About Humane Heartland

ManCowsAmerican Humane Association’s Humane HeartlandTM farm animal welfare programs provide ongoing outreach to farmers in the implementation of the best humane practices for animals.  The American Humane CertifiedTM program is dedicated to the welfare of farm animals and the farm and ranch families who are humanely raising the animals and producing our food.  A new educational curriculum for children on farm animals is under development.

For 135 years, American Humane Association has advocated for the welfare of farm animals. We have been on the forefront of every major advance in the welfare of animals in our food supply. We celebrate farm and ranch families who humanely raise their animals. Our certification program was created to verify that their good and sustainable practices meet our science based welfare standards.

Today we certify farms and ranches representing nearly one billion farm animals, including more than 90% of the nation’s “cage-free” egg production. 

Americans want to know where there food comes from, and how to recognize that the animals have been treated humanely. We are developing the Humane Heartland curriculum for children that will talk about modern agricultural practices on large and small farms and the sustainable practices that merit the American Humane Certified™ label.

While the standards are science based and the audit process is fully transparent, the Humane Heartland program encompasses a way of life with healthy animals, healthy kids and humane communities.

American Humane Association works in association with American farmers, ranchers, distributors, academics, consumers and communities to enhance the welfare of farm animals through the American Humane Certified™ monitoring program.

The American Humane Certified Program

We started with a simple premise: the humane treatment of farm animals shouldn’t be guesswork, but should instead be based on solid scientific research and proven best practices. But knowing and understanding the science and best practices isn’t enough implementation must be closely tied to a rigorous audit process by independent, highly trained and certified professional auditors, and to comprehensive training programs for all those engaged in the care and handling of farm animals.

our programAmerican Humane Association's highly acclaimed program provides verifiable assurance that products carrying the American Humane Certified™ label have met rigorous, science-based animal welfare standards, and that the animals in our program were humanely raised throughout their lives. It is based on an annual on-site audit of more than 200 science-based standards developed by veterinarians, animal scientists, and practitioners, and reviewed by a renowned committee of international scientists.

American Humane Association created the original third party welfare certification program in the United States over ten years ago. It’s a relatively new movement that originated in the UK in the mid 90’s. Socially conscious people in the European Union and the U.S. began to see the triangle of consideration in their food choices: what's good for animals; what's good for me; and what's good for the planet. 

Awareness of animal welfare and the perceived link to the quality and safety of food has grown steadily in the U.S. and is driven by several factors, including under-cover video investigations of disturbing farm animal abuse, risk avoidance by major companies protecting brands by demanding welfare policies from their supply chains, the adoption of state legislation, and an implied social contract with people who have come to expect higher welfare standards from farmers and processors. Mainstream America has come to expect safe and affordable food while ensuring that animals are treated humanely.

Our program is the oldest, largest, fastest growing, and most comprehensive in the industry.  We also provide comprehensive audit tools and online data managment that allows for quick registration of new producers as well as on-going audit monitoring for existing program participants.

Farms of all sizes voluntarily apply to be audited and certified via physical audits conducted by independent, third party auditors. Auditors are compliant to ISO auditor requirements and are specialists in their respective species.  Third-party audits provide integrity and assure that producers are meeting our standard of appropriate care for their animals. Only farms which meet the stringent requirements of the American Humane Certified™ program are eligible to receive certification.

This solutions and evidence based program is designed to promote continuous improvement, and the data management system is scalable to hundreds of millions