It’s a bit like having your health monitored by Procter & Gamble.”. American Humane doesn’t believe pasture time is essential to animal welfare. [14] In 2014, turkey producer Butterball became an American Humane Certified producer. The American Humane Certified program is the nation's first independent, third-party certification program to verify the humane treatment of farm animals. Hogwood is also a reminder that the promises of farm assurance schemes should not be taken at face value by customers. Twice a week we'll deliver the latest writing and reporting on farmed animals, industrial agriculture, and the environment. [21], According to Consumer Reports, "while the American Humane Association says its standards aim to ensure the humane treatment and improve the welfare of farm animals, the requirements fall short in meeting consumer expectations for a “humane” label in many ways. Sneddon says she is glad that the RSPCA tries to improve farmed fish welfare because it is out of sight of the public, but she adds: “You have to wonder how much suffering and mortality keeps going on while [RSPCA Assured] actually puts a label on that salmon and say it’s good welfare.”, Public backlash can certainly help to bring about more publicly proactive responses to failing farms. AH is the bottom of the barrel. “I would like to see one or two independent experts who are not involved in the industry who have scientific expertise in the area to help drive forward these welfare issues.”, Activists don’t necessarily target farms that belong to specific schemes, as these operations don’t typically provide a public list of the farms they certify. [12], In 2014, the American Humane Association announced that it had certified one billion animals on more than 8,000 farms. “To them, that’s how farms work.” Dr. Alice Brough, a former industry vet, also claims in the documentary that vets are paid for their opinions by the farmers, and farmers can simply choose vets who give favorable assessments. [10], The certification is not granted to farmers who use growth hormones. For example, Animal Welfare Approved does not allow debeaking, but considers castration and ear notching without pain relief “humane.” On the other hand, American Humane Certified permits debeaking, but does not allow ear notching and requires anesthesia for castration of some animals. The American Humane Certified program reflects "a common-sense way to do things," Brock says. [5] The standards are unique for each farm animal species. Red Tractor’s apparent lack of independence is an issue that appears to exist in other schemes, too. “They never say, ‘We’re very concerned about this, come in and talk to us.’”, The way some schemes deal with complaints against particular farms or particular practices they employ also lacks transparency. In 1940, it became the sole monitoring body for the humane treatment of animals on the sets of Hollywood films and other broadcast productions. While Red Tractor introduced a new risk-based inspection regime in 2018 to increase unannounced inspections of farms that have been flagged as a “reputational risk,” its inspectors typically don’t do many unscheduled visits on its thousands of certified farms. For example, minimum space requirements are sometimes greater than the industry norm, but do not always allow for freedom of movement. The program was launched in 2000. Products bearing the Red Tractor logo are supposed to give people confidence that the food is certifiably British and, as Red Tractor says on its website, “has been produced safely for human consumption, been responsibly sourced and that the crops and animals have been well cared for.” The Hogwood documentary, presented by Game of Thrones actor Jerome Flynn, is an account of how the Red Tractor and supermarket chain, Tesco, which stocked Hogwood’s meat, failed for years to act on the evidence. The Certified Humane® Raised and Handled® label on meat, chicken, pork, eggs, pet food or dairy products means that the food comes from farms where Humane Farm Animal Care’s precise, objective standards for the humane treatment of farm animals are implemented. At least in the case of Red Tractor, Wardle thinks that there aren’t more serious consequences (fines, for example), let alone effective action taken to improve conditions for the animals because, as Roger Blowey’s comments indicate, the problems are too widespread. If you're a lifelong advocate or new to the cause, this is the newsletter for you. “Red Tractor was started by farmers,” he says. But is being told to do better really sufficient punishment for farms that breach welfare standards? After Viva! Activists have uncovered several alleged breaches of these “humane” standards at farms in the U.S. too. RSPCA Assured gave an unsatisfactory public response. But with 46,000 British farms boasting the Red Tractor logo, stumbling onto a Red Tractor farm is not difficult. “If you act on one farm you’ve got to act on them all.”. “Red Tractor’s problem is they don’t do enough unannounced inspections.”. [18], Consumer support for humanely raised food has increased since the start of the program. [11], The standards are regularly reviewed by a scientific advisory committee. [9] These criteria are rooted in the "five freedoms" that are used to evaluate animal welfare in the UK. It never audits the slaughterhouses that process its animals and it places no limits on how far animals can be transported (a terrifying experience for all farm animals). [6], The American Humane Association uses independent firms to perform annual audits on certified farms in order to ensure they are complying with the guidelines. Over the years, the salmon farming industry has repeatedly been accused of welfare abuses by campaigners. I assume you mean the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).