Organic vs High Animal Welfare
When I began work on this product line, I was under the impression that “Organic” is the be all and end-all when it came to doing the right thing for the animals being raised for meat.
As it turns out, I was incorrect. In the Organic space, the focus is on natural production. While some provisions are made for animal welfare, including outdoor access for farm animals, animal welfare is not the main focus of this certification.
Although words such as “free-range” and “organic” may sound enticing, some companies may adhere to minimal welfare standards given the USDA’s vague requirements for the label. For instance, the criteria for “free-range chicken” is “access to the outdoors,” but it doesn’t specify the length of time spent outdoors and it doesn’t mean that chickens aren’t debeaked. These methods have, unfortunately, become mainstream and conventional. The meat industry, in particular, not only allows animals to be raised inhumanely, but the resulting meat product is also sometimes higher in bad fats when the animals are not fed the diet that they have evolved to consume for the sake of cheap production.
High Animal Welfare
The SPCA Certified program, a third-party animal welfare assurance program which operated between 2002 and 2020 (note that I will be following up to see if this program is going to continue and look into the validity of farms that were certified, specifically, Harley Farms from whom I purchase my meats/eggs).
SPCA Certified has standards for seven sectors – beef cattle, broiler (meat) chickens, dairy cattle, egg-laying hens, pigs, sheep, and turkeys. SPCA Certified standards offered a way for farmers to distinguish themselves from other farms, demonstrating their commitment to higher welfare for their animals.
Since the inception of SPCA Certified, other international third-party animal welfare certification programs have been established. After extensive review, the BC SPCA determined that they can make a bigger impact on farm animal welfare by reducing duplication of animal welfare assurance programs. As such, they are no longer certifying farms under the SPCA Certified program. Instead, they are supporting farms certified by Animal Welfare Approved, Certified Humane and Global Animal Partnership.
Regenerative Agriculture is a system of farming principles and practices that Harley Farms has adopted for many years. It increases biodiversity, enriches soils, improves watersheds, and enhances the ecosystem. The farm has spent years developing rotations, using livestock and cropping to accomplish these goals.
Harley Farms main livestock rotation consists of pigs, cattle and sheep. The livestock are grazed on grassland and fed in conjunction with the various crops rotated around the farms. These crops consist of sorghum, red & white clover, oats & peas, and hay & pasture mixes. The livestock is moved continuously to avoid over grazing.
This way of farming increases the earths soil health. With a carefully mapped out rotation of animals and crops the soils are naturally fertilized. This restores a healthy and enriched soil to grow crops and grass lands for grazing.
Harmful carbon is taken from the atmosphere and brings it into the soil. When the soils are enriched and healthy, there is an improvement in water absorption. i.e. increase in ability to hold water. Which in return decreases water shed, washing away the nutrients from the soil.
Many pet food/treats companies make the statement that their products are Human Grade. Human Grade extends beyond the raw materials, such as purchasing chicken and beef products that are intended for human consumption, to include the kitchen in which they are prepared. Kitchens have to be commercial grade and inspected by the local public health agency. KarmaPet is made with Human Grade meat and organ meat, however, given the caveat that it is not being prepared in a “Kitchen”, it is not permissible to include this on any packaging nor marketing material. Rest assured, the organ meat and meat that I am using from Harley Farms was intended to be consumed by people!
Bio-Degradable vs Compostable Packaging
We often see the word ‘biodegradable’ on some products that we buy, such as soap and shampoo. But what does it actually mean? Anything biodegradable will break down quickly and safely into mostly harmless compounds. But what makes a substance biodegradable? Anything that is plant-based, animal-based or natural mineral-based product is usually biodegradable. However, they will break down at different rates depending on the original material it’s made out of and how much it has been processed. According to the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) biodegradables are anything that undergoes degradation resulting from the action of naturally occurring microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi, and algae. Although “quickly” is not defined, biodegradable products are broken down in way less time than non-biodegradable products like plastic for instance. A plastic bottle will take approximately 450 years to bio-degrade. Biodegradable objects can be much more than plants, as most people assume. It can be papers, boxes, bags, and other items that have all been created with the ability to slowly break down.
Compostable means that a product is capable of breaking down into natural elements in a compost environment. Because it’s broken down into its natural elements it causes no harm to the environment. The breakdown process usually takes about 90 days. The ASTM defines compostables as anything that undergoes degradation by biological processes during composting to yield CO2, water, inorganic compounds and biomass at a rate consistent with other compostable materials and leaves no visible, distinguishable or toxic residue.
While all compostable material is biodegradable, not all biodegradable material is compostable. Although biodegradable materials return to nature and can disappear completely they sometimes leave behind metal residue and micro-plastics, on the other hand, compostable materials create something called humus that is full of nutrients and is great for plants. In summary, compostable products are biodegradable, but with an added benefit. That is, when they break down, they release valuable materials and create something called humus that is full of nutrients and is great for plants. In summary, compostable products are biodegradable, but with an added benefit. That is, when they break down, they release valuable nutrients into the soil, aiding the growth of trees and plants.
Home Compost vs Industrial Compost
Products that are only compostable in an industrial compost facility must be subject to high heats over a longer period of time. Products that are home compostable do not require such high temperatures and may be composted in the home compost pile.
IT SHOULD BE NOTED – Home Compostable products should NOT be placed in the recycling bin. It is not plastic and cannot be recycled and can damage recycling facilities. Where home composting is not available, the products can be placed in house-hold garbage and will compost in the land fill facilities.
Home Compostable materials do not contain ANY plastics. They will not harm marine life and will not contribute to plastics in our environment and, indeed, in our very bodies. For additional information, kindly click on the link, below.
A word about cats
So, we all know that cats can be picky. I prefer the term discerning. Cats are attracted to foods based, primarily, on the way that the smell. The raw, freeze-dried chicken have little aroma and, when presented to your feline buddy’s, may be snubbed. This is because they cannot smell the product. If your kitties do not seem interested in their treats, try dipping them in a bit of water. Not too much! This will produce the desired aroma and kitty should come running. After time, they will associate the image of the treats with the taste and “dipping” will no longer be required. Remember, please, that these are raw. Wash your hands!