American Humane was founded in 1877 on the belief that ALL animals – those in our homes, those in service to our country, and those on our farms and ranches – deserve humane treatment.
In fact, we’ve been working for more than 140 years to improve the welfare of farm animals and created the country’s first largest, and most trusted farm animal welfare program in the country – the American Humane Certified™ program.
To help consumers know which producers have committed to demonstrably good welfare and shine a spotlight on those who put food on our tables while raising animals right, American Humane regularly features our American Humane Certified producers and their enlightened commitment to the welfare of animals in agriculture.
This week, we are profiling Springer Mountain Farms, the very first major poultry producer in the country to become American Humane Certified.
1) Tell us a little bit about Springer Mountain Farms and its history
Springer Mountain Farms is the outgrowth from our second-generation family owners and is a terrific combination of the “old” methods that have worked well for years and the ideas that come with younger thinking. SMF started as an Organic chicken producer, mostly for retail, supermarket meat departments and deli departments. We outgrew some of the Organic possibilities and searched for ways to improve not just our workmanship for the consumer in the grocery store, but also improve the lot and life of the animal. That’s when we found American Humane; that “find” has been instrumental in pushing SMF over the top to become one of America’s most constantly sought-after brands in chicken.
2) Why does Springer Mountain Farms believe animal welfare is important?
The concept makes sense to us on a number of levels. We believe that just because these animals are raised for food, that does not give us the moral authority to mistreat them. Then, we learned pretty quickly that animals raised the right way really make better-tasting, more tender chickens.
3) Some companies are self-reporting welfare outcomes. Why did you decide it was important to work with an independent third party?
We do not want to be the fox guarding the hen house; we do not want even a temptation to take shortcuts. And more importantly, American Humane provides the scientific methods we simply don’t have access to.
4) What about American Humane certification do you value most?
The panel of scientists give us more credibility with chefs, grocery stores and consumers. We feel good about being able to tell our story and finish by saying, “You don’t need to believe us, read it from the scientists who do the work.”
5) How have your customers responded to your earning the American Humane Certified seal and how does it set you apart from other producers in your field?
Consumer recognition is growing…seems like more people than ever mention it on our social media and in emails we get from our website.