Teton Waters Ranch Recognized by the ASPCA’s Shop With Your Heart Program for its Commitment to Farm Animal Welfare
By: Julia Johnson, Manager of Corporate Policy, Farm Animal Welfare at the ASPCA
Teton Waters Ranch is among a small, but growing, community of companies dedicated to increasing transparency and welfare standards for farm animals. This is why the ASPCA® lists them as a food company that meets the values of consumers who are committed to buying better, more responsible food products.
Identifying companies that prioritize farm animal welfare has never been more important to Americans. In a public opinion survey conducted last year, nearly 90% of participants expressed concern over industrial animal agriculture citing animal welfare, worker safety, and public health as their top concerns. What’s more, the same survey found 85% of farmers and their families support a complete ban on new factory farms. These findings dispel the common narrative that rural and urban residents have divergent opinions on farming and food production methods. Rather, the vast majority of Americans do not support factory farming despite it being the main production method for meat, eggs, and dairy.
There are alternatives: To help individuals find more humane farming practices, the ASPCA established its Shop With Your Heart program to introduce conscientious consumers to farms and food brands working to build a better food system. For a meat, egg or dairy product to be featured on the Shop With Your Heart Brand List, a company must earn one of the meaningful animal welfare certifications recommended by the ASPCA to demonstrate their higher welfare practices for farm animals. Teton Waters Ranch has earned recognition for their participation in the Certified Humane® program with an additional Grass-Fed distinction on all of their products.
Teton Waters Ranch’s policies and practices are a remarkable exception to the nearly ten billion farm animals confined and suffering in inhumane farming conditions across the country. For most cattle raised for beef, that usually means confinement in barren feedlots without shade or any enrichment, where cows may suffer from heat stress and muddy conditions; and where they are routinely given antibiotics and growth hormones. And at the end of their lives, cattle often undergo long-haul transport of up to twenty-eight hours (or longer).
Unfortunately, many well-intentioned shoppers are tricked by loosely defined and weakly regulated claims into thinking that conventional beef without a welfare certification is more humane. Claims like “all natural” and “grass-fed” do not guarantee animals were raised more humanely. For example, the claim “grass-fed” does not require cows to be on pasture all year—almost all beef cattle begin their lives on grass, and after six months to a year are shipped to feedlots to be “finished” on a corn and soy-based feed that can cause major health and digestive problems for cows.
Under the Certified Humane Grass-Fed program, cattle must be fed a diet of grasses and forage and have continuous access to pasture, which is more than what cows are offered through the USDA Organic program’s minimum requirement of four months per year. Certified Humane cattle are never given growth hormones or routine antibiotics and are never transported longer than eight hours. Teton Waters Ranch demonstrates that giving cows a better quality of life is not only possible, but essential for building a trustworthy brand that listens to today’s consumers.
Consumer demand for a more humane food system continues to grow. In 2020, over a half a million people used the ASPCA’s Shop With Your Heart resources to find more humane options. We hope many more companies will follow the lead of Teton Waters Ranch to ensure farm animals have a more humane life.
You can learn more here: www.ASPCA.org/ShopWithYourHeart.