(703)435-3883 info@certifiedhumane.org PO Box 82 Middleburg, VA 20118

New! – Farm Brands that Ship

As we rapidly re-think our shopping habits these days, Humane Farm Animal Care has some good news to facilitate these changes: many Certified Humane® producers have made their products accessible through online shopping portals. 

Additionally, there are farms whose family run farm shops remain open and ready to serve their local communities. Buying from these producers is an increasingly appealing option for many and it contributes to longer term sustainability for the farmer and, as always, for the animals.

Farm / CompanyCertified Humane® OfferingsWebsite/ Contact Info.Service Offered
Alderfer'sFresh EggsFreshDirect.comHome Delivery: Metro NY & DC, NJ, PA, DE
Belcampo FarmBeef, Pork & ChickenBelcampo.comShop Online
Bitterroot BisonBisonBitterrootBison.comShop Online
Born Free Fresh Eggsinstacart.comPick-up or Delivery from your Local Groceries
Cannon Hill FarmBelted Galloway Beef (whole or half)canhill@shentel.netStock your freezer! Pickup in Mt. Jackson, VA
Carol's Organic Pasture-RaisedFresh Eggsinstacart.comPick-up or Delivery from your Local Groceries
ChompsBeef JerkyChomps.comShop Online
Cooks VenturePasture Raised ChickenCooksventure.comShop Online
D'ArtagnanGreen Circle Chicken and TurkeyDartagnan.comshop Online
Davidson'sFresh Eggsinstacart.comShop Online
Dole & BaileyTurkeyDoleandBailey.comShop Online
Drake Family FarmsGoat Cheese & ChèvreDrakeFamilyFarms.comShop Online
Farmer FocusChicken: Fresh & pre-CookedFreshDirect.comHome Delivery: Metro NY & DC, NJ, PA, DE
Farmers Hen HouseFresh EggsHy-vee.com/aisles-online & instacart.comShop Online
Firefly FarmsBeef, Pork, Turkey & ChickenFirefly.FarmShop Online & CT Farm Shop
Gentle HarvestPet FoodGentle HarvestShop Online
Giving NatureFresh EggsAmazon.comShop Online
Happy BellyFresh EggsAmazon.comShop Online
Happy Valley Meat Co.BeefShop.HappyValleyMeat.comShop Online
Hart Dairy100% free-range, grass-fed milkPublix.com & instacart.comPickup or Delivery in Georgia from Publix, Instacart
Home Place PasturesPork, Bacon & SausagesHomePlacePastures.comShop Online
Honey Sweetie AcresGoat Milk Soaps, Lotions and SkincareHoneySweetieAcres.comShop Online
Hunters Head TavernFull Restaurant MenuHuntersheadTavern.comTake Out, Upperville Virginia
Idyll FarmsFarmstead Goat Cheese Creameryorders@idyllfarms.comShop online
Judy's Family FarmFresh Eggsinstacart.comPick-up or Delivery from your Local Groceries
Kirkland SignatureFresh EggsCostco.comPick-up or delivery
LonghiniPork Sausage & Chicken SausageLonghiniSausage.comShop Online
LucerneFresh & Hard-Boiled EggsSafeway.com & Albertsons.comPick-up or Delivery from Safeway/Albertson's
Ludwig Farmstead CreameryCheese (Cow's Milk)LudwigFarmsteadCreamery.comShop Online
Mary's Free Range ChickenChickenTaylorsMarket.com/PoultryShop Online
Nature's Farm (Canada)Egg PastaNaturesFarm.ca/StoreShop Online
Nature's YolkFresh EggsFreshDirect.comHome Delivery: Metro NY & DC, NJ, PA, DE
Nellie's Free RangeFresh EggsAmazon.comShop Online, availability varies by zip code
NestFreshFresh Eggsinstacart.comPick-up or Delivery from your Local Groceries
Niman RanchBeef, Pork & CharcuterieDebragga.com, PerdueFarms.com, & Butcherbox.comShop Online
North Country SmokehouseHam, Bacon, Sausage & Sliced Turkeyncsmokehouse.comShop Online
O OrganicFresh & Hard-Boiled Eggsinstacart.comPick-up or Delivery from Safeway/Albertson's
Oath PizzaMeat & Poultry Pizza ToppingsOathpizza.comPizza Kits Ship Nationwide or Pick-up: MA, DC, VA & NY
Open FarmPet Food Meals and SnacksOpenFarmPet.comShop Online
Open NatureFresh Eggsinstacart.comPick-up or Delivery from Safeway/Albertson's
Organic Pastures now Raw FarmRaw Farm Cheddar, Milk, Butter & KefirRawFarmUSA.com/shopShips Cheese Nationwide; Butter, Milk & Kefir ships within CA
PeckishBoiled Eggs & DipPerfectlyPeckish.comShop Online (temporarily onhold)
Pederson'sPork and BaconPedersonsFarms.comShop Online
Petaluma FarmsFresh Eggsinstacart.comPick-up or Delivery from your Local Groceries
Pete & Gerry'sFresh, Hard-bolied & Liquid Eggsinstacart.com & Amazon.comShop Online or Pick-up, Delivery from Local Groceries
Redwood Hill FarmGoat Milk Yogurt & KefirFreshDirect.com & Amazon.comShop Online or Delivery: Metro NY & DC, NJ, PA, DE
Shelburne FarmsCheese (Cow's Milk)Store.ShelburneFarms.orgShop Online & VT Farm Shop
Sir Kensington'sMayonnaise Varieties & SaucesSirKensingtons.com & Amazon.comShop Online
Skagit River RanchGrassfed BeefSkagitRiverRanch.comShop Online & Local Pickup Puget Sound Area
Smart ChickenChickenSmartChicken.com & FreshDirect.comShop Online
StarWalker Organic FarmsBeef & PorkStarwalkerOrganicFarms.comShop Online
Teton Waters RanchGrassfed Beef Hot Dogs & SausagesHealthyGoodness.comShop Online
The Country EggFresh Eggs from heritage breed hensinstacart.com (from Sprouts in Arizona)Shop Online for home delivery
Thrive MarketPasture Raised ChickenThriveMarket.comShop Online
Tulip Tree CreameryCow’s Milk Cheese made w/vegetable rennetTulipTreeCreamery.comFed Ex Nationwide or Market Wagon Delivery
Usinger'sHamUsinger.comShop Online
Vital Farms Fresh EggsAmazon.comShop Online, availability varies by zip code
White Oak PasturesMeat and Poultry WhiteOakPastures.comShop Online
WilcoxFresh Eggsinstacart.comPick-up or Delivery from your Local Groceries

