Like many of you, I have been watching the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil every night. I love watching our athletes and enjoy the stories about the host nation and its people. This worldwide event brings nations and people together to engage peacefully towards common goals.
I feel a special connection with these particular Olympics. I have made many trips to Brazil over the last few years to visit with farmers and producers about the Certified Humane program. It’s a beautiful country with many people committed to the higher welfare of farm animals.
The idea behind Humane Farm Animal Care(HFAC) and the Certified Humane program has always been to end factory farming through changes in the marketplace. Our program educates and asks consumers to shop for Certified Humane products. In turn, farmers and producers must respond to consumer demand for humanely-raised food by adopting our Humane Farm Animal Care’s Animal Care Standards.
The Certified Humane program has only been in Brazil for 9 years. We have seen a significant increase in consumer demand there for humanely-raised foods. Brazilian consumers are just as eager as we are in the U.S. and Canada to end factory farming and support standards that ensure farm animals live free of gestation crates and battery cages and can live, instead, in spaces where they can exhibit natural behaviors.
When we launched HFAC in 2003 in the U.S., we started with just 143,000 farm animals in the program. Today – and 5 countries later – more than 103 million farm animals are in our program annually – and this grows every year with the addition of more farmers wanting to be on the program.
HFAC is working peacefully with consumers towards a common goal too: To end factory farming through the marketplace and to bring the Certified Humane program and its standards to more farms and more producers worldwide. It’s a great feeling when we can realize our humanity through a common goal.