A new initiative is being rolled out to offer grants of up to $10,000 for farmers raising animals. The sole pur­pose of the grant is to "improve animal welfare on farms," according to President of the Animal Welfare Institute Cathy Liss and Director of the Animal Welfare Approved program Andrew Gunther. 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 animal well-being of animals and the sustainability of humane family farms, uniting conscientious consumers with farmers who raise their animals with compassion," according to press release from the two groups.

Animal Welfare Approved has more than 600 participating farms. It is "setting the standard for how farm animals should be taken care of," according to Robert Kennedy, Jr. The World Society for the Protection of Animals recently endorsed the program's accreditation 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. 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,” says Gunther. 

A farmer may submit a proposal for up to 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 Oct. 15, and propose a project that meets the program's purpose. A review panel will evaluate all applications.

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 animal 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.

For guidelines, click here. For an application form, click here.

Source: Animal Welfare Approved