To find Certified Humane® products worldwide, visit our STORE LOCATOR

Fire Fly Farms Has It All

Fire Fly Farms – New London County Connecticut Has it All!

Order for pick up at the Connecticut farm shop or nationwide delivery via UPS:
Phone / Text: (860) 912-2553
Email: info@fireflyfarmsllc.com

Farm Shop:
96 Button Road, North Stonington, Connecticut
Hours: Tue.-Sat. 7:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Farm Shop Phone: (860) 917-7568

This Certified Humane farm offers heritage Randall beef and veal; Mulefoot pork; several breeds of chicken, including heritage breeds and turkeys. They ship their meat directly to customers. https://firefly.farm/

Adele Douglass, Founder and CEO of Humane Farm Animal Care, Joins Denver Frederick

by  | Jul 30, 2019 | Guest Interview

The following is a conversation between Adele Douglass, Founder and CEO of Humane Farm Animal Care, and Denver Frederick, Host of The Business of Giving on AM 970 The Answer WNYM in New York City.

Denver: When in the meat or dairy aisle at the grocery store, have you ever seen the label that reads “Certified Humane Raised and Handled®”? Have you wondered when and how the certification process got started? Well, tonight, we’ll find out directly from the person who started it. She is Adele Douglass, the Founder and CEO of Humane Farm Animal Care

Good evening, Adele, and welcome to The Business of Giving! 

Adele: Thank you very much. It’s a pleasure to be here.

Denver: Share with us the mission and goals of Humane Farm Animal Care.

