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First Light

First Light leading the charge on animal welfare: becomes first New Zealand meat company to earn Certified Humane® status

First Light has become the first New Zealand meat company to be awarded internationally recognised Certified Humane® accreditation, another milestone in the business’ continued commitment to animal welfare.

Certified Humane® is a recognised global animal welfare standard administered by Humane Farm Animal Care, the US’s leading non-profit certification organisation dedicated to improving the lives of farm animals in food production, from birth to slaughter.

“The goal of the programme is to improve the lives of farm animals by driving consumer demand for kinder and more responsible farm animal practices. We are encouraged that a New Zealand meat company is taking animal welfare seriously. The extreme need for improvement in farm animal welfare is a global challenge we at Certified Humane® are prepared to help address,” says Humane Farm Animal Care’s chief operating officer Mimi Stein.

“When consumers see the Certified Humane Raised and Handled® label, they are assured that the food product has come from a facility that meets precise standards for farm animal treatment, including the quality of feed, the absence of sub-therapeutic antibiotics or growth hormones and environmental considerations such as the animal never being kept in a cage, crate or stall. Additionally, the processors must comply with the American Meat Institute standards, a slaughter standard written by world renown scientist Dr Temple Grandin,” she adds.

For First Light, the certification is another step in ensuring animal welfare remains its priority across the entire grass-fed Wagyu supply chain, from breeding to processing.

“We have always prided ourselves on not cutting corners and doing things right. We decided to align with Certified Humane® because we wanted a peer review of our animal husbandry standards. We also like the fact that it is grounded in care for the animal, while recognising the practical aspects of life on the farm,” says First Light director Jason Ross.

“It is also essential to have accreditation to supply major US customers and also for our retail consumers. The benefit for consumers is that they can buy with confidence, knowing the meat, poultry, egg and dairy products come from animals who have been raised humanely without overcrowding in confinement systems and without unnecessary antibiotics. It’s better for the animals, the environment and the farmers who receive a fair price for their efforts.”

To earn Certified Humane® status, an audit was conducted on a selection of First Light farms and processing facilities across the country. To uphold the standards, annual inspections will be held by specialist scientists and veterinarians.

For more information, please visit their website www.firstlight.farm