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A new certification scheme for sustainable cattle farms

Posted by Lindy on October 3, 2010

Cattle production is one of the main drivers of deforestation

A new standard for cattle farms that promotes sustainable production to help mitigate deforestation, greenhouse gas emissions and animal cruelty has been launched by the Rainforest Alliance and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). “You can combine conservation and cattle production,” explains Oliver Bach, Rainforest Alliance standards and policy manager. “Tree cover, for example, not only provides habitats for birds and insects, but it is also good at reducing heat stress for cattle and providing leaves and fruits for fodder.”

Developed during a two-year public consultation process involving stakeholders from 34 countries, the standards will be applied to farms located in tropical regions of Latin America, Africa, Asia and Oceania. However, only farms where cattle have access to pasture will be eligible for the scheme. The ‘Standard for Sustainable Cattle Production Systems’ will enable farmers to use the Rainforest Alliance Certified™ guarantee to market beef, dairy and leather products. “The Rainforest Alliance seal of approval will inform consumers that these farms are conscious about the environment and climate change,” Bach adds.

In order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the Rainforest Alliance is promoting three practical actions: improving cattle’s diets, treating their manure and conserving trees to capture carbon dioxide. “Selecting different fodder species that are easier to digest will reduce methane emissions and conserve the soil in the long-term,” Bach explains. Integrated management systems, sustainable pasture management, labour welfare standards, animal welfare and carbon-footprint reduction are all part of the criteria for achieving Rainforest Alliance certification.


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