Adele: Well, the mission is: we’re a non-profit certification organization, dedicated to improving the lives of farm animals in food production, from birth through slaughter. The goal of the program is to improve the lives of farm animals by driving consumer demand for kinder and more responsible farm animal practices. When you see the Certified Humane Raised and Handled® label on a product, you can be assured that the food products have come from facilities that meet precise objective standards for farm animal treatment.

Denver: Now, you were raised in New York City, Adele, and not on the farm. So, what got you interested in this subject? Was there a moment when you decided that something had to be done? 

Adele: Yes, yes and yes. I worked for a member of Congress, and then I lobbied Congress on behalf of children and animals. I was asked in the late ‘90s to be part of various animal welfare committees, and they figured, “Well, she doesn’t know anything about farm animals, so we can do whatever we want.” Well, it didn’t work out that way. Because I was – when I went and saw how chickens were… how hens were…. in cages and they couldn’t move, they couldn’t stand up, they couldn’t sit down at the same time – I was appalled. I thought, “If consumers knew this, they wouldn’t buy this food.”

So, I asked friends who were scientists to show me the opposite, to show me different ways animals are raised, and that was very inspirational. And I thought, “Well, I’ve got to do something to help farm animals. This helps farmers, and it helps consumers; so therefore, who would object to this?” I needed money to start it, so I cashed in my 401k so I had money, and then I got some funding from HSUS, from ASPCA, and that was for four or five years. We’ve been on our own ever since.

Click here to read more and listen to the interview.

PETA’s latest…

PETA has launched another attack campaign against Humane Farm Animal Care’s Certified Humane® program. We wish they would stop picking on farmers who are trying to do the right thing for farm animals, but we know this is part of their fundraising efforts every year.

In September 2017, PETA went to a farm in Pennsylvania that offered public tours and took selective videos of this farm. Per our records, this farm had an unannounced inspection one month prior, in August 2017. The inspection was conducted by one of our third-party farm animal welfare experts: veterinarians and scientists with expertise in their species of farm animals. According to the inspection report, the farm met all the requirements of the Certified Humane® program.

This farm sells their eggs to Nellie’s Free-Range Eggs, the first egg producer to become Certified Humane®, so their commitment to animal welfare is long-established.

The comments made by PETA-supporting veterinarians, Dr. Holly Cheever, Dr. Lester Castro Freedlander and Dr. Greg Burkett, were based on watching the video, which can be misleading, and not from actual engagement with the hens on the farm.

Here are PETA’s claims and our replies…

  1. The space in the barn of 1.2 sq. f/bird is not adequate space for the birds to perform natural behavior. — Dr. Lester Friedlander, DVM

Reply:  The Humane Farm Animal Care Scientific Committee comprised of 40 international animal scientists and veterinarians who wrote our standards, concluded that 1.2 sq. ft. of space per bird in a cage-free barn of this type is the minimum space needed for the hens to exhibit natural behaviors. In addition, the outdoor space for free-range laying hens is 2 sq. ft/bird. This farm meets both those standards.

  1. The exits for the birds are closed at night and not opened until 1:00 p.m. and closed throughout the winter. – PETA Video

Reply:  HFAC Standards require: “Outdoor access, must be provided for a minimum of 6 hours per day during the daytime, except during inclement weather or for veterinary or emergency reasons.” On this farm, the doors are open to the birds between 1:30 p.m. and nightfall, which meets our requirements. The birds don’t go outside if it is below 54 degrees Fahrenheit, above 94 degrees Fahrenheit, or if it is raining or muddy.  The birds must be kept indoors at night to prevent predators from attacking them. Farms often keep hens inside during cold or bad weather.

  1. The hatches to the outside are too small for the birds to have free access to the outdoor. – Dr. Holly Cheever, DVM

Reply:  There are very specific requirements for the hatches in our Standards. “Hens must have sufficient exit areas appropriately distributed around the buildings i.e., at least one exit every 50 feet along one side of the house to ensure that all hens have ready-access to the outdoor areas. Each exit must allow the passage of more than one hen at a time.  Exits must be at least 18” high and 21” wide.” This farm meets these standards.

