RIVER FALLS, WIS. — The Rosen Family Foundation Inc. confirmed that it would give a $1 million gift to support the Humane Handling Institute (HHI) at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls (UWRF).

“The Rosen Family Foundation is pleased to support UWRF’s Humane Handling Institute, acknowledging its pivotal role in providing education in humane livestock handling and stunning for meat industry personnel,” said a Rosen Family Foundation representative. “Recognizing the importance of humane and safe practices to animal welfare, worker safety and the mental and physical well-being of meat industry workers is commendable, vital and consistent with our mission to promote and enhance the quality of life in the communities we serve.”

Kurt Vogel, UWRF professor of animal welfare and behavior and director of the Humane Handling Institute, and Ashlynn Kirk, program manager, expressed their appreciation to the Rosen Family Foundation. 

“The Rosen Family Foundation’s remarkable and generous investment ensures long-term viability for the institute, in turn amplifying the development and adoption of innovative technologies and techniques in animal handling, stunning and research for the industry,” Kirk said.

The UWRF Animal Welfare Lab, which was founded by Vogel, facilitates research projects completed by undergraduate and graduate students that help the meat industry.

“By tracking humane handling enforcement actions issued by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), we consistently identified stunning as a critical area of need for additional training and development,” Vogel said. “This initiative grew into the Humane Handling Institute and our mission to advance animal welfare and worker health and safety in this critical step in meat production.”

Maria Gallo, chancellor of UW-River Falls, expressed the college's gratitude for the transformational support and for establishing UWRF’s largest endowment.

“This commitment is an impactful endorsement of UWRF’s humane handling advancements and strengthens the university’s reputation as a champion for meeting real-world needs while offering students exposure to the ways that industry relationships are made and problems are solved,” she said.