Another Label for Cage-Free: American Humane Certified?

In 2009, The American Humane Association (AHA) stepped in, yet again, to attempt clarification on humane conditions of poultry processing. The cage-free category has seen some improvement, regardless of it’s non-legal status in the eyes of the USDA. As of recently, cage-free has seen what is called to be an industry improvement in that a growing majority of “cage-free” producing companies are American Humane Certified. While the word “humane” is still subjective, we can take a look at what the AHA considers humane in a list of their site guidelines. Their website contains downloadable standard checklists for producers of all livestock, looking to apply for certification. The standards still allow culling and beak-trimming in regard to poultry but with specific means deemed more humane. I checked over the list myself, and couldn’t with good conscience really say I understood, the industry jargon or even threshold of meaning, to say that this is a road to improvement. As with most things lacking consistency or soul, regulatory standards can best improve conditions in the way they are upheld and defended, not how they are written.  It’s within our country’s opportunistic nature to weave our own interpretation around the words we’re given to abide by. In all fairness, the AHA has a positive track record with improving the conditions of humans and animals, and this is an important point. Although it is important to believe in opening dialog regarding what is misleading to the public.  Here are the AHA standards:


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