“Natural.” “Free range.” “Farm fresh.”

Ambiguous and misleading marketing terms on animal products often lead to confusion and skepticism. But the Animal Welfare Approved (AWA) label deserves your attention.

Rigorous animal care standards back the label, which appears on packaged meat, dairy, and eggs. AWA indicates a farm is family-owned and that its animals are pasture-raised and humanely treated. Trained auditors annually inspect the farms to ensure the standards are enforced. What’s more, you can support compassionate farmers near you by searching online (animalwelfareapproved.org) for products, farms, restaurants, and retailers that comply with AWA qualifications.