What Do Those Animal Welfare Certifications Mean?

American Humane Association: American Humane Certified

What Does it Mean?
Animal housing and equipment is designed to ensure health, security, wellbeing and ability to engage in natural behavior. Animal caretakers are trained in humane care.

Animal Welfare Institute: Animal Welfare Approved


What Does it Mean?
Animals must be raised outside on pastures or ranges. Feedlots, cages and crates are prohibited. Only family farmers are eligible.


3. Humane Farm Animal Care: Certified Humane® Raised and Handled

What Does it Mean?
Animals have ample space, shelter and gentle handling to limit stress. Cages, crates and stalls are prohibited. Animals have ample fresh water and a healthy diet, without added antibiotics or hormones. Animals are free to do what comes naturally.

4. Global Animal Partnership (GAP): Five-Step Animal Welfare Rating Standards

What Does it Mean?
This program differs from the others in that it offers producers a graduated approach toward improved welfare.

The Step Standards

  • Step 1: No cages, crates or crowding
  • Step 2: Enriched environment: Such as a bale of straw for chickens to peck
  • Step 3: Enhanced outdoor access
  • Step 4: Pasture-centered: Animals spend outdoor time in a pasture setting
  • Step 5: Animal-centered: No physical alterations of animals
  • Step 5+: Animals live their entire life on the same farm.

To learn more about farm animal welfare legislation and programs, visit the USDA Animal Welfare Information Center.

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