birds space and light that simulates day and night. “It’s the right thing to do for our birds, and we know that it is important to our consumers,” said Ron Foster, CEO of Foster Farm.
Commend Foster Farm for meeting the American Humane Association’s rigorous guidelines and listening to growing consumer demand for humane treatment of farm animals.
Dear Foster Farm,
Thank you for taking on the issue of animal welfare in an industry that is rife with inhumane treatment. By being the first broiler chicken producer to voluntarily achieve the seal of the American Humane Association, you demonstrate the concern for the well-being of your farm animals that consumers have been wanting. Animals should be allowed to be animals, and we applaud the fact that your chickens are not caged and are kept in conditions that simulate the natural cycle of day and night.
We hope that your efforts will affect other livestock producers and help move away from the inhumane conditions and maltreatment that too often plagues not only the poultry industry, but all of livestock production.
[Your Name Here]
Photocredit: jlastras via Wikimedia Commons