Adele Douglass

Ashoka Fellow
United States, North America
Fellow Since 2008
My work: Improving the lives of farm animals by driving consumer demand for more responsible farm animal practices.

Citation

This profile was prepared when Adele Douglass was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2008.
The New Idea
In order to reshape the U.S. farm agriculture system to reward humane farming, Adele is educating Americans about how their food is produced and helping them to make value-driven decisions in the aisles of the neighborhood grocery store. Humane Farm Animal Care (HFAC) offers the only comprehensive labeling program that lets consumers know their meat and dairy products are Certified Humane Raised and Handled™ via an easy-to-identify package label.

As Adele likes to say, the Certified Humane program begins with animals, but it is all about people who want to change the way food is produced. There is a growing demand for products from animals raised in accord with humane care standards, a demand escalated by best-selling books, the media, advocacy and popular culture. Educated consumers want those farmers who treat animals and workers humanely to stand out from the competition and to prosper. HFAC’s program gives them the means to identify those farmers and reward them with their business.

The certification program uses scientifically based animal welfare standards, an annual third-party inspection, and a transparent certification process to provide a competitive advantage to food producers by building credibility and buyer confidence, providing publicity, and introducing new and loyal markets, as well as higher prices, for farmers. Research shows that costs for Certified Humane products fall about mid-way between organic and commodity prices, a threshold that many American consumers are willing to consider if it means better treatment of animals and farm workers. By making savvy shoppers part of the equation, Certified Humane products are not only saving farm animals from lives of misery, they are helping to save the family farm as well.

HFAC is endorsed by some twenty humane organizations, including the two largest, the Humane Society of the U.S. and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, giving HFAC access to nearly 20 million constituents through extensive publicity on their websites and in mailings. The members of these groups are the most natural target market for Certified Humane products. By having entrée into these groups and the positive perception they enjoy, HFAC has been able to grow and to reach out to a wide range of farmers and producers, wholesalers, grocers, institutional buyers such as hospitals and schools, as well as individuals who want more wholesome and humane choices.

HFAC is also itself accredited by the International Standards Organization (ISO), which not only reassures the market but also provides accountability that the program’s standards, certification process and inspection process are as represented.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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