There's been a lot of talk about the treatment of dairy cows in the media lately and you might be wondering “but what about the ICONIC cows?!” From the day I started ICONIC, I’ve held myself and the team to specific standards:
- Maximum animal welfare options available
- Lowest negative environmental impact options available
- Tested clean: free from hormones, heavy metals, pesticides, etc.
- Most nutrient dense options available
When we set out to find a protein source, we wanted to find a source that is highly bioavailable and also tasted amazing. Those pre-qualifications led us to milk protein. We decided that if we were going to source animal based protein, we needed to find a partner who:
- Never uses antibiotics or growth hormones
- Is continually working towards improvements in nutritional value, animal welfare, and sustainability
- Helps strengthen bonds between local farmers and the land they traditionally work
- Is working towards sustainable farming by reducing carbon footprint
After scouring the planet - literally - we landed in Kilkenny, Ireland where a group of co-op farms sit. They go to great lengths to not only deliver the highest quality and cleanest protein on the planet, but they spare no expense when it comes to treating their cows like royalty! Our protein holds both the Truly Grass Fed verification as well as the Animal Welfare certification. The standards to get these certifications are nothing short of impressive. We knew we had found the right partners for our protein source!
Check out the videos from our visit to Kilkenny in August 2018.
Animal Welfare 101
The Animal Welfare Approved Certification upholds a hard earned standard for dairy calves and cattle which demonstrates the farmers’ commitment to the care of their animals, the land, and the local community. Some key areas include:
- All dairy cattle must be thoroughly inspected at least twice per 24 hours and the inspection of the animals must be possible at any time day or night.
- Continuous outdoor pasture access is required for all dairy cattle.
- Close confinement in cages, crates or by tethering is prohibited.
- Each farm must maintain, and provide the auditor access to, records to demonstrate compliance with Animal Welfare Approved standards.
- Efforts must be made to develop positive relationships between the farmer and animals through gentle handling. All animals must be moved in a calm and consistent manner. Stress from loud noises and rapid movements must be minimized.
- Abuse or maltreatment (hot branding/prods & electric shocking) of animals is prohibited.
- Overcrowding during transport is prohibited. Ventilation must be provided that allows the animals to breathe fresh air while on the transport vehicle. The vehicle must be constructed or bedded to prevent animals slipping.
- Animals must not be knowingly sold into systems prohibited by these welfare standards. The planned use of stockyards and/or auction houses to sell animals is prohibited.
- Newly weaned or separated calves must be kept in groups of familiar animals, the use of isolated pens is prohibited. Sale of calves to farms that have confinement, crated or slatted veal systems is prohibited.
Truly Grass Fed 101
We work with them to get milk from Truly Grass Fed cows that are, well, truly grass fed. Truly Grass Fed Verified stepped in to create their own standards for the dairy industry, ensuring that all cows are grass fed at least 95% of their life (our supply averages 98%). We thought that was pretty impressive.
But that’s not all. The Truly Grass Fed milk protein in each of our products means it’s:
- From cows that spent the vast majority of the year grazing outdoors
- Free of rBST (in other words, hormones)
- From an average farm size of two acres, meaning the cows get lots of care
- From Certified Animal Welfare-approved farms
- Environmentally sustainable
In short, being Truly Grass Fed verified means the dairy in all of our products is clean and comes from sources we can all feel good about. Hopefully this gives you some insight into where the delicious protein you enjoy comes from. We hope more brands do the same!