Humane Handling Institute Photo 1

Kurt Vogel, UW-River Falls professor of animal welfare and behavior and director of the Humane Handling Institute, speaks with meat industry employees during a training session on effective and humane restraint and stunning of animals at the university’s Mann Valley Farm in November 2023. The Rosen Family Foundation, Inc. has given a $1 million gift to support the Humane Handling Institute. UWRF photo.

UWRF’s Humane Handling Institute secures $1 million gift from Rosen Family Foundation, Inc.


Investment endorses institute’s innovative, impactful animal welfare initiatives

June 13, 2024- The Rosen Family Foundation, Inc. has announced a $1 million gift in support of the internationally recognized Humane Handling Institute at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.

The transformational gift to the UW-River Falls Foundation establishes the largest program endowment in the university’s history: The Rosen Family Humane Handling Institute Endowment.

“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, Inc. 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 deep appreciation to the Rosen Family Foundation, Inc. 

“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.

Findings from research projects completed by undergraduate and graduate students at the UWRF Animal Welfare Lab, founded by Vogel, shed a light on the industry need. 

“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.”

HHI is meeting a real and critical need in the meat industry, while preparing students and workers with the skills and training they need to become the next generation of industry leaders.

“We are grateful for the transformational support of the Rosen Family Foundation that establishes UWRF’s largest program endowment,” said UW-River Falls Chancellor Maria Gallo. “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.”

About the UWRF Humane Handling Institute
Through education, research and outreach, the UW-River Falls Humane Handling Institute is strengthening the skill level of meat industry employees, improving animal welfare, and increasing consumer trust in meat processing establishments. The institute is internationally recognized for its hands-on training workshops for humane livestock handling, stunning, and equipment maintenance. For more information, visit UWRF Humane Handling Institute.

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