Third-party certification Certified Humane standards by The Humane Farm Animal Care
The Humane Farm Animal Care Standards incorporate scientific research, veterinary advice, and the practical experience of farmers. Animal Care of the Humane Farm Animal Care Standards covers the process of raising, handling, and processing, transporting, and slaughtering for the farmed animals of beef cattle, chickens (broilers), egg-laying hens, dairy cows, goats (dairy, fiber, and meat), sheep (including dairy sheep), pigs, turkeys, bison, young dairy beef, red deer.
The standards include requirements on nutrition – food and water, environment, management, health, transportation, processing (for some species), and slaughter. Their mission is to improve the welfare of farm animals by providing viable, credible, duly monitored standards for humane food production and ensuring consumers that certified products meet these standards. Read more here.
Animal Welfare Certified program by the Global Animal Partnership
The Global Animal Partnership (G.A.P.) defines animal welfare as “health & productivity,” “natural living,” and “Emotional Well Being.” They provide standards for farmed animals of beef cattle, bison, chickens, goats, laying hens, pigs, sheep, and turkeys. They set the baseline for all certifications then provide 6 levels of different certifications (Base Certification, Environmental Enrichment, Outdoor Access, Pasture Raised, Animal Centered, and Entire Life on Farm) for different levels of farmed animal welfare. Read more here.
American Humane Certified by American Humane
“American Humane created the first welfare certification program in the United States to help ensure the humane treatment of farm animals. The American Humane Certified™ program provides third-party, independent audits to help verify that certified producers’ care and handling of farm animals meet the science-based animal welfare standards of American Humane. The program provides ongoing outreach to farmers in the implementation of the best humane practices for animals.”
They provide the standards that are based upon the guiding principles of the Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare, on beef cattle, broiler chickens, dairy cattle, swine, turkey, and laying hens. Read more here.
Responsible Minimum Standards by the FARMS Initiative
The FARMS Initiative’s goal is for financial institutions to encourage and support meat, milk and egg producers, and other companies in the supply chain, towards meeting the Responsible Minimum Standards with respect to how farm animals are raised, transported, and slaughtered.
The Responsible Minimum Standards are based on a range of international frameworks and standards on animal welfare including the widely recognized Five Freedoms, the OIE’s Chapter on animal welfare in its Terrestrial Animal Health Code, EU legislation, and the IFC’s Good Practice Note.
The Responsible Minimum Standards (RMS) cover five farmed animals: beef cattle, chickens raised for meat, dairy cattle, laying hens, and pigs. Read more here.
Certified Animal Welfare Approved by A Green World
“A Greener World (AGW) has the most rigorous standards for farm animal welfare and environmental sustainability across the globe.” The Certified Animal Welfare Approved (AWA) by AGW standards are designed to maximize practicable, high-welfare farm management with the environment in mind. The AWA Standards cover all major farmed livestock and poultry including beef cattle, dairy cattle, pigs, sheep, dairy sheep, goats, dairy goats, laying hens, meat chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese, and bison (the only additional species). Their standard (1) requires animals to be raised on pasture or range, (2) prohibits dual production, (3) awards approval only to independent farmers, and (4) incorporates the most comprehensive standards for high welfare farming. Read more here.
Consumer's Guide by the Animal Welfare Institute
The Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) provides A Consumer's Guide to Food Labels and Animal Welfare. The guide divides most labels into four categories with different levels of recommendation for consumers. Read more here.
BEST CHOICES are labels that feature the highest animal care standards, and compliance is verified by a third-party auditing program.
NEXT BEST CHOICES are labels that typically feature lower animal care standards, but compliance is verified by a second party (such as a trade association) or independent third-party certification program.
FAIR CHOICES are labels that are relevant to animal welfare, but standards are weak, and/or compliance is not verified on the farm by a third-party audit. In some cases, the level of animal welfare can range from very low to very high for different products with the same label.
BEWARE OF THESE LABELS are labels that are meaningless or misleading with regard to animal welfare. They may not be meaningless or misleading for other purposes.
AWI also provides A Comparison of Industry Guidelines and Independent Labels on Animal Welfare Standards. Read more here.