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American Humane Certified Responds to Inhumane Dairy Practices Shown on ABC’s ‘Nightline’

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American Humane® Certified, a program of the American Humane Association that helps ensure the humane treatment of farm animals for food, responded today that the practice of tail docking dairy cows is not a humane practice and is disallowed in its standards. The response came following the airing of an ABC “Nightline” segment in which cows’ tails were shown being removed without anesthesia. Consumers can support producers who don’t employ this practice by purchasing only American Humane Certified dairy products.

“The producers certified under the American Humane Certified program have committed to the humane treatment of their animals and are verified by an independent, third-party auditor,” said Tim Amlaw, director of the American Humane Certified program. “Our standards state that the practice of tail docking is disallowed.”

The Nightline segment also showed inhumane dehorning procedures on dairy cattle. According to the National Milk Producers Federation’s fact sheet on Animal Care on Dairy Farms, “Dehorning has been used for decades to help reduce the risk of injury to cows and animal handlers. Dairy farmers and veterinarians ensure the comfort and safety of an animal during the dehorning process through sedation or anesthesia.”

In addition to the standards in which tail docking is prohibited, American Humane Certified also does not allow for dehorning (also known as disbudding) without anesthesia after 4 months of age. The science-based standards of the program insist that all practices are performed by trained and competent livestock managers in a way that minimizes suffering.

“Consumers who choose to purchase products with the American Humane Certified seal are effectively using their voices to tell grocery stores, the agricultural industry and the food industry that they expect humane treatment of the food products they buy,” Amlaw said. “And American Humane Certified producers have heard their call.”

The American Humane Certified program is the fastest-growing third-party, independent animal welfare program in the U.S. American Humane has certified producers raising more than 60 million farm animals, including more than two-thirds of the nation’s cage-free eggs.

American Humane Certified works to educate and collaborate with the food industry to move toward more humane treatment for farm animals. For the past 13 decades, American Humane has had outstanding success in improving farm animal welfare.

For more information about American Humane Certified, go to Follow us on Twitter, on MySpace on and on Facebook at The information contained in this release can be reused and posted with proper credit given to the American Humane Association.

About American Humane® Certified

American Humane Certified is the United States’ first animal welfare program dedicated to the humane treatment of farm animals. It is the fastest-growing independent animal welfare program in the U.S. American Humane has certified producers representing more than 60 million farm animals through American Humane’s science-based program. Contracted third-party auditors are rigorously trained in American Humane Certified species-specific standards. As consumers and retailers are increasingly concerned about how food is raised, producers are seeking independent verification for the marketplace. American Humane Certified believes animal welfare should not only be good for animals, but also economically viable and feasible for producers. American Humane Certified works with agriculture to educate and motivate producers and demonstrate the economic and social benefits of animal welfare. American Humane Certified works closely with its independent Scientific Advisory Committee, industry professionals and producers to ensure that industry advancements and best practices are part of American Humane certification standards. Based on American Humane’s 132-year legacy of being the gold standard for humane behavior, consumers trust the American Humane Certified label. Learn more

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