  1. …the birds’ sensitive beaks are cut off to prevent the densely-packed chickens from attacking and killing each other. Despite the mutilation, many hens were observed to have missing feathers…” — Dr. Gregg Burkett

Reply:  According to our Standards, birds are allowed to be beak-trimmed; there is no “cutting off” beaks. The beak trimming must be done before 10 days of age and in a very specific way to meet our Standards.  Our Scientific Committee concluded that if the procedure is done under 10 days of age, there is no lasting effect to the birds and assures the birds will not peck each other to death. The reason we allow beak trimming is that, no matter how much space hens have, they WILL feather peck each other. Studies show birds that are not beak-trimmed have a high mortality rate. Our inspector verified the farm not only followed our Standards but has more than the required number of perches for the birds, which helps minimize pecking behaviors.

The air quality in the barns was also less than 10 ppm of ammonia, which is a major indicator of the farmer’s care since this means their litter, which the birds use for dustbathing is more than adequate and well-managed.

  1. “The children of the farmer touched and carried the hens with bare hands. Does this put the family or hens at risk of contracting or spreading diseases, including avian influenza? – PETA asks the three veterinarians:

“Contracting a disease is initially solely dependent on whether or not a flock has the disease. They cannot spread what they don’t have. Handling healthy bird poses very little risk of disease transmission.  Currently, there are no strains of avian influenza in the US.” – Dr. Gregg Burkett

According to our inspection reports, this farm meets all HFAC’s Standards, and then some.  If this farm had things to hide, they would not allow public tours on their property.

The Certified Humane program strives to be fully-transparent.  Our Standards are on our website for all to see. https://certifiedhumane.org/how-we-work/our-standards/

Our Scientific Committee is made up of the best farm animal scientists and veterinarians in the world.  https://certifiedhumane.org/how-we-work/scientific-committee/

PETA’s agenda is to convert people to veganism. See “Does PETA have the right to determine what’s humane considering their view on animals, January 13, 2016)

Our program does not care whether people are vegans, vegetarians or meat eaters. That decision is up to you. Our nonprofit’s mission is to ensure farm animals raised for food are raised in ways that ensure their needs are being met. These needs are not based on our perception of their needs, but their actual needs as determined by our Scientific Committee. It’s unfortunate that PETA is attempting to ruin the reputation of an honorable farmer and egg company whose intentions towards their hens are the most humane.

How to decode egg labels

Every day, people stop and stare at egg displays at the supermarket. They open and close the egg cartons, look at pictures on the carton of hens dancing in the sunshine, and mull over words, like “natural” or “organic,” in an effort to determine if the eggs they are holding were laid by happy hens.

For people who care how hens are raised, the quickest and easiest solution to this egg dilemma is to look for egg cartons with the Certified Humane Raised and Handled® label. The Certified Humane® label assures consumers that farmers are adhering to a precise set of Animal Care Standards. These standards are written and continually updated by world-renowned veterinarians and animal welfare scientists. And, in the interest of full transparency, our Standards are displayed on our website for everyone see.

In addition to lighting, air, and food requirements, these standards also require cage-free living, enrichments for the hens, like perches and proper space where they can do what hens do, like flapping their wings or dustbathing their feathers.

The Certified Humane® label also guarantees that third-party inspectors – veterinarians and animal welfare scientists with master’s degrees or Ph.D.’s in their field of farm animal care – routinely inspect farms to ensure these standards are always being met and followed.

Simply put, the Certified Humane® label lets consumers know that Humane Farm Animal Care is on the job setting the standards and verifying the well-being of the laying hens in the program.

This knowledge will make you a rock star on the egg aisle. As you hone in on the Certified Humane® label and grab your eggs and go, people will see your certainty about your purchase and will stop to look at what eggs you just bought.

If you feel compelled to educate others about the Certified Humane® label, we want you to be super savvy about the egg industry’s marketing lingo. After all, your friends may try to convince you their “natural” eggs belong to hens that are humanely-raised too. (They are not).

So, here’s a primer on the terms most commonly seen on egg cartons and what those terms mean (or don’t mean) for the hens on the farm.

The “Organic” label, regulated by the USDA, addresses environmental issues, and not the well-being of laying hens. The USDA defines “Organic” as a labeling term “that indicates that the food or other agricultural product has been produced through approved methods that integrate cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity. Synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, irradiation, and genetic engineering may not be used.”

