We're Approved!!!

If you’ve been following us on Facebook, you’ve already seen that we are Animal Welfare Approved (AWA) – and I couldn’t be happier about it.

It’s been quite a long journey, as these things go. It started for us in May, 2021 and our approval came through in mid-November. Between those two dates, we had interviews, paperwork, more interviews, on-site visits and audits, requests for more information and emails and phone calls. It was thorough, rigorous and thought-provoking. A number of times I found myself asking hard questions – why did I do things the way I did them? Was it because that’s what I had been told? If so, by whom and did their goals and my goals have anything to do with each other? What does the term “industry standard” mean? Is that good enough?

And there were other questions niggling away in the back of my head, questions that made me wonder if all the extra time and brain space was worth it. Would people care about our AWA? Would they be willing to support us – the only fibre farm in Canada with an Animal Welfare Approved certification? Does it really matter?

Occasionally we hear horror stories of abuse and neglect on farms. Fortunately it’s rare but it happens and when it does, a whole industry can be tainted with one producer’s bad reputation. Fibre is no exception and as an industry, we also contend with misguided allegations of abuse from animal rights groups like PETA – particularly around shearing. People in the vegan community may also have grave reservations about animal fibre and – I hope – regular consumers are becoming more and more informed about their choices and options. Our AWA provides a ground-floor entry into what I hope is going to become a broader conversation, a conversation that is going to grow as consumers become more educated. Just as we’ve seen the supply chains for our food scrutinized and greater and greater value placed on food that comes from ethical sources, I hope we will see a similar shift when it comes to fibre. The AWA offered by A Greener World is our commitment to making this happen. We want to be part of the growing conversation.

And on a personal note, I never want my customers or my community to wonder if our animals are happy. I want you to know – with confidence – that every sheep or alpaca (or horse or chicken for that matter) that walks through these gates is treated with respect, kindness, consideration and has all their needs met appropriately and in a timely way. I want our veterinary support team to know that when they offer guidance or are working on an animal here, that the welfare of their patient is more than just a number on a spreadsheet and that their work as medical professionals is carefully and thoughtfully implemented.

Farming isn’t always what you see in warm-and-fuzzy episodes of All Creatures Great and Small or Clarkson’s Farm (much as I LOVE both those shows!). For the most part, it isn’t what you see in hidden-camera exposés either – thank God. For us, fibre farming is truly transparent, truly authentic and truly accessible and our AWA is the doorway we want to encourage our community to walk through. It’s the end of a half-a-year of work and the beginning of a whole new dialogue. We invite you to be part of it.