Prather Ranch Receives Humane Farm Animal Care Certification

The Humane Society of the United States
Thursday, 28 August 2003

Prather Ranch, a 15,000-acre cattle ranch in Northern California, became the sixth producer to receive certification from Humane Farm Animal Care (HFAC) for its humane animal treatment. HFAC is a six-month-old non-profit organization supported by a coalition of the nation's leading animal protection organizations that certifies meat, poultry, egg and dairy products are raised according to strict animal-handling standards.

HFAC certification qualifies Prather Ranch to use the "Certified Humane Raised & Handled" label on its packaging, assuring consumers that it has met HFAC's Animal Care Standards, which were developed by a team of leading animal scientists and veterinarians. Prather Ranch's certification follows rigorous on-site inspections by HFAC professionals to ensure its animals are raised in a stress-free environment with adequate space and shelter, in the company of same-species animals, and with access to fresh water and a diet that maintains health and vigor.

"We talk to consumers every day who are concerned about animal welfare," said Mary Rickert, who co-manages Prather Ranch with her husband, Jim. "As producers, we have a responsibility to treat animals humanely. The 'Certified Humane' label assures the consumer that our raising practices meet the highest standard. We find humane animal handling practices produce a better piece of beef."

Prather Ranch is located in a high mountain valley northeast of Mt. Shasta in Northern California. It produces dry-aged USDA Certified Organic Beef in a low-stress environment, with spring-fed water and feeds grown on its ranch. Prather Ranch cattle are a "closed herd" comprised only of those born and raised on the ranch. Detailed records of genealogy, weight, feed and life history are kept for each animal. Animals are never administered growth-stimulating hormones or antibiotics and have not been fed proteins derived from animals.

Jim Rickert commented that this approach is an expensive way to raise beef, "but consumers are willing to pay a little extra for beef that has been raised with respect for the environment and the animals. We're hoping to show other producers that there is a payoff to doing business this way."

Prather Ranch beef is sold at natural foods stores, specialty meat stores and farmer's markets in Northern California and Southern Oregon, including the Nugget Market in Davis, New Moon Natural Foods in Tahoe City, Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market in San Francisco and San Rafael/Marin Farmer's Market. It can also be ordered online through the ranch's website: www.pratherranch.com.

The "Certified Humane" label, unveiled in May 2003, assures consumers that a meat, poultry, egg or dairy product has come from animals raised in facilities that meet precise, objective standards for humane farm animal treatment. Other producers that are certified to use the "Certified Humane" label include Echo Farms Dairy (New Hampshire), Touchstone Farms Sheep and Lamb (Virginia), Deer Creek Beef (Maryland), du Breton Natural Pork (Quebec, Canada) and Hedgeapple Farms Beef (Maryland).

HFAC is a national 501C3 nonprofit organization that is supported by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), regional and local animal-protection organizations, foundations and individuals. More information about HFAC's activities can be found at its website, www.certifiedhumane.com.

For more information, or to contact The Humane Society of the United States, see their website at: www.hsus.org

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