While a USDA blog refers to organic eggs as coming from hens who have “liberal access to the outdoors,” it does not provide any specific requirements of the space and leaves it up the farmer and certifying agent to decide upon.

Non-GMO means a hen is fed a diet that is free from genetically-modified organisms. That is good, but that’s all it means when alone on an egg carton. “Non-GMO” doesn’t outline any humane standards of care for laying hens.

Some people think the words “Vegetarian-Fed” means hens are vegetarians. They are not. On pasture, hens eat worms, grubs, and bugs. But vegetarian-fed does mean your hens aren’t being fed animal by-products, like ground chicken. This is a good thing, which is covered in our Animal Care Standards too. But again, these words alone do not offer any humane standards of care for laying hens.

This label is regulated by the USDA, and means, “Hens can move freely within the building/hen house and have unlimited access to food and fresh water during their production cycle.” Under this term, however, the USDA offers no space requirements for the laying hens. The Certified Humane® program requires “1.5 square feet per hen, litter for dust bathing, perches for the birds, and ammonia levels at a maximum of 10ppm, which means the scent is imperceptible,” just to cite a few of our humane standards for hens living cage-free in barns.

The “Free-Range” label is regulated by the USDA and acknowledges “continuous access to the outdoors during their production cycle, which may or may not be fenced and/or covered with netting-like material.” It sounds great, but like the word “Organic,” Free-Range doesn’t stipulate what outdoor access really means, or how much space is required for the hens, which means anyone can put “Free-Range” on their label, even if the hens are outside for five minutes. Certified Humane® defines Free-Range as having at least 6 hours of outdoor access and a minimum of two square feet of outdoor space per bird.

The term “Pasture-Raised” is not regulated by the USDA and is a marketing term used solely to confuse consumers. Wow, right? This marketing term dupes many consumers into believing that hens are on pasture-all day. Because it’s not a regulated term, anyone can slap “pasture-raised” across their egg carton. Certified Humane® does have a definition for “Pasture-Raised, which requires 6-hours of outdoor space and 2-square-feet per bird. Currently, eight farms are Certified Humane® “Pasture-Raised.”

Under the USDA, “Meat, poultry, and egg products labeled as “natural” must be minimally-processed and contain no artificial ingredients.” In other words, the “natural” label is about how the food is processed and does not include any definitions for how the hens are care for on the farm.

It might surprise you to learn that Federal regulations have banned the use of growth in hormones in poultry since the 1950s.

So, labels that say, “no antibiotics” or “no hormones” on egg cartons are just trying to make you think that other farmers may be using them. It’s a sneaky term that again has nothing to do with the humane treatment of laying hens.

The word “Humane” is not regulated by the USDA, which is why Humane Farm Animal Care launched in 2003 and gathered the world’s top veterinarians and animal welfare scientists to write humane standards of care for farm animals. Just like any other animal, cows, chickens, pigs, sheep, goats, turkeys and other farm animals deserve to have their emotional, mental and physical needs met. We believe they should be raised and housed in a way that allows them to express natural behaviors throughout their lives. Backed by science and confirmed by inspectors, the Certified Humane Raised and Handled® label is the label egg shoppers should look for it they want to buy their eggs from farmers interested in meeting a higher standard of welfare for their hens. We hope shopping on the egg aisle just got easier for you. Check out our Where to Buy page or download our Certified Humane® app to find stores near you with Certified Humane® eggs.

What makes a turkey a Certified Humane® turkey?

When you purchase food with the Certified Humane® label, you’re supporting farmers who support the humane treatment of farm animals by following our precise Standards of Animal Care. When you purchase food with the Certified Humane® label, you’re supporting farmers who support the humane treatment of farm animals by following our precise Standards of Animal Care.

Take turkeys, for example.

  • Under our Standards of Animal Care, farmers must provide turkeys with a nutritious diet without antibiotics and fresh drinking water at all times.
  • They must provide turkeys with appropriate shelter, with shade and protection from inclement weather and predators.
  • In barns or on pasture, turkeys must have perches so they can roost and engage in natural behaviors.
  • Caretakers must be able to demonstrate competence in handling animals in a positive and compassionate manner.
  • And, they also must give turkeys a minimum of eight hours of light and eight hours of darkness each day to maintain the bird’s natural life cycles.

