Tag Archives: animal welfare

We often ask our supporters to request that their supermarkets carry Certified Humane® products.  We know this may seem like a small action, but one person’s efforts can truly make a difference. We’re sharing an email that we received recently in hopes that more people will see the change that one person can make, and decide to do something about it themselves.

Dear Adele and all:

 I was THRILLED yesterday, when I found a new brand of cage-free eggs on the shelves at my local Giant Food store (North Point Village, Reston). The brand is “Nellie’s”.  I was pleasantly surprised at how competitively priced they were.  (I *think* they were less expensive than Giant’s store brand.)  So this was the whole package for me — cage-free, competitively priced — and THEN seeing the Certified Humane® seal on them.  I was thrilled!  I’ve never seen any Certified Humane® items at Giant Food before.

When I got home, I called Giant’s corporate offices in Landover, MD, to tell them how thrilled I was to see the Certified Humane® seal in their store.  And to encourage Giant to stock MORE items with the Certified Human®e seal.  The lady I spoke with didn’t know about the Certified Humane® seal, so I explained.  I told her other stores, such as Whole Foods, Safeway, Harris Teeter, DO stock products with the Certified Humane® seal — and that if Giant Food would stock products with the CH seal, I could do all my shopping in one store:  Giant Food.  I explained that, until now, I’ve had to go to these other stores for meat, poultry, dairy bearing the CH® seal …. I also told her that I normally spend a substantial amount of money each week in grocery stores (which is true), hoping I was adding incentive by saying that.

The lady I spoke with sounded truly interested and enthusiastic — and said she was going to pass the information along IMMEDIATELY, that she was typing it up as we spoke, because it sounds like something Giant should be doing.

I can only hope….

~ Robyn Berry

Reston, VA

We hope that Ms. Berry’s experience will encourage others to contact supermarkets as well. If you would like to do your part to fight cruelty in the raising and handling of farm animals, visit our “Take Action” page on our website, found at the following link: http://www.certifiedhumane.org/index.php?page=take-action

Our “Take Action” page has forms available for download which you can give to your grocer, requesting them to carry additional Certified Humane® products or to thank them for already stocking them. We also suggest that you try contact food companies directly to ask them to become Certified Humane®, or to contact your supermarket’s corporate headquarters, as Robyn did.

It is so important that supermarkets hear from you, because they are the largest purchasers from suppliers. If more supermarkets are demanding more Certified Humane® products, more farms will have to change their practices in order to meet the demand, and more animals will be raised and handled humanely.

If you would like to volunteer to help spread the news about Certified Humane®, please send an email to info@certifiedhumane.org, including your mailing address, and Humane Farm Animal Care will send you information and request forms to share with your friends and neighbors.

HFAC Celebrates Ten Years of Improving the Lives of Farm Animals

In the late 1990’s and early part of this new century, as I worked in Congress and lobbied Congress on animal issues, it was clear that farm animal welfare was a huge issue and not being addressed by anyone.  There were some organizations that promoted not eating animals at all, and some that were supporting legislation to change practices of farm animal housing.  There were also commodity groups who were not interested in changing anything.  Having worked in the Congress, and researched the history of animal welfare legislation, it was clear to me that if I wanted to see change in the way farm animals were raised in the US it would have to be through a market solution and not a legislative solution.  It took almost 100 years to get the national “Humane Slaughter Act” passed. I wanted to see change in my lifetime.

My background was public policy and legislation.  I wanted to do something for farm animals and didn’t have any idea of what to do.  The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) in England, which was the first humane society in the world, had a program that I had heard about for farm animals and I wanted to see what that was about.  I went to England and met with the Freedom Foods people and the Farm Animals division of the RSPCA to learn about their program.  The RSPCA had written standards for farm animals and had created a separate organization, Freedom Foods to find farmers who would meet those standards, then label the product “Freedom Foods” and sell the product at retailers in the UK.  At that time Tesco, a major supermarket in the UK was the primary retailer that sold Freedom Foods products.   When I looked at that program I realized that if I wanted to change an industry, I couldn’t do it by competing, it had to be a program where everyone in that industry could participate.  I came home and decided to start a certification and labeling program to do just that.

The process began with the first animal scientists, Dr. Carolyn Stull, Dr. Janice Swanson, Dr. Joy Mench and the late Dr. Julie Morrow Tesch and the help of the RSPCA farm animals division, Dr. Martin Potter, Dr. Julia Wrathall and John Avizienious, and the staff at Freedom Foods.  It was a long learning process.

On February 20, 2003, Humane Farm Animal Care (HFAC) was incorporated in the District of Columbia by our attorney, Beth Kingsley, with Dr. Joanne Irving’s name as the first director, and HFAC was officially founded!  Today is our tenth anniversary.  We started with a staff of two, my daughter, Holly Bridges and I.  We involved all the family in helping: my son Brian Douglass, my other daughter, Meredith Berger and a large group of friends and colleagues without whom this program would not exist.  We sought advice from Dr. Kathleen Merrigan, Barry Carpenter, James Riva, and Tammy Ballard of USDA who guided us to make sure we were doing what we were supposed to be doing, and Lynn Coody, who helped us ensure that our program met international standards.  Andrew Kimbrell and Michael Selmi, who made sure everything was legal.  Patti Higgenbotham and Theresa Hutchison, who made sure our accounting was accurate.  The late Linda Konstan who helped with our personnel policies, Maureen K. Robinson who offered guidance on how to move the organization forward.  Gini Barrett, Margaret Moran, Mary Geraghty, Jack and Ann Sparks, Jane Quilter, who helped with outreach and PR.   Sandy Lerner and Lynn Marachario, early believers and supporters, and the incredible Caryn Ginsburg, whose marketing research, planning, and implementation of marketing outreach enabled us to recruit producers and engage consumers in order to get the spectacular results we have gotten over the years.   Victoria Foulides, Paula Barrett and Gita McCutcheon, who have helped us with fundraising, outreach and public relations.

A special thanks to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA) and the other early supporters of the Certified Humane® program.

The original four companies that were certified and launched with us were Echo Farm Puddings, Touchstone Farms, Ayrshire Farm, and duBreton Natural Pork, and are still with us today.  During that year, Prather Ranch Beef, Meyer Natural Angus Beef and Pete and Gerry’s eggs came on to the program.  They are all still certified and part of the program.  At the end of 2003, there were 143,000 animals raised under our standards.

At the end of 2012, there were 76.8 million farm animals raised under our standards and 94 companies certified.

My goal was to have 1% of the farm animals raised for food, raised under our standards in 10 years.  We have fallen short by 23.2 million farm animals. I would like to reach this goal by 2014.   We need your help to reach this goal; please keep promoting the program, and keep asking your supermarkets for products that are Certified Humane® so we can meet this goal and keep moving forward.

Thanks for all your support,