The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) 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 International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Technical Specification (TS) 34700 – Animal Welfare Assessment Program. The 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 the 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, Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs.
The National Dairy FARM Program comprises dairy farmers, cooperatives and processors across the United States. 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 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 (OIE) animal welfare chapters.
Interested organizations can review USDA ISO TS 34700 Animal Welfare Assessment Program. For more information on the program can visit the AMS website:www.ams.usda.gov/services/auditing/awap. For questions, please contact Jeffrey Waite, Livestock, Poultry, and Seed Program, Agricultural Marketing Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture by email at Jeffrey.Waite@ams.usda.gov or by phone at (202) 720-4411.