These standards and more are compliant with standards verified annually by independent, specially trained, auditors with expertise in their fields.

To find stores that sell Certified Humane® turkeys and other products, visit our “Where to Buy” page or download our free Certified Humane® App.

And, if you can’t find a Certified Humane® turkey or other food items at your local grocery store, please visit our Take Action page to see how you can encourage grocery stores to carry these products. When consumers demand it, grocery stores will carry it, and it will make a world of difference for farm animals.

DXE, Again!

It’s tiresome, but every few months we have to write about DXE, an animal liberation organization who is against farming and doesn’t believe farm animals should be raised for any reason, like food or clothing (wool). That’s because every few months, they produce a fundraising video of them breaking into a farm in the middle of the night using dishonest editing to falsify their story.

They don’t attack factory farms. They attack farmers who are working to give farm animals more natural lives. And, they attack us, a nonprofit organization working to improve the lives of farm animals.

Of course, if a farm is questioned in any way, we reassure consumers by conducting unannounced inspections to make sure the farm is in compliance with our Animal Care Standards. You can scroll to the end of this blog to read the surprise inspection of the farm in question. This inspection is in addition to the inspection each farm receives annually.

DXE has produced videos where they claimed they were on a Certified Humane® farm when, in fact, they were not, which is also disingenuous.

Here’s what we know about DXE and their videos.

  • DXE uses the same “break-in” clips from video to video. They try to make the footage appear as if it’s all from one farm when in fact the video shows different farms and different birds. For example, the bird in the most recent video starts out as a white bird who grows up to be red chicken. You don’t have to be much of an expert on chickens to see these deceptive tactics.
  • Their videos show a lack of understanding for basic animal husbandry. Each video shows poop on the floor of a barn as if chickens live in constant filth. Anyone who has ever worked at an animal shelter knows if you were to break into a shelter in the middle of the might there would be poop on the floor of the dog kennels and in the puppy cages. Puppies even get poop on their paws and fur because there is no staff around in the middle of the night to clean it up before they step in it. The same holds true for chickens in barns, so pointing to poop during a night raid only proves one thing: chickens poop at night.
  • They don’t understand basic farm animal behavior. In the most recent video, they rescue a chicken being picked on by other chickens. This is not the result of poor husbandry; this is the result of animal behavior. There is a reason for the phrase “pecking order,” as chickens sometimes will and do pick on each other. Farmers check on their birds every day, since birds, like most animals, tend to gang up on a weaker animal and do harm to another animal almost overnight. The fact that this activist group only finds and rescues “one bird” during their break-ins is a testament to the farmer’s ability monitor his or her flock of birds.
  • Their break-ins endanger farm animals. Every time DXE breaks into a barn, they put the entire flock at risk. Farmers have protocols in place to ensure their chickens don’t get bird flu or other diseases from the outside world – diseases that could decimate an entire flock or impact consumers by getting into our nation’s food supply. Last year, DXE broke into a barn and found one hen-pecked bird to rescue. Sadly, the exposure from these outsiders resulted in the death of the rest of the chickens in the barn.

If you don’t believe farm animals should be raised for food, there is nothing we can say or do to convince you otherwise. But if you are part of the 95% of the U.S. population that eats meat, we want you to know that as a nonprofit organization, it’s our mission to help farm animals raised for food live more natural lives.

Here is the farm inspection report about the most recent farm in question. Our inspectors are all Ph.D.’s or DVM’s who are experts in their field of farm animal welfare and provide us with third-party reporting on Certified Humane® farms.

Farm Inspection Report

The scope of this inspection was to determine the welfare and living conditions of Certified Humane hens at the Pepper Ranch location of Rainbow Farms. The managers were sure that House #2 had been broken into, but were unsure if the other two houses had also been compromised. Therefore, all three houses were inspected. The inspection was performed on February 17th, 2017.

House 1: This house had 47 week old ISA Brown hens. All birds observed were well-feathered and alert. The litter was in great condition, and hens were observed dust-bathing and forging. Hens were observed utilizing all parts of the housing system. House records indicated low mortality except for a piling incident, which was explained by a thunderstorm. The thunder scared the birds and they panicked, causing a piling scenario.

