American Humane Association created the first welfare certification program in the United States to ensure the humane treatment of farm animals. The American Humane Certified™ program (formerly known as the Free Farmed program) provides third-party, independent verification that certified producers’ care and handling of farm animals meet the science-based animal welfare standards of American Humane Association.
The American Humane Certified program traces its roots to the very formation of American Humane Association in 1877. That year, humane organizations from throughout the country gathered at a landmark meeting in Ohio to unite their missions and resources in a stronger voice to protect livestock from inhumane treatment. American Humane Association immediately went to work to improve conditions for farm animals in transit and ensure the humane treatment of cattle, hogs, sheep and poultry. More than 130 years later, American Humane Association continues its leadership to ensure farm animal welfare with its premier American Humane Certified program.
The American Humane Certified standards were built upon the accepted values of the Five Freedoms, as created by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, as well as input from animal science experts, veterinarians and other animal husbandry specialists. The science-based standards are reviewed regularly by the American Humane Certified Scientific Advisory Committee.
The program is a voluntary, third-party audit process open to producers of any kind who meet the rigorous American Humane Certified standards of raising and handling their animals. Those who are certified are permitted to use the American Humane Certified label on their products. This label provides consumers a choice of humanely raised beef, pork, poultry and dairy products at their grocers.
American Humane Certified™ Program for farm animals recently endorsed the use of enriched colony housing for laying hens as a humane housing solution, in addition to cage-free/aviary housing and free range. The decision by The American Humane Association’s Scientific Advisory Committee weighed existing research on hen welfare in enriched colony housing as well as measured outcomes from the use of this housing in Europe. Under American Humane Certified guidelines, the first enriched colony housing installation at JS West & Companies in California is being monitored by video to study the hens’ behavior. The video is available to view 24/7 on the JSWest.com website.