CZAAWE Resource Article

United States Department of Agriculture: building bridges through innovative animal well-being initiatives
Publication Type 
Journal Article
Year of publication 
Animal Welfare
Animal well-being issues are addressed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) through a variety of agencies and in various formats. Most farmers are good stewards of their animals and will raise them according to societal demands as supported by market choices. Management standards that are perceived to improve upon current practices are being demanded of farmers by buyers of animal products, including corporate restaurant chains and groceries. Professional organisations, USDA, and university representatives, help to address well-being issues and help to create and evaluate standards. The USDA provides leadership in several cooperative programs involving activists and industry, coordinates certification programs, and provides liaisons to multi-state university research committees. A USDA Animal Well-Being Work Group facilitates communications among agency personnel. The USDA developed the Animal Welfare Issues Compendium, a national animal well-being symposium, and cooperates with industry, activists and universities on projects. The USDA provides grant funds for projects that are encouraged to include a component on animal well-being. Special grant funds from Congress have resulted in educational and research projects that complement existing USDA national research and educational initiatives. Regulatory commitments by USDA include the enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act and the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act.