House 2: This house had 70 week old ISA Brown hens. All birds observed were alert and dust-bathing and foraging. Litter was in good condition. Hens had variable feather cover, ranging from fully feathered to moderate feather loss. No hens observed showed severe feather loss. Most of the hens had evidence of pin feathers, indicating new feather growth and that the birds were molting.

House 3: This house had 82 week old ISA Brown hens, close to being depopulated. Again, litter was in good condition with hens observed dust-bathing and foraging. Hens had variable feather coverage, slightly worse than in House 2, but appropriate for their age. Pin feathers were observed on some of these hens as well, and there were a small number of hens that were fully feathered.

No wounds were observed on any hens from any houses. No sick or lethargic hens were observed at the time of the inspection. When first entering all houses, hens appeared crowded at the front of the pens. When looking down the houses, open space could be observed in the aviary systems as well as the litter areas. When walking the litter areas, hens had great freedom of movement, were inquisitive toward the inspector, and there was plenty of open space for the hens.

Overall, the hens in all three houses at this Ranch were in good condition, with feather coverage appropriate for their ages. Litter was in good condition, and hens had freedom of movement. Mortality in all houses was generally low, based on house records.

21st century brings more awareness of farm animal welfare

Last year, our Executive Director, Adele Douglass, was interviewed for At the Fork, a farm animal welfare documentary released this month that follows the film’s two directors, an Austin couple – one a vegetarian and one an omnivore – as they visit farms across the nation to explore how farm animals are raised for food.

As an organization whose mission is to improve the lives of farm animals in food production, Humane Farm Animal Care (HFAC) was pleased to be a part of this movie and hope it elevates the conversation about how farm animals are raised.

When one considers animal suffering, there is no doubt that farm animals in food production top the list of the animals who suffer the most at the hands of humans. With billions of animals raised for food annually, the stakes couldn’t be any higher for them. Factory farming forces cows to stand in milking tie stalls 24/7, pigs to live in gestation crates, and chickens to share small battery cages with up to a half a dozen birds. These animals don’t have places to walk, root around, flap wings or live natural lives.

At factory farms, animals are not treated like animals, but like objects that can be used and abused. Whatever one’s belief about eating meat and poultry, the bottom line is this; just because an animal is raised for food doesn’t mean it shouldn’t also be raised humanely.

The beginning of a movement

Sadly, there were no organizations in the United States that fully addressed the welfare of farm animals raised for food until the early part of this century. While groups worked to protect pets, wildlife, animals in testing, and even animals in film, no organizations raised awareness about the welfare of farm animals in food production.

Thanvitalfarmschickenskfully, since HFAC launched in 2003, we have witnessed a rapid change in the public’s perception over the treatment of farm animals. We established a scientific committee of more than three dozen animal welfare scientists and veterinarians from around the world whose entire body of work is research on the welfare of farm animals. These experts created HFAC’s Animal Care Standards for several species of farm animals, including beef cattle, dairy cows, laying hens, broiler chickens, pigs, dairy goats, and bison. The standards provide for the mental, physical and emotional needs of farm animals and insure that these animals are treated humanely throughout every step of their lives.

To be in the Certified Humane® program, farmers must pass an inspection by third-party independent inspectors before they can use the Certified Humane® logo on their products. Inspections are conducted regularly to ensure standards continue to be met on these farms going forward. In 2016, we conducted 515 inspection days – through third party inspectors who are experts in their field of farm animal welfare – for more than 2,000 farms in the program to ensure the humane treatment of more than 152 million farm animals.

Consumer demand has made the difference

Over the last decade, consumer demand has finally brought attention to farm animal issues and the desire for the humane treatment of farm animals in the food industry. In 2003, 143,000 farm animals were raised Certified Humane® in the U.S.; in 2016, more than 152 million farm animals were raised Certified Humane in five countries. We’re proud to say that over these last 14 years, more than 667 million farm animals have been raised in the Certified Humane® program.

This amazing progress couldn’t have been made without a growing community of people demanding humanely-raised food. Farmers are listening, too. They are choosing to become Certified Humane® to demonstrate to consumers their unwavering commitment to the welfare of farm animals.

