More than 12 years ago, HFAC set the standard to keep antibiotics and growth hormones out of our food supply

Here’s why.

Humane Farm Animal Care’s Animal Care Standards ensure that farm animals in our program don’t live in cages or gestation crates, but on farms where they have space to flap their wings and exhibit natural behaviors.

Our Animal Care Standards also prevent the use of antibiotics, growth hormones and animal by-products in farm animal feed. Our standards have prohibited the use of antibiotics since 2003.

Why is this part of the Certified Humane program?

Because it is more humane for farm animals and protects human health as well.

You see, in 1942, factory farms began using Penicillin experimentally on farm animals (before it was introduced to people).  They did this because factory farming situations created tremendous stress on the animals, so much so that their immune systems were suppressed. Studies showed that hens fed low doses of Penicillin laid more eggs and pigs produced more surviving piglets.

Since then, factory farming practices have routinely used antibiotics to boost growth or increase reproduction in farm animals. This is because the animals did not get sick as much since these antibiotics were given daily in feed. This is called the sub-therapeutic use of antibiotics.

Today, more than 80% of farmers give sub-therapeutic use of antibiotics to farm animals to prevent diseases that occur because of factory farming practices, like overcrowding.

Certified Humane provides a better answer for farm animal care.

HFAC’s Animal Care Standards provides precise space requirements for each type of farm animal to reduce stress, overcrowding and the diseases that result, thus eliminating the need altogether of routine antibiotic use.

This is important because routine antibiotic use not only suppresses the immune system of farm animals, it increases the risk that people will develop antibiotic resistance too.

And, the issue of antibiotic resistance in people is a very serious issue. Antibiotics treat bacteria.  If your body becomes resistant to an antibiotic and you are prescribed that specific antibiotic to kill the bacteria that has made you sick, it will not work to kill that bacteria and you could die.  The drugs once used to treat illness no longer work anymore, meaning disease can get out of control because there is no longer any drug that can kill a specific bacteria.

Antibiotic resistance has become a “serious global health concern,” according to the World Health Organization. Knowing that farm animals receive antibiotics routinely – especially when they don’t need it – is the major cause of antibiotic resistance since we are eating the animals that are pumped with unnecessary antibiotics.  That is what causes antibiotic resistance in people.

Certified Humane offers a much better approach to farm animal care that benefits both farm animals and people.

Since 2003, our Animal Care Standards has provided precise space requirements for each type of farm animal to reduce stress, overcrowding and the diseases that result, thus eliminating the need for routine antibiotic use. We allow antibiotic use for sick animals only – NOT for prevention, NOT to increase the size of an animal, and NOT to help animals produce more offspring. Last year alone, 96.7 million farm animals did not receive antibiotics because they were raised under our standards.

During National Nutrition Month, we hope you will ask your grocer to carry Certified Humane® Raised and Handled® label products. Your purchase supports the Certified Humane farmers who have stepped up to the plate this last decade and made the commitment to NOT give antibiotics or growth hormones to farm animals.

The Certified Humane® Raised and Handled® label gives consumers the confidence to know that farmers are raising their animals with the health and welfare of both farm animals and people in mind.