Humane Certification Labels

Below is a list of humane certification labels to look for and what standards each follow.

Animal Welfare Approved
(highest humane standard)
(dairy, eggs, chicken, goose, duck, turkey, beef, bison, lamb, goat, pork, rabbit)awa-logo-final
The only USDA-approved third-party certification label that supports and promotes family farmers who raise their animals with the highest welfare standards, outdoors, on pasture or range. The program is offered free of charge to participating farmers. Beak trimming of poultry and tail docking of pigs and cattle are prohibited, while pain relief is generally required for removal of horn buds of cattle. Standards include the treatment of breeding animals, animals during transport, and animals at slaughter.

Certified Humane
(dairy, eggs, chicken, turkey, beef, veal, lamb, goat, pork)chA third-party welfare certification program administered by the non-profit Humane Farm Animal Care. Access to the outdoors is not required for meat birds, egg-laying hens, and pigs; however, minimum space allowances and indoor environmental enrichment must be provided. Feedlots are permitted for beef cattle. Beak trimming of hens and turkeys and tail docking of pigs are allowed under certain circumstances. Standards include the treatment of breeding animals, animals during transport, and animals at slaughter.

American Humane Certified
(dairy, eggs, chicken, turkey, beef, veal, bison, lamb, goat, pork)

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A third-party welfare certification program administered by the American Humane Association. Access to the outdoors is not required for meat birds, egg-laying hens, beef cattle, and pigs. Provides the lowest space allowances of the main humane certification programs, and is the only welfare program to permit the use of cages for housing egg-laying hens. Beak trimming of poultry and tail docking of pigs without pain relief are allowed. Standards include the treatment of breeding animals, animals during transport, and animals at slaughter.

American Grassfed Certified
(dairy, beef, lamb, goat)
americangrassfedcertified
A third-party certification program administered by the American Grassfed Association. The program’s standards require continuous access to pasture and a diet of 100 percent forage (no feedlots). Unlike the USDA’s voluntary standard for grass fed claims, confinement and the use of hormones and antibiotics is prohibited. Pain relief is not required for physical alterations like docking of tails and removal of horns. No standards exist for the treatment of breeding animals, animals during transport, or animals at slaughter.

 

Food Alliance Certified
(dairy, eggs, chicken, beef, lamb, pork)
foodalliancecertified
A non-profit sustainable agriculture certification program that supports “safe and fair working conditions, humane treatment of animals, and good environmental stewardship.” Standards provide for access to natural light, fresh air, and space, but access to the outdoors is not required for all animals. Pain relief is not required for most physical alterations, including beak trimming and tail docking. The program’s audit criteria allow a farm to become approved based on an average score for some areas instead of requiring that every standard be met. Standards do not include the treatment of animals at slaughter.

Global Animal Partnership
(chicken, turkey, beef, bison, lamb, goat, pork)
globalanimalpartnership
This is an animal welfare rating program as opposed to a humane certification program. Producers are certified on a six-tier scale, from Step 1 to Step 5+. Standards for Step 1 are only marginally better than those of the conventional industry; only Steps 4, 5, and 5+ require access to pasture, and feedlots are permitted for beef cattle for Steps 1 and 2. Beak trimming of turkeys raised at Steps 1–3 and tail docking of individual pigs are allowed. Standards include the treatment of animals during transport, but not the treatment of breeding animals or the handling of animals at slaughter.

Certified Organic
(dairy, eggs, chicken, goose, duck, turkey, beef, bison, lamb, goat, pork)
certifiedusdaorganic

 Standards are defined by regulations of the National Organic Program. The standards are general and apply to all animals. They don’t address many animal care issues such as weaning, physical alterations, minimum space requirements, handling, transport, or slaughter. They do, however, 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. Physical alterations such as the removal of horns and the docking of tails are allowed, and pain relief is not required. Compliance with the standards is verified by a USDA-accredited organic certifying agency, but an audit by the USDA Office of Inspector General revealed that inconsistency among certifiers is a problem.

For more info on labels check out this guide:

Certified Naturally Grown
(dairy, eggs, chicken, goose, duck, turkey, beef, bison, lamb, goat, pork)
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The Certified Naturally Grown livestock standards are based on the USDA National
Organic Program standards with a few significant modifications such as strengthening the standards for living conditions and access to pasture.  But like the USDA program they don’t address many animal care issues such as weaning, physical alterations, minimum space requirements, handling, transport, or slaughter.  Physical alterations such as the removal of horns and the docking of tails are allowed, and pain relief is not required.

Animal Welfare Institute (AWI): A Consumer’s Guide to Food Labels and Animal Welfare

Pocket versions of the guide here

Also check out ASPCA label guide: Meat and Dairy Label Guide