RODALE INSTITUTE AWARDED TOP ANIMAL WELFARE CERTIFICATION
--Pioneering Organic Research Center earns AWA certification, highlighting the links between agriculture and sustainability--
KUTZTOWN, PA (November 25, 2014)—The pigs, laying hens, and dairy goats at Rodale Institute—one of the world’s leading non-profit research facilities dedicated to pioneering organic farming through research and outreach—are now Certified AWA. This certification confirms the animals at Rodale Institute are being raised in accordance with the highest animal welfare standards, demonstrating the organization’s commitment to the care of animals, land and the local community. AWA is widely acknowledged as the most credible and meaningful farm certification in North America, available to both organic and non-organic farms and ranches.
Rodale Institute is one of a handful of organizations in the world undertaking independent agricultural research. Through first-rate scientific research, the 333-acre working farm near Kutztown, PA, pioneers best practices of organic agriculture. In keeping with their work as a research farm, the Rodale Institute has set up a number of farm animal enterprises to examine how livestock and poultry systems can be managed organically and produce high-quality food for the market. With demonstrations involving different styles of livestock management systems, Rodale Institute shares its observations of animal health and behavior and trends in production using different breeds with farmers and scientists throughout the world. The Rodale Institute receives over 15,000 visitors every year.
‘Coach’ Mark Smallwood, Rodale Institute Executive Director, says
“When I first brought livestock onto the Rodale Institute farm just a few short years ago, the purpose was to create living, working models of the best practices in animal husbandry. We believe that the quality of life an animal experiences is reflected in the quality and taste of the products from that animal. Our animals work here. Our pigs till as they root, our chickens clean up after our pigs, our goats cut back the poison ivy, our oxen mow grass. We are not interested in simply meeting minimum standards of living space or daily hours in the sun, but encouraging these animals to thrive and to fulfill a meaningful purpose here on the farm. AWA understands our attitude because we have the same goals when it comes to animal welfare. We are more than proud to display their seal of approval.”
Andrew Gunther, AWA Program Director, says
“Rodale Institute has been pioneering sustainable farming methods for over 60 years, sharing their findings with farmers throughout the world to help them farm better. Despite claims from the industrial farming lobby that we need to further intensify livestock production systems, Rodale Institute’s comparative Farming Systems Trial—America’s longest running, side-by-side comparison of organic and chemical agriculture—shows that we can not only feed the world sustainably, but can also help to mitigate climate issues through non-industrial farming practices.”
“We are extremely proud of our growing reputation among farmers and the wider food industry as a pragmatic farming-based organization that is driven by practical science and whose farm standards are grounded in the everyday reality of farm life. It’s a testimony to AWA’s standing that an organization as widely-respected as Rodale Institute saw AWA as a natural partner to validate their livestock farming enterprises.”
ABOUT RODALE INSTITUTE
Since its founding in 1947 by J.I. Rodale, the Rodale Institute has been committed to groundbreaking research in organic agriculture, advocating for policies that support farmers, and educating people about how organic is the safest, healthiest option for people and the planet. The Institute is home to the Farming Systems Trial (FST), America’s longest-running side-by-side comparison of chemical and organic agriculture. Consistent results from the study have shown that organic yields match or surpass those of conventional farming. In years of drought, organic corn yields are about 30 percent higher. New areas of study at the Rodale Institute include rates of carbon sequestration in chemical versus organic plots, new techniques for weed suppression and organic livestock. For more information visit www.rodaleinstitute.org
ABOUT ANIMAL WELFARE APPROVED
Animal Welfare Approved (AWA) audits, certifies and supports farmers raising their animals according to the highest welfare standards, outdoors on pasture or range. Called a "badge of honor for farmers" and the "gold standard," AWA is the most highly regarded food label in North America when it comes to animal welfare, pasture-based farming, and sustainability. All AWA standards, policies and procedures are available on the AWA website, making it the most transparent certification available.
AWA's Online Directory of AWA farms, restaurants and products enables the public to search for AWA farms, restaurants and products by zip code, keywords, products and type of establishment. AWA has also launched AWA Food Labels Exposed, a free smartphone app guide to commonly used food claims and terms, available to download from the App Store or Google Play. A printable version is also available for download at www.AnimalWelfareApproved.org.