The Center for Food Integrity, along with the U.S. dairy and pork industries, recently launched See It? Stop It! Animal Care Starts with You, a proactive demonstration of agriculture’s commitment to farm animal care. The initiative requires anyone working on a farm or in a farm setting to immediately report signs of animal abuse, neglect, mishandling or harm.
Though cases of animal abuse, neglect, or mistreatment are uncommon, when they do occur swift action is needed. The ‘See It? Stop It!’ initiative provides several options to enable employees to speak up to stop animal abuse. Empowering animal caretakers and giving them responsibility to report animal abuse immediately will help ensure the best care for animals.
“As the nation’s oldest animal protection organization, the American Humane Association (AHA) has a long history of involvement with programs that help assure proper animal care,” said Kathi Brock, National Director of the Farm Animal Program for AHA. “It is critical for farm management to set clear expectations for animal care and to have zero tolerance for animal mistreatment. We believe ‘See It? Stop It!’ provides the tools to help set those expectations and a mechanism for reporting abuse, which supports the proper care of America’s farm animals.”
The initiative demonstrates to the public that farmers are committed to quality animal care and calls on anyone who witnesses abuse to stop it immediately. Stopping and reporting abuse quickly is the right thing to do for animals and it demonstrates that those involved in livestock production understand their obligation to provide sound animal care. Demonstrating this commitment is important to maintaining public trust in today’s animal agriculture.
Both the U.S. dairy and pork industries have provided funding for the initiative and believe it is an effective way to expand upon their existing animal care programs.
“Care of animals could not be more important to farmers. Having a system in place to contact any of several authorities is imperative and ‘See it? Stop it!’ provides that resource,” said Betsy Flores, senior director of Animal Health and Welfare, for the National Milk Producers Federation. “This initiative combines well with the dairy industry’s National Dairy FARM Program: Farmers Assuring Responsible Management to ensure the well-being of animals in our care.”
Since 2010, Dairy Cares members have supported implementation of the National Dairy FARM Program here in California. To date, nearly 70 percent of California dairies have been evaluated according to the guidelines of the FARM Program. Additional information about “See It? Stop It!” including an employer checklist, guidance for integrating the program into the FARM Program, posters for use in barns and guidance on employee training is available at www.SeeItStopIt.org.
Programs like “See It? Stop It!” and National Dairy FARM are just a small part of the efforts dairy families make every day as part of their ongoing commitment to sustainable farming. Consumers of California dairy products may rest assured knowing that their neighbors who produce affordable, delicious and nutritious foods share their basic values of proper animal care, environmental stewardship and making the world a healthier place for us all
Dairy Cares is a statewide coalition supporting economic and environmental sustainability and responsible animal care. Our members include the Bank of the West, Bar 20 Dairy Farms, California Dairies Inc.,California Dairy Campaign, California Farm Bureau Federation, Conestoga-Rovers and Associates, DairyFarmers of America-Western Area Council, Dairy Institute of California, Hilmar Cheese Co., HP Hood, Joseph Gallo Farms, Land O’Lakes, Milk Producers Council, Ruan Transport Corp., Western United Dairymen,California Cattlemen’s Association and others. For information, visit our web site or call 916-441-3318.