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Arrendale earns national award
Gus Arrendale, left, receives the National Humanitarian Medal by American Humane Association President and CEO Dr. Robin Ganzert and her daughter, Jocelyn Ganzert, at the 2013 Hero Dog Awards in Beverly Hills, Calif. You can watch Arrendale receive the award at 8 p.m. Oct. 30 on The Hallmark Channel.


You can watch Arrendale receive the award at 8 p.m. Oct. 30 on The Hallmark Channel.

Gus Arrendale, president of Springer Mountain Farms in Baldwin, was awarded the National Humanitarian Medal by the American Humane Association to recognize his efforts of promoting animal welfare in the poultry industry.

“The whole company made it happen, not just me,” he said. “Back in 1999, we came up with the idea to start to grow a better chicken without the use of antibiotics. After we did that, we wanted to guarantee that we were good to our chickens, and the only way that we could do that was to go through a third-party verification process.”

A broadcast of Arrendale accepting the award at the American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards in Beverly Hills, Calif., will air on The Hallmark Channel at 8 p.m. Oct. 30.

Because of its vision, Springer Mountain Farms became the first poultry company in America to be certified by the humane association through their voluntary farm animal welfare program. Today, the humane association conducts announced and unannounced audits at least once a year to guarantee the company is maintaining compliance. In return, the Baldwin-based company is allowed to display the American Humane Certified logo on their products.

To ensure the promotion of animal welfare, Springer Mountain Farms employs two full-time compliance officers whose primary purpose is to verify that operations meet the humane association’s standards. Because of this process, Springer Mountain Farms has maintained its certifications since it first entered the farm animal welfare program in 2001.

“Part of the process that we have in place is employee training,” Springer Mountain Farms Vice President Stephen Gray said. “We train our employees, the farmers and the handlers all the way through the entire process.”

Springer Mountain Farms has strived to raise chickens on a pesticide-free, vegetarian diet without the use of antibiotics, growth stimulants or hormones. Arrendale explained raising a healthy chicken is an important part of the company’s business, because today’s consumers are more aware of practices and the use of antibiotics.

“People are bombarded everyday by scary stories about recalls and different things that are bad for them,” he said. “They want to eat fresher and healthier. And they want to feed their families a healthier product.

“A healthier chicken is better-tasting chicken, and I’m convinced that we are making the best-tasting and most well-taken-care-of chickens out there.”

Springer Mountain Farms supplies chicken products to grocery stores, restaurants and chefs across the continental United States and internationally.