At every step of their lives, HFAC believes farm animals deserve to be treated with compassion. And, “we are just getting started in a movement that is going to forever elevate the care and treatment of farm animals in food production,” says Douglass.

We are committed to certifying farmers who meet our Animal Care Standards by letting them use the Certified Humane Raised and Handled® label and educating and encouraging consumers to be change-makers by shopping for Certified Humane in grocery stores and restaurants.

We believe the demand for humanely-raised food will only continue to grow. At the Fork helps shed light on this issue and further helps consumers think about the welfare of farm animals and how their food is raised.

To support Certified Humane® farmers, please visit our “Where to Buy” page or download our free Certified Humane® app.



Certified Humane continues making progress for farm animals


Humane Farm Animal Care (HFAC) is on a mission to create a Certified Humane® world for farm animals. And thanks to our supporters, 2016 has been an extremely successful year.

• We’ve added more than 49 million farm animals to the program, going from 103 million farm animals raised Certified Humane® in 2015 to more than 152 million in 2016.

• Since HFAC launched in 2003, more than 667 million farm animals have been raised in the Certified Humane® program.

• HFAC now operates in five countries – the U.S., Canada, Brazil, Chile and Peru.

• Certified Humane® cat food and dog treats became available to pet owners in 2016, in addition to the Certified Humane® dog food already in the program.

• BRF Brasil – one of the largest food companies in the world – joined the Certified Humane® program for 33 of their chicken farms and eight turkey farms in 2016.

• Korin Agropecuária, the largest organic chicken producer in Brazil and the first Brazilian company to attain Certified Humane® certification in 2009, began exporting frozen chicken with the Certified Humane® label to more than 80 supermarkets operating in Hong Kong.

Thanks to our supporters, we’re able to work with farmers and producers, hire third-party inspectors – all farm animal welfare experts – to ensure our program standards are met. We also can educate consumers about how to download our free Certified Humane® app to find Certified Humane® meat, pork, chicken, eggs, dairy and pet food products near them.

We couldn’t make a difference without the support of many compassionate people who care about the welfare of farm animals in food production. Thanks to everyone who helped in 2016.

Egg labels are confusing enough

There is an egg company with a logo that says ‘certified happy.’ Their egg cartons are printed with “We set new higher standards for egg production focused on enhanced animal welfare (exceeding standards laid down by Humane Farm Animal Care and those for organic and cage-free eggs). We provide 21.8 sq. ft. of outdoor space per hen “reflected in our new higher standards.”

I understand the need for marketing gimmicks, but it is essential to be transparent, truthful and honest.  

Without knowledge of the needs of hens, one would automatically think that more outdoor space is better.  However, our standards were written by experts in hen behavior, a 40-member Scientific Committee that wrote them to meet the actual needs of the animals, not our perceived needs.

While there are documented benefits of more free range outdoor space for laying hens, understanding why and how hens use that space is still being researched. Studies, however, show that only portions of a flock will use the extra space when given the opportunity. Based on current knowledge, managing for high-quality range close to their barns/shelters is more beneficial.

We believe range quality is more important than range quantity.

The amount of space hens need depends on the quality of the range. If the basic conditions are met, the minimum outdoor space requirement is 2 sq. ft/bird or (0.19 meters/bird) because hens will not have to go far to find cover, shade and nutrients. If range quality is not good, they will need additional space to find food and cover, exposing them to unnecessary risks from disease and predators.

Our basic requirements set the standard.

Our Humane Farm Animal Care free range standards require ground covered by living vegetation, so birds can move freely and get nutrients. The ground also must be managed to avoid parasites, bacteria and viruses that might cause disease.  The hens must not come into contact with any toxic substances. The range must include crop rotation, prevention of heavily poached/muddy worn areas, and an appropriate distribution of natural and artificial shade/shelters and cover to reduce the fear reactions of hens to overhead predators and to encourage use of the range.

The more varied the quality of the range, the more space the birds require. Depending on the quality of the range, many of the producers on our program provide more than 2 sq. ft. for each of their birds.

Having that information, does it make sense for producers to put on their cartons the number of square feet it has for free range (without any context), or is it really just an unnecessary marketing gimmick?