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Kiersten Hartnagel

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

This summer I spent my time completing an externship at the non-profit organization, Farm Forward. I worked on their humanewashing project. I read Farm Forward’s annual report, their investigation on humanewashing which explained there are two types of certifications and discussed the pros and cons of each. I conducted a Wikipedia page to simply explain these three things to consumers who may be curious of what they mean. I also did research on Hellmann’s corporate and Unilever. I compiled a list of websites and organizations that explain labeling on food. I found aquaculture welfare standards for the Global Animal Partnership, GAP, and AHC; these two have strongly supported humanewashing and factory farming, so this information can better help Farm Forward when pressuring these certifications to do better in terms of welfare.

My final paper discussed defining food labels, what consumers think they mean vs. what they actually entail, looking at the USDA’s role in creating, regulating, and penalizing those who fail to comply to these standards. The paper also discussed how the certifications and label are influenced by the industry, restricting the certifications and labels from actually gaining better welfare standards.

I believe the program taught me how to assess information, find what is true, common uses of deception to persuade the public, and how to effectively use my voice. I hope to continue to advocate for animals, especially animals used in the food industry to push for better welfare standards and to better educate the public on issues that are not well known.

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