Look for these seals, for programs with strong standards for animal welfare and on-farm inspection:

Animal Welfare Approved
Global Animal Partnership Step 5+
Global Animal Partnership Step 5
American Grassfed
Global Animal Partnership Step 4
Global Animal Partnership Step 3
Certified Humane Raised and Handled
Global Animal Partnership Step 2

 

 

 

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Animal welfare standards for these seals are not as strong:

Global Animal Partnership Step 1
American Humane Certified
Organic

 

Don't rely on these seals and claims:

United Egg Producers Certified
Natural

 

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What this claim means

Meat and poultry: The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is responsible for ensuring that the labeling of meat and poultry products is truthful and not misleading. But for many labeling claims, including “humanely raised,” the USDA has no common standard to ensure that the claim is consistent and meaningful. Since the USDA allows each company to define the claim, the meaning can vary within the industry.

Dairy and eggs: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for ensuring that the labeling of dairy and eggs is truthful and not misleading. But for many labeling claims, including “humanely raised,” the FDA has no common standard to ensure that the claim is consistent and meaningful, and each company is allowed to define their claim. The meaning can vary within the industry.

 

Why it matters

When animals are treated humanely, can move freely, and can engage in their natural, species-specific behaviors, it benefits the animals. There are other benefits, as well.

Benefits for Public Health - Fewer Antibiotics Are Needed
Consumers Survey Data

 

 

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Can you trust the claim? Is it verified?

No. Third-party verification of the “humanely raised” claim with on-farm inspection is not required.

Meat and poultry: A vast majority of consumers expect that the “humanely raised” claim on meat and poultry means that the farm was inspected to verify this claim, but on-farm inspection is not required. The USDA’s inspection starts at the slaughterhouse, and inspectors verify whether establishments maintain USDA label approval on file. Label approval is required for a “humanely raised” claim. However, to obtain approval, companies are only required to supply supporting documentation, which may include testimonials and affidavits signed by the producers of the animals referencing the animal-raising claims. No third-party verification or on-farm inspection is required.

Dairy and eggs: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not require on-farm inspection or verification for producers making claims such as “humanely raised.”