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    Former Whole Foods Exec Named Program Director at Animal Welfare Institute

    The Animal Welfare Institute said on Friday that Andrew Gunther, who previously was the senior global animal compassionate product procurement and development specialist for Whole Foods Market, has joined its Animal Welfare Approved program as program director.

    The Animal Welfare Institute said on Friday that Andrew Gunther, who previously was the senior global animal compassionate product procurement and development specialist for Whole Foods Market, has joined its Animal Welfare Approved program as program director.

    The Animal Welfare Approved program and food label, offered free to farmers who meet certain standards, promote the “wellbeing of animals and the sustainability of humane family farms,” said the organization, which is based in Washington D.C.. It said the program unites conscientious consumers with farmers who raise their animals with compassion.

    New program director Gunther pioneered the world's first organic poultry hatchery for chickens, and then added ducks, the group noted. The Gunther family also managed the production for the largest independent organic chicken producer in the United Kingdom.

    Additionally, Gunther was the organic voice within the UK's Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) poultry working group.

    He is currently on the Texas State Board of Agriculture's organic advisory board, and a member of the American Association of Agricultural scientists.

    More than 600 farms are accredited by the Animal Welfare Approved program, with products available from Cates Family Farm, Drakes Bay Family Farms, Cane Creek Farm, Parker Farms, MAE Farm, Willow Creek Farm, Good Shepherd Turkey Ranch, and Whitmore Farms; and from companies including Niman Ranch, William’s Pork, and Heritage Foods USA.

    Animal Welfare Approved products are available nationally at many Whole Foods Markets, Wild Oats, and Trader Joe’s units, as well as dozens of restaurants, the institute said.

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