The Animal Welfare Institute has announced a new initiative that will offer grants of up to $10,000 for the purpose of improving animal welfare on farms. Current Animal Welfare Approved farmers and those who have applied to join the program are eligible to apply for these grants.

The Animal Welfare Approved program and food label promote the well-being of animals and the sustainability of humane family farms, uniting conscientious consumers with farmers who raise their animals with compassion. Animal Welfare Approved, with more than 600 participating farms, is "setting the standard for how farm animals should be taken care of," according to Robert. F. Kennedy, Jr. This accreditation was recently endorsed by the World Society for the Protection of Animals as having the most stringent animal welfare standards of any third-party certifier.

"It is a tough time for farmers trying to weather the current economic challenges," Gunther said. "As consumers demand more sustainable, high-welfare food choices, Animal Welfare Approved is one way farmers can differentiate themselves in the marketplace and add value to their product. Through this program we are facilitating innovations that improve welfare."

A farmer may submit a proposal for one or two different projects, for a total maximum grant of $10,000. Grants will be awarded based upon the projects' potential to deliver the greatest benefit to farm animals. In order to receive a grant, applicants must meet the eligibility requirements, submit an application and a budget by October 15, and propose a project that meets the purpose of this program. All applications will be evaluated by a review panel.

Examples of eligible projects include conversion of buildings; fencing and paddock division; silviculture; improvement of water services; mobile housing; farm planning, farm health visits from recognized practitioners; alternative identification methods; alternative genetics; innovative chick transportation; alternatives to antibiotic use; and improvements in the slaughter process. Eligible costs include design fees, contractor costs, materials, slaughter equipment, new mobile housing, and incubators.

Source: Animal Welfare Approved Program