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Kiersten Hartnagel

M.S. in Animals and Public Policy (MAPP) Externship Experience
May-August 2021
Public Awareness About Welfare Standards at Farm Forward
Kiersten Hartnagel

This summer I completed my externship at the non-profit organization Farm Forward, where I worked on their humanewashing campaign. I added content to a Wikipedia page to help consumers better understand the difference between their expectations and the realities of a major animal welfare certification, compiled a list of websites and organizations that explain food labels, and researched aquaculture welfare standards of Global Animal Partnership and American Humane Certified to help Farm Forward in their efforts to inform the public about these certifications.

My final paper discussed the multiple food labels that currently exist in our food system, detailing what consumers think they mean vs. what they actually entail, and exploring the USDA’s role in creating, regulating, and penalizing those who fail to comply with these standards. I also discussed how certifications and labels are influenced by the industry, which restricts them from asking for better welfare standards.

My externship taught me how to strengthen my research skills, better understand common uses of deception to persuade the public, and effectively use my voice in advocacy. I hope to continue to advocate for animals, especially animals within the food industry, to push for higher welfare standards and better educate the public on issues that they might not be aware of.

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