FORT COLLINS, CO. – Dr. Temple Grandin, the authority on livestock handling facilities and professor of animal science at Colorado State University, said in a weekend e-mail to that she wanted to clarify her role with the Niman Ranch’s sustainability and animal welfare certification program that was the subject of a press release issued by Niman last week. (See "Temple Grandin launches new certification program" in the Feb. 12 post of

"There has been considerable confusion generated by the original Niman Ranch press release dated Feb. 11, 2009," she iterated. "The program is an existing Niman Ranch program and I am working with them to make their standards clearer and easier to audit. My seal of approval is verification that they adhere to Niman Ranch standards and have a rigorous auditing program.

"Niman Ranch has more work to do and they are planning to have their auditing system in place by the summer," she continued. "Other companies can also enroll in my program. The standards for each company are specific to each company, but they must have a high level of animal welfare that can be verified."

Dr. Grandin said her approval of Niman Ranch guidelines was from an auditing standpoint -- and not her personal opinion standpoint. "The next step for Niman Ranch is clarifying and revising their specific guidelines for each species and setting up a system of internal and independent third-party audits. My approval of Niman Ranch is for the clarity of their standards, not the content of their specific niche/natural standards."

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