WASHINGTON, June 12, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- American Humane Association, the country's first national humane organization and founder of the American Humane Certified™ program, the oldest and largest farm animal welfare program in the country, is pleased to announce the appointment of renowned veterinarian Dr. Donald Hoenig as Chief Veterinary Advisor for its Humane Heartland™ program. Dr. Hoenig comes to the organization with decades of experience in the field of veterinary medicine, including his most recent role as an American Veterinary Medical Association Congressional Fellow in the Office of Senator Susan Collins of Maine.
For the seventeen years prior to his service in Senator Collins' office, Dr. Hoenig served as State Veterinarian for the Maine Department of Agriculture, where he was responsible for overseeing the health and welfare of the animal population of Maine, including pets and farm animals. During the last five years of his career with the Maine Department of Agriculture, Dr. Hoenig held the title of State Public Health Veterinarian, working side by side with the Maine Centers for Disease Control to respond to and control outbreaks of zoonotic diseases (those diseases transmitted from animals to humans), including avian influenza, Eastern equine encephalitis, Lyme disease, West Nile virus, Salmonella, and numerous instances of foodborne illness. Dr. Hoenig has also spent years working in the field for the state of Maine and United States Department of Agriculture, and years as a practicing veterinarian and lecturer at Tufts University's School of Veterinary Medicine.
American Humane Association now certifies the humane treatment of nearly 1 billion farm animals, which represents about 10 percent of all animals raised on the country's farms and ranches every year, including 90 percent of all cage-free egg production. Products bearing the American Humane Certified™ label signify that the animals were raised under science-based standards that provide good welfare and humane environments. And because of the number of animals in the American Humane Association's farm audit program, it is now easier than ever for Americans to find meat, dairy, and eggs bearing this seal at their local retailers.
"I have long admired the work of American Humane Association, and it is an honor to have the opportunity to lead on science-based initiatives and grow their respected Humane Heartland program," said Dr. Hoenig. "Every year, more than 10 billion animals are raised on America's farms and ranches, and it is our goal that each and every one of them are afforded humane protections. I will do all that I can to make this goal a reality."
"We could not have a more capable and experienced chief veterinary advisor guiding our Humane Heartland program than Dr. Hoenig," said Dr. Robin Ganzert, American Humane Association's president and CEO. "Our organization first entered the animal welfare space by working for the humane transport for livestock back in the late 1800s. For more than 100 years we have built on this legacy and now operate not only the first, but the largest and fastest-growing farm animal welfare program in the nation. Dr. Hoenig will help further build on that work so that more of America's animals get the protections they deserve."
More and more Americans are demanding humanely raised options in their grocery stores. A survey recently published by American Humane Association confirms this, revealing that nearly nine in 10 Americans (89%) said they were concerned about the welfare of animals raised on farms and ranches. They also ranked a humane label highest in importance, over designations of products that are organic, natural, or antibiotic-free.
For a full list of American Humane Certified producers, and more information about the Humane Heartland Program, please visit www.humaneheartland.org.
About American Humane Association American Humane Association is the country's first national humane organization and the only one dedicated to protecting both children and animals. Since 1877, American Humane Association has been at the forefront of virtually every major advance in protecting our most vulnerable from cruelty, abuse and neglect. Today we're also leading the way in understanding the human-animal bond and its role in therapy, medicine and society. American Humane Association reaches millions of people every day through groundbreaking research, education, training and services that span a wide network of organizations, agencies and businesses. You can help make a difference, too. Visit American Humane Association at www.americanhumane.org today.