Consequently, the level of animal welfare varies widely among producers. HuffPost is part of Verizon Media. Fair choices (orange), these labels are relevant to animal welfare, but standards are weak and/or compliance is not verified on the farm by a third-party audit. Organic certification in certain respects also includes animal welfare components. © 2020 | Food & Nutrition Magazine® | Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Step 2: Enriched environment: Such as a bale of straw for chickens to peck, Step 4: Pasture-centered: Animals spend outdoor time in a pasture setting, Step 5: Animal-centered: No physical alterations of animals. Animal housing and equipment is designed to ensure health, security, wellbeing and ability to engage in natural behavior. Some USDA documents apply the same definition as for the “free range” claim—animals had continuous, free access to the outdoors for a significant portion of their lives, while the 2016 USDA labeling guideline on animal-raising claims states that the claim must be defined on the label. The claim is not verified when used on non-USDA-graded eggs, unless the producer participates in a third-party program that certifies “cage free” claims pertaining to eggs. A notable exception is the American Humane certification of pasture-raised eggs. And, after doing a little research, we’re resting easy. As a result, the USDA repeatedly delayed its implementation and then ultimately withdrew it altogether. American Humane Certified, a third-party welfare certification program administered by the American Humane Association. The standards require some access to the outdoors for all animals, access to pasture for ruminants (cattle, sheep, goats), fresh air and sunlight, and freedom of movement. Certified Humane doesn't mean that the animals aren't given any antibiotics, because they can be used to treat illness. Best choices (dark green), these labels feature the highest animal care standards and compliance is verified by a third-party auditing program. There are no legal humane slaughter standards for chickens, as there are for other animals, but the Certified Humane standards mandate them. This information is also available as a concise pocket guide, and can be downloaded or ordered by clicking here. The claim has no relevance whatsoever to how the animals were raised. A Greener World (AGW) offers this Animal Welfare Approved Certification. A voluntary standard was established for producers wishing to have this claim verified by the USDA. However, it is possible that some producers are using the claim to signify avoidance of gestation crates only, while still using farrowing crates. The ASPCA responded by joining a lawsuit on March 1, challenging USDA’s actions. Phone: (202) 337-2332, Shaping Policy for Animals in Laboratories, Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act, Traveling Exotic Animal and Public Safety Protection Act, Anti-whistleblower (“Ag-Gag”) Legislation, Cetacean Anti-Captivity Legislation and Laws, Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act, United States Legislative Information (external link), How to Communicate Effectively with Legislators, Ending the Slaughter of Nonambulatory Pigs, Animal Welfare Standards: A Comparison of Industry Guidelines and Independent Labels, A Consumer’s Guide to Food Labels and Animal Welfare, Consumer Perceptions of Farm Animal Welfare, Revised USDA Food Label Guidance Continues to Promote Consumer Deception, AWI Works to End Deceptive Label Practices, Label Confusion 2.0: How the USDA Allows Producers to Use ‘Humane’ and ‘Sustainable’ Claims on Meat Packages and Deceive Consumers, Signs of Animal Abuse for Child Protection Worker and Others, Facts and Myths About Domestic Violence and Animal Abuse, Frequently Asked Questions About Reporting Animal Cruelty, Dispelling the Arguments of Captivity Proponents, Swim-with Attractions & Dolphin Assisted Therapy, The Case Against Marine Mammals in Captivity, Restaurants Currently Offering Shark Fin Soup, Wildlife Management on National Park Service Land, Myths and Facts about Wild Horses and Burros, Wild Horses as Native North American Wildlife, Organizations and Individuals Opposed to Horse Slaughter, International Shark Finning Bans and Policies. Beak trimming is allowed to minimize the harm this can inflict. Most animal welfare advocates consider slaughter without prior stunning to be inhumane. This does not meet AWI’s standard for free-range eggs. Indoor ammonia levels (produced by animal waste), which when high can cause illness, must be controlled. Animals have ample fresh water and a healthy diet, without added antibiotics or hormones. The federal government prohibits the use of hormones in the production of poultry, veal, eggs, bison, and pork, and any "no added hormones" claims on these products must be accompanied by a statement to the effect that the administration of hormones is prohibited by federal regulation. Standards include the treatment of animals during transport and at slaughter. Consumer Reports describes this certification succinctly, saying, “The Animal Welfare Approved (AWA) label is highly meaningful and verified.” AWA certification looks at three key areas: Overall animal welfare: AWA standards are designed to allow animals to behave as they would naturally and enjoy physical and psychological health For poultry and pigs, continuous indoor confinement (with enrichment) is allowed at Step 2. According to USDA policy, "natural" can be used on a product that contains no artificial ingredients or added color and is only minimally processed. The standards prohibit the common practice of keeping the lights on nearly continuously in the chicken house. Our goal is to make sure ICONIC drinks and powders positively impact the health of the people who consume them and the health of the planet. "No added hormones" or "no hormones administered" claims can be used if documentation is provided showing no hormones were administered during the course of the animal's lifetime. The USDA does not approve "hormone free" claims, as all animals produce hormones naturally. However, Certified Humane’s standard for “pasture raised” is 2.5 acres per 1,000 birds, which meets AWI’s standard for pasture-raised eggs. Among the overwhelming array of labels appearing on our food packages, “organic” is a claim that many conscientious consumers now seek out because they believe it indicates more responsible production practices. Moreover, American Humane does not require compliance with 100 percent of its standards, and it only audits a sample of farm locations where animals are being raised for a particular producer or processor. In some cases, the level of animal welfare can range from very low to very high for different products with the same label. The AMS withdrew its voluntary definition for this claim after the agency determined it did not have the authority to establish animal-raising definitions. Founded in 2008, Global Animal Partnership’s tiered system not only … No regulatory definition for "natural" currently exists, but the USDA and the FDA are considering establishing one. Superb Chicago Tribune article on the new six-step animal welfare labeling standards pioneered by the Global Animal Partnership, which are currently being rolled out by Whole Foods Market.. (A 250-pound growing pig has a space of 10 square feet.) Very limited access to the outdoors and minimal vegetation is provided at Step 3. Animal Welfare In theNational Organic Program. The claim "antibiotic free" is not allowed because antibiotic-residue testing technology cannot verify that an animal has never received antibiotics.

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