American Humane Certified

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The American Humane Certified program is the nation's first independent, third-party certification program to verify the humane treatment of farm animals.[1] The program was launched in 2000.[2]

The purpose of the American Humane Certified program is to give consumers access to humanely-raised food choices.[3] Farms that meet the American Humane Association's criteria may add the American Humane Certified logo to their packaging.[4]

Certification process[edit]

In order to receive the American Humane Certified logo, farms must pass an assessment based on a list of over 200 standards.[5] The standards are unique for each farm animal species.[6]

The American Humane Association uses independent firms to perform annual audits on certified farms in order to ensure they are complying with the guidelines.[7] The audits can be unannounced.[8]

The American Humane Association standards specify that animals must be raised in an environment that limits stress, includes the provision of fresh water, a healthy diet, sufficient space, proper facilities, shelter, and a resting area.[9] These criteria are rooted in the "five freedoms" that are used to evaluate animal welfare in the UK.[10]

The certification is not granted to farmers who use growth hormones.[11]

The standards are regularly reviewed by a scientific advisory committee.[12]

Program results[edit]

In 2014, the American Humane Association announced that it had certified one billion animals on more than 8,000 farms.[13] 90 percent of cage-free eggs sold in the US have been certified by the American Humane Association.[14] In 2014, turkey producer Butterball became an American Humane Certified producer.[15] Other producers include The Happy Egg Company,[16] Foster Farms,[17] and Clover Organic Farms.[18]

Consumer support for humanely raised food has increased since the start of the program.[19]

Greener Choices, a project of Consumer Reports, confirms that the American Humane Certified label is verified and somewhat meaningful.[20]

Criticism[edit]

In June 2015, Mercy for Animals released a video of an undercover investigation of American Humane Certified factory, operated by Foster Farms. The footage included workers treating the chickens violently and inhumane slaughter methods; this resulted in Mercy for Animals calling the program "a scam".[21]

According to Consumer Reports, "while the American Humane Association says its standards aim to ensure the humane treatment and improve the welfare of farm animals, the requirements fall short in meeting consumer expectations for a “humane” label in many ways. Most Americans think that a “humane” label should mean that the animals had adequate living space (86%), went outdoors (78%) and were raised without cages (66%). The American Humane Certified standards do not always assure consumers that these basic requirements were met. For example, minimum space requirements are sometimes greater than the industry norm, but do not always allow for freedom of movement. Animals such as chickens, pigs and turkeys can be continually confined indoors; female pigs with their newborn piglets can even be confined in barren crates that do not allow the mother pig to turn around, much less engage in natural and instinctive nesting behaviors. For beef cattle and dairy cows, grazing on pasture is not required and feedlots are allowed."[22]

They have also been heavily criticized for certifying other corporations guilty of numerous animal cruelty cases such as Butterball.[23]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Butterball now humane certified". Feed Stuff Food Link. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
  2. ^ Hoenig, Donald. "Which Came First?". University of Maine. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
  3. ^ "What's in a label? Understanding animal welfare claims". National Hog Farmer. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
  4. ^ Finz, Stacy (March 8, 2013). "Foster Farms certified as humane producer". San Francisco Gate. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
  5. ^ Finz, Stacy (March 8, 2013). "Foster Farms certified as humane producer". San Francisco Gate. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
  6. ^ "American Humane Certified". Food Nutrition Science. Archived from the original on 9 March 2015. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
  7. ^ "American Humane Association". Greener Choices. Archived from the original on 28 March 2015. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
  8. ^ "American Humane Association". Greener Choices. Archived from the original on 28 March 2015. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
  9. ^ "AMERICAN HUMANE CERTIFIED". Farm Plate. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
  10. ^ "American Humane Certified". Food Nutrition Science. Archived from the original on 9 March 2015. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
  11. ^ Price, Catherine. "Sorting Through the Claims of the Boastful Egg". The New York Times. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
  12. ^ "American Humane Certified". Food Nutrition Science. Archived from the original on 9 March 2015. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
  13. ^ "Top Animal Welfare Expert To Lead America's Largest And Fastest-Growing Farm Animal Protection Program". Yahoo News. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
  14. ^ "The Happy Egg Co Receives AHA Certification". Grocery Headquarters. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
  15. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions". Butterball. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
  16. ^ "The Happy Egg Co Receives AHA Certification". Grocery Headquarters. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
  17. ^ "American Humane® Certified FAQ". Foster Farms. Archived from the original on 11 March 2015. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
  18. ^ "Clover Organic Farms". Healthy Child. Archived from the original on 15 March 2015. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
  19. ^ "American Humane Association: Humane Certification Of U.S. Farm Animals Skyrocketing". Sys-Con Media. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
  20. ^ "American Humane Association". Greener Choices. Archived from the original on 28 March 2015. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
  21. ^ "American Humane Association Slammed For Awarding "Humane" Certification To Slaughterhouse Caught On Video Torturing Animals". Mercy for Animals. 17 June 2015. Retrieved 17 February 2016.
  22. ^ "American Humane Certified". Greener Choices. Consumer Reports. 2017-01-11. Retrieved 2017-08-22.
  23. ^ "American Humane Certified™ Producer Spotlight: Butterball". www.americanhumane.org. Retrieved 2019-06-18.

22. Consumer Reports - http://greenerchoices.org/2017/01/11/american-humane-certified/

External links[edit]