It’s National Farm Animal Awareness Week!
By Nancy Roulston, Senior Director of Corporate Policy and Animal Science, Farm Animal Welfare at the ASPCA
Cattle have been living alongside us for a long time. The common domesticated cow descended from its wild ancestor, the auroch, around twelve thousand years ago. Yet, despite our long history together and all we know about them, unfortunately, not all cattle are given the respect and compassion they need to live a good life. In fact, the vast majority of cattle raised for beef production in the United States are sent to feedlots where their natural behaviors are stifled. Unnatural grain-based diets used on feedlots are at odds with a cow’s digestive system, which is meant to digest grass. Mixing large numbers of unfamiliar animals together causes distress. And containing these animals in dry, dusty, or muddy pens without shade, shelter, or scratching posts, as well as trucking them long distances without rest or water, is extremely stressful.
However, a growing number of farmers and ranchers honor cattle’s needs through their practices, including companies like Teton Waters Ranch, which has earned the Certified Humane® seal with a Grass Fed distinction and is recognized by Shop With Your Heart®, a program by the ASPCA®. This means that Teton Waters Ranch cattle are never kept in feedlots and have continuous access to pasture with a more natural diet.
In honor of National Farm Animal Awareness Week this September, the ASPCA has a few suggestions about how to best help cattle and other farm animals:
- When you purchase groceries, do your best to choose the most humane options available whenever possible. Voting with your dollar is one of the most effective ways to advocate for a better food system that respects animals as well as people and the planet we all share. Learn about higher-welfare brands and products on the ASPCA’s Shop With Your Heart Grocery List.
- Advocate for better laws calling for stronger labeling regulations, protections for farmed animals, and support for farmers who are raising animals more humanely by joining the ASPCA’s Advocacy Brigade.
- Sign up for the ASPCA’s monthly farm newsletter to learn about more ways you can advocate for farm animals and share resources with the animal lovers in your life.
Happy Farm Animal Awareness Week!