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

Subject: Do you believe our government should protect our food supply? If you do, read further…

Protecting our food supply consists of methods of inspection and testing not only what we grow and slaughter and ship from state to state, here at home, it’s also about inspecting and testing the food we import from other countries as well.

There are two federal agencies that are primarily responsible for Food Safety in the US and for the food that is imported into the US.  That is the USDA, Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

In January the US food safety laws were amended to improve the prevention of foodborne illness.  The new law would allow the FDA to conduct more inspections of domestic and foreign food producers, and work more closely with the USDA and state inspection agencies.   The new act was to add 1800 new food safety inspectors.

The USDA has inspectors in meat and poultry slaughter plants and processed egg facilities.  These are the inspectors (veterinarians) who examine the animals to make sure diseased animals do not get put in the food supply and check for salmonella in processed products.

On the 16th of June, the House Appropriations passed legislation by a 217-203 vote that would eliminate the necessary funds for the FDA to implement the Food Safety Modernization Act. And cut funding for the already under funded Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) so they would have to start firing food safety inspectors.

We all remember the baby formula scandal of product from China along with the imported pet food safety issues.   There is a serious outbreak of e-coli in Germany right now.  This could have been us, but for our food safety system that is currently in place.

The Chairman of the Appropriations House Subcommittee, Jack Kingston (R-GA) said, “The food supply in America is very safe because the private sector self-polices, because they have the highest motivation.  They don’t want to be sued, they don’t want to go broke. They want their customers to be healthy and happy.”

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 28,000 Americans are hospitalized every year and 3,000 die every year from tainted food.
Even the Grocery Manufacturers of America are in support of doubling the FDA’s food safety budget, in light of the recent food scandals.
Rep. Kingston also claims the high level of food safety is due to the private sector without the “nanny” state.  “That’s the private sector working,” he’s quoted as saying.

In reality, do you want to risk your life and the lives of your families on Rep. Kingston’s fantasy?  We saw the result of   de-regulation and lack of oversight in the financial sector, as we watched homes being foreclosed and savings and pension plans evaporating

If you want the FDA and the Food Safety Inspection Service at USDA fully funded, please write your Senators and let them know they need to put the funding back to provide us with safe food oversight. http://www.senate.gov/

If you want to contact your Representatives and thank those that voted against this bill, and chastise those that supported it, here is the list:  http://www.house.gov/representatives/
All Democrats voted against the legislation
The following Republican Representatives voted against the legislation as well:
Rep. Justin Amash (Michigan)
Rep. Michele Bachman (Minnesota)
Rep. Joe Barton (Texas)
Rep. Paul Broun (Georgia)
Rep. John Campbell (California)
Rep. John Duncan (Tennessee)
Rep. Stephen Fincher (Tennessee)
Rep. Jeff Flake (Arizona)
Rep. Trent Franks (Arizona
Rep. Morgan Griffith (Virginia)
Rep. Walter Jones (North Carolina)
Rep. Steve King (Iowa)
Rep. Tom McClintock (California)
Rep. Jeff Miller (Florida)
Rep. Kristi Noem (South Dakota)
Rep. Ron Paul (Texas)
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (California
Rep. ave Schweikert (Arizona)

Legislation Information:
Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2012
Rep Kingston, Jack [GA-1] (introduced 6/3/2011)
House Report #: 112-101
Passed the House of Representatives on 6/16/11 by a vote of 317 – 203
6/16/2011 Referred to Senate committee. Status: Received in the Senate and Read twice and referred to the Committee on Appropriations

The Power of the Consumer – Thank You!

Thank you so much for voting with your voices as well as your pocketbooks!  Your response to the blog post  about The Pump restaurant in NYC really had an impact.  We received  hundreds of emails from you letting us know you wrote to The Pump, asking them why they’d stopped buying Certified Humane® chicken, and informing them that you would not be eating there again.  Several of you started a discussion topic on The Pump’s Facebook page, and many of you posted on their blog. The response was so big that The Pump had to write a second post “attempting” to address these concerns, and then a third.  The Pump did not post many of your comments to their blog page.  That is unfortunate.   As you can see, you do have a big impact in the marketplace by making your voices heard. Thank you so much to all of you who participated in the discussion!

To keep the momentum going, don’t forget that there are many more ways to take action and support Certified Humane®. You can download a Grocer Request Form and take it to the grocery stores and supermarkets in your area, asking them to carry Certified Humane® products.  You can also start a petition to get a specific company to become Certified Humane® or to get a specific retailer to stock Certified Humane® products.  Of course, to stay in touch you can sign up for our newsletters and “like” us on Facebook. Most importantly, you can “vote with your pocketbook” and buy products that are Certified Humane® – visit our Where to Buy section on our website to find retailers in your area!

Together, we will make a difference!


