Luke Knowles, former Special Assistant to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and an expert on the link between sustainable agriculture and rural development, has been named Senior Adviser to American Humane Association's Farm Animal Welfare Program. In this role, he will be advising the 135-year-old nonprofit organization on agricultural policy and the expansion of American Humane Association's growing array of programs addressing issues of health and well-being in rural America – especially as they impact the lives of animals, children, families and rural communities that feed our nation.
"Luke is the right person at the right time for this important role," said Dr. Robin Ganzert, president and CEO of American Humane Association. "As the global population soars and people rightly become more concerned about how their food is raised there are additional opportunities for America's farmers not only to feed the world's children and families, but to do it in a humane and sustainable way. We are committed to creating programs and initiatives that encourage and support responsible farmers, ranchers, and others, and lead to a safe and humanely raised food supply that benefits farm animals, rural communities, and children and families nationwide."
American Humane Association was founded nearly 150 years ago on issues central to rural America and reflective of core American values. Among the organization's first campaigns were successful efforts to improve care and treatment during the transportation of farm animals. American Humane Association's newest innovative initiative – Rural America Landscape: Healthy Children and Healthy Animals in our Nation's Heartland – has the ambitious and vital mission of addressing the core challenges facing rural communities under a unified banner of sustainable, smart, healthy, and humane food systems.
Knowles has the depth of knowledge and experience to make a substantial contribution to this effort. As Special Assistant to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, he developed and coordinated Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food, a USDA initiative to support local and regional food systems. In this capacity, he managed a department-wide task force of USDA employees and engaged audiences in the USDA's work through a range of platforms. He is a leader in food systems issues, having presented at such prestigious gatherings as TedX Manhattan.
"American Humane Association is an organization with the reputation and capability to further a positive dialogue between agricultural producers and consumers," Knowles said. "The organization has recognized animal welfare as central to the sustainability of food and agriculture. I'm proud to work with them in improving life for children, animals, families, and rural communities all across America."
American Humane Association's animal welfare programs operate in all 50 states to protect and support animal actors, animal athletes, animal soldiers, animal first responders, companion animals, therapy animals, farm animals and others. The organization's American Humane Certified program is the first, fastest-growing and most comprehensive third-party farm animal welfare audit program in the country. American Humane Certified standards were developed by an interdisciplinary team of stakeholders including veterinarians, animal welfare advocates, consumers, producers, and others and are reviewed frequently its Scientific Advisory Committee. The stringent, science-based guidelines are strictly monitored through numerous means to ensure compliance. In the past year alone the program has increased by more than one-third, currently helping to ensure humane treatment of more than 135 million farm animals.