The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) made two announcements about its Animal Welfare Assessment Program (AWAP), which offers an independent assessment for industry animal welfare standards and programs. AWAP is a voluntary service for industry organizations that evaluates animal welfare standards for conformance with the International Organization for Standardization’s Technical Specification (TS) 34700 – Animal Welfare Assessment Program. AWAP offers organizations a way to reach new customers by meeting international animal welfare standards.
First, AMS has determined that the National Dairy Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) Program meets the requirements of TS 34700.
“This is the first livestock animal care program approved by AMS under the assessment program, which establishes a strong framework for industry animal welfare standards and programs to be verified that they are rooted in science and can be widely accepted,” said Greg Ibach, USDA undersecretary for marketing and regulatory programs.
The National Dairy FARM Program comprises dairy farmers, cooperatives and processors across the U.S. The National Milk Producers Federation, with support from Dairy Management Inc., created the National Dairy FARM Program to ensure that farmers demonstrate a commitment to quality farm management practices and safe, wholesome dairy products.
AMS also announced that it has finalized the Beef Cattle Production Systems Checklist, which is now available on the agency’s website, allowing organizations with beef animal welfare programs to be assessed. AMS will continue to work with interested industry partners to develop checklists for other species with established World Organization for Animal Health animal welfare chapters.