Certified Humane® vs. Factory Farming

The “Pump” a restaurant chain in New York City has switched from buying Murray’s Chicken (one of our Certified Humane® producers) to purchasing commodity chicken.  That of course is their prerogative, however they are implying that the commodity chicken is special and that Murray’s is the commodity product.

Previously on their blog when they announced this, they said that Murray’s buys chickens from local farms and then processes and markets the chickens themselves.  “This isn’t bad per se – it’s actually quite common in the poultry business.”  They then proceed to describe the commodity chicken from the industrial chicken farms as being “grown and prepared for market at one location from birth to sale.”

Murray’s does buy chickens from small local farms and then processes them in their processing plant and markets the chickens themselves.  They are a Certified Humane® company which means their farms and processing plant are inspected annually to make sure they meet the highest humane standards for all aspects of their operations. Murray’s buys from small family farmers not contract growers. Their birds get the dark period they need to sleep so their growth is slowed and they don’t go to slaughter until they are older than commodity birds.

We’ve inspected the local farms Murray’s buys their chickens from and can attest to the treatment of these birds.  What Murray’s does is uncommon in the poultry business.  They are one of two Certified Humane® poultry producers in the US.   Murray’s is not an “integrated operation.”  “Integrated operations” are what is common in the poultry business in the US.

The “Pump’s” customers should be given the truth about the new chickens they are buying – common industrial chicken, commodity birds grown in integrated commercial systems, otherwise known as “Factory Farming.” The “Pump’s”  new supplier has breeding facilities, hatchery facilities, feed mills and processing plants.  Their operations include a farming division that has 28 company-owned farms for the chickens and more than 300 other farms.

The new supplier’s website says they employ over 2200 people, have farms in Maryland, Delaware, and North Carolina and process 2.2 million birds per week and pack about 10 million pounds of finished products per week.

Murray’s process less than 10% of the number of birds that their new supplier processes weekly.

They have changed their blog to say, their new supplier “is not commodity chicken, and as such, these birds have been raised and held to higher standards.”  Whose  higher standards have they been raised to?

I have already written to Elizabeth Kellogg of the Pump.  It is important for people not to be fooled by PR “spin” like this. Why don’t you  contact the “Pump” and let them know that you support Certified Humane® producers and products and that you are disappointed that they don’t.


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 Douglass, Executive Director

Lets Talk Turkey.

Recently I visited one of the small farms on our program.  While there I noticed the small pens of turkeys.  I realized this is the growing season for Thanksgiving turkeys and I realized that now is the time for consumers to let turkey growers know what they want, or there still will be no Certified Humane® turkeys for Thanksgiving 2010. For those of you who are vegan or vegetarian and know people who are still meat eaters, encourage those friends to support this effort.

We still have not identified any turkey producers that can meet our standards.  We have some multi-species farmers who produce small numbers of turkeys, but no larger producer has applied to our program.  The reason usually given to me for why turkey producers won’t apply is that they don’t need to.  They believe the public doesn’t care and as long as there is no demand for Certified Humane® turkeys they see no need to make any changes to meet our standards.

Since there is minimal supply and a lot of demand, the staff and I concluded that the suppliers are not hearing about the demand.

Farmers consider retailers to be their customers.  And as consumers, you buy from retailers.  You can make the most significant impact by asking retailers to offer turkeys and turkey products that are Certified Humane®.  You know when you see the Certified Humane Raised and Handled® logo, that the turkeys were raised with enough space so they are not crowded, they can move around, they have fresh air to breathe, they are not fed animal by-products or antibiotics (hormones are prohibited in poultry by law), and have been processed in the most humane way possible.

Can you help?  If you can, please go to our Take Action page on our website  and download the “Turkey Request Form.”  Sign it and whenever you go to a new grocery store, drop it off with the meat manager, or at the customer service desk.  Please ask your friends and neighbors to do the same.  If you can’t download this and would like us to send you some of these forms, please email us at info@certifiedhumane.org and with your name and address and say you would like Turkey Request Forms.

Adele with Turkeys
Adele with Ayrshire Farm Turkeys - Photo by Chris Usher

Further News from Iceland

John continues his quest to kayak the coast of Iceland to raise awareness for Humane Farm Animal Care and the Certified Humane® program. 

John’s currents position is on the Northwestern portion of the country just above the town of Kalfshamarsvik. Unfortunately the elements have not been on John’s side. He reports rough days with heavy cross winds.

He did have a break however with good weather and was able to make a long crossing of 37 miles!  That evening he found a great campsite and reported tired muscles. The scenery continues to be stunning and he has been seeing “thousands” of bird and seals.

A picture of John’s awesome campsite below.

Latest weather forecast is still grim. “Very bad weather forecast. High winds and heavy seas for the next three days. I may be off the water for a while. It’s quite cold up here,” he says.

John has been paddling for almost a month now, and hopes to wrap the trip up in several weeks.  He looks forward to a warm bed and spending time with his family.

And a picture his toughest camp, wind all night long makes for not the greatest sleep.  The scenery is still stunning however.

