Your Efforts are Making a Difference

We get calls and e-mails all the time asking how the Certified Humane® program is different from other certification programs out there.  People want to purchase food they can be assured comes from farm animals raised under humane guidelines.  The challenge is that having many different labels in the marketplace can be confusing and sometimes misleading.

So today we released a comprehensive, side-by-side comparison of major U.S. animal welfare labels.  The chart analyzes the five leading food labeling programs dedicated to animal welfare:  Certified Humane®, Animal Welfare Approved, Global Animal Partnership (Whole Foods), USDA/Organic and American Humane Certified.

This chart is designed to show you, the consumer, what each label means under specific programs.  By consulting the chart you can now make a more informed decision when purchasing food.

Check out the chart here:  Comparison Chart

All of your efforts to take comment cards to retailers urging them to carry Certified Humane® products in their stores are having an impact. Because of your efforts, products that are Certified Humane® are sold in over 4,000 retailers nationwide. They are being sold at regular supermarkets, not expensive specialty stores, but regular supermarkets that many of us shop in.  You can visit our products finder Where to Buy to locate a store near you.

Thank you for all your efforts and I’m counting on you to tell your friends and family about Certified Humane® and ask them to help spread the word in the New Year!  It’s because of you that we have been able to make such good progress. It is because of you that many millions of farm animals had better lives in 2010.

Best wishes to you and your families in 2011!

Adele

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Adele Douglass, Executive Director

6 responses to “Your Efforts are Making a Difference

  1. Many of the poor care practices on farms are caused by poor profits. (ex.In your recent e-mail with the photos of the cows in the tie stall barn) Farmers are making 1970’s wages and are unable to afford upgrades to their facilities. In today’s economic times many dairy farmers are actually paying to work the milk price is so bad and the feed price is so high. Could you start an iniative to help farmers get a fair price for their milk…. if so I know most of the farmers would improve the conditions of their facilities. I am willing to pay $5-6 a gallon of milk to insure healthy profits for farms that would insure healthy living conditions for cows. How bout you… ready to pay more for your food?

    • The Certified Humane® program was the initiative I started to help farmers get a better price for their products. Farmers that are on our program are paid more for their products. The whole point of this program is that consumers do and are paying more for products that are humanely raised. However, there is no reason whatsoever for farmers to ever treat animals inhumanely. All the products I purchase, as do my family and friends and most of the readers of this blog are Certified Humane® and we all pay more for those products. How about telling your farmers about this program and telling them to apply.

  2. I’m a retail meat cutter set on educating my clientele to the current conditions in U.S. meat processes. What percentages of feed lot conditions vary and has there been an acceptance of the behavioral methods designed by Dr. Temple Grandin? How can we know on the retail level what cattle are feed? Can we assume if it is not labeled “Humane” or locally produced that it is then fed a finishing feedlot diet of corn and chemicals? I am grateful to see this beginning of the end of corporate abuse of animals and people.

    • The majority of cattle in the US is finished on feedlots. Since our standards were written to improve the lives of farm animals raised in the US it would have been irresponsible to not address the beef cattle that are finished in feed lots. On the Certified Humane program the standards have space requirements, and the few feedlots that are used on our program are small, with small numbers of cattle, there are requirements such as windbreaks, shade, weather protection, mud issues, and feed. On our website, you can review the beef cattle standards, under “standards.” Dr. Grandin is a member of our Scientific Committee.

  3. It looks as if debeaking is permitted? How is that humane? And is it really needed if the chickens are being treated well?

    • Thanks for sharing your concerns. I am glad to have the opportunity to explain about our program and the standards we have for laying hens.

      De-beaking is prohibited by our program. Our laying hen standards allow beak trimming if it occurs before 10 days of age, and here is the reasoning behind that:

      In flocks of cage-free laying hens larger than 120 birds, there is a tendency towards feather pecking and cannibalism. Feather pecking is a natural behavior for birds (actually the source of the term “pecking order”), whereas cannibalism occurs when the birds attack another bird until it is dead. Most of the food production flocks are much larger than 120 birds, unless they are being raised by a backyard farmer or hobbyist.

      Beak trimming is performed on birds prior to 10 days of age. Our scientific committee developed this standard as a way to combat cannibalism in cage-free flocks while minimizing discomfort for the birds. There have been studies done which show that trimming just the tip of the beak at that age causes only momentary discomfort, with no long-term discomfort or ill effects. The birds are still able to use their beak in a full range of natural behaviors.

      There was also a study conducted which showed that in cage-free flocks with no beak trimming performed, upwards of 30% of the birds are cannibalized. Unfortunately, birds raised in cages are the least prone to cannibalism, but we do not believe that either of these situations encompasses good welfare.

      For more information and pictures of what a beak-trimmed bird looks like, please visit the Fact Sheets page on our website You will see a section on Laying Hens which includes our fact sheet on beak trimming.

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