Animal Welfare: Why an Alberta Sheep Farmer Got Officially Certified

23 March 2022
By Tara Klager
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“Well Tara,” said Chris, her voice slow and Southern—from somewhere in Texas—“We’ve looked over your application, and after all your paperwork, interviews, and inspections were reviewed by the board, I’m real pleased to tell you you’ve been approved. Welcome to our family.”

I can’t begin to tell you how those words made me feel.

I’d found A Greener World—the organization that granted our Animal Welfare Approved (AWA) certification—quite by accident. At the time, I wasn’t looking for an animal welfare program, I was looking for a regenerative agriculture program.

Unfortunately, the regenerative agriculture program was still in development, but the AWA was good to go, and so, without giving it much more thought than it took to click the link, I started to fill in the paperwork.

It started with a deep desire to build a foundation of credibility. I wanted something I could show my community, something that was quantifiable, backed by knowledgeable people and from an organization with integrity. I wasn’t interested in a showy rubber stamp; I was interested in some qualifications. I wanted something that was rigorous, official, and comprehensive for the farm. I wanted to be able to speak knowledgably and have some credibility. I wanted ongoing support. I wanted to be held to account.

All images by Tara Klager.

About Tara Klager

Tara Klager is a first-generation regenerative fibre farmer raising endangered and heritage breed sheep hard against the Rocky Mountain foothills in Alberta, Canada. With a passion for the land and a firm conviction that her role is to safeguard and steward the amazing place she gets to call home, Tara, and her husband Bob, have worked to build community with a wide range of representation - from LGBTQ2+ to Indigenous organizations to fibre enthusiasts and members of the public, Tara provides a place and framework to encourage discussion and interaction between a variety of groups and people. Whether you're interested in animal husbandry and welfare, endangered sheep breeds, the variety of practices that go into regenerative agriculture and how you might apply them to your own context or fibre and all its possibilities, Tara invites you to the homestead, a world of people, place and permaculture. Welcome to my frontier!

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