We are grateful to John for his efforts to promote our organization and keep the issue of farm animal welfare in the eye of the international public.

We will keep you up to date on his progress. We know your thoughts and prayers are with him.


PS -next week, let’s talk turkeys!

An update on John’s adventures

We just spoke with adventurer John Peaveler all the way from Iceland via satellite phone.  John was calling from his tent after he had paddled out of the open sea into a more protected fjord where he found a good camping site to wait out a  storm and spend the night.  After setting up camp, John took a few minutes   to fill us in on his epic kayak trip around Iceland .

As you may remember, on June 1, John launched a 1,100 mile kayak around the coast of Iceland to raise awareness for Humane Farm Animal Care (HFAC) and the plight of farm animals around the world.  No stranger to animal welfare, John is Managing Director for the Kuwait Society for the Protection of Animals and Their Habitat (K’S PATH).  John believes deeply in goals of the Certified Humane Raised and Handled® program and chose HFAC as the inaugural charity to be recognized in his “Kayaking for a Cause” expeditions.   In the future he hopes to attempt more international trips that focus on a variety of important causes.

John has been on the trip for now 15 days and has paddled about eight of them. “The weather has been really challenging,” he said.  “Rain and lots of wind, wind that makes it very difficult to be in the water.”  A good day, with decent weather, will have him paddling about 13 hours with rest break in between.  “The rest breaks take place in the kayak, or is we can get it to shore, there, as the kayak is such a tightly, efficiently laid out boat, there isn’t much room to stretch out.  At night I camp on the shoreline, or if I’m lucky, find a local inn or hotel.”

The summer temperatures in Iceland are not what one would call hot.  In fact, the temperatures  average 50 degrees a day. But John has been experiencing highs of only 40 degrees with rain, wind and dense fog. He wears a dry suit in the kayak which does a good job protecting him from the elements.

John’s current position has him on the northwest side of the country.  An upcoming challenge is a large land mass that looks like a horn jutting west off the coast of the country. The sea around this horn crashes into large cliffs making the ocean very challenging to navigate. Even more so with bad weather.  “Local guides who have been paddling these waters all their lives and who are experts have told me they wouldn’t try to go around it in these situations, so I’m taking a rest day today and hope that conditions improve. If they wouldn’t attempt it, neither would I,” he said.  “Once I get on the other side of the country, conditions should make the paddling a bit easier.”

His longest day so far has had him covering over 26 miles, with a typical day, in good conditions, averaging about 15 miles. Some days he paddles very close to the coast line, while others he is a mile out.  Still other times the ocean features require he is a whopping 3 or 4 miles from the shore. That’s a lot of hard work in open seas.

John reports that Iceland is beautiful and he has run into a lot of sheep and an amazing variety of birds!

Out of curiosity we asked if he is anywhere near the pesky erupting volcano that has caused such havoc around the world the past few months. “Way on the other side of the country,” he said. “I’m nowhere near it.”  Good to know!

Follow John’s incredible trip on our website www.certifiedhumane.org

Welcome to our new Website!

Photo by Chris Usher copyright 2009

For those of you who don’t know who I am, let me introduce myself.  My name is Adele Douglass and I am the founder and executive director of Humane Farm Animal Care and creator of the Certified Humane® program.

Welcome to our new website!

We developed this new website in response to feedback from all of you who have let us know what you wanted.  I hope these new features will make it easier to find the information you need.

Our home page is designed to be more “user friendly.”  There are sub-menus so you can more easily find what you are looking for.  You can put your mouse over a photo, or across the top bar and it will list what categories are there.

The newest feature on our website is our interactive searchable data base.  For those of you who want to find Certified Humane® products, just type in your zip code, or city and a list of places to buy them will come up along with a listing of what Certified Humane® products are sold in those stores.  It will make it easier for you to purchase certified products and let these retailers know that you support farming that is done right!  If there are not enough products that you want, go to our Take Action” page and print off a request to take with you to your local market asking your grocery manager to stock more products that are Certified Humane®.  If there are no stores in your area, check the “purchase online” section in the “Where to Buy” section. Many small farmers sell online all over the US.  Check those farms out and help them and help yourselves, too.

We have informaton about the program for producers, and for consumers.  Our standards and fact sheets are easier to find and available for download  If you want to: take action for animals,: we have material you can download right now to do that.   Our survey is still here, so if you haven’t taken our survey, please do, it gives us good information about what you want, how you found us and what the demographics are of people who care about humane foods.

And for the press we have an electronic press kit that is under the news section to make it easier for you to get the background information you need in one place.

This blog will be frequently be updated and will be used to discuss issues,and as a platform to make our consumers aware of issues they should know about.

The program has grown and couldn’t have grown without the help of all of you.  We rely on your input, and your support,so please let me know what you think of our new website.  And as always, if you have questions about the program, the standards or the organization, please continue to email me at info@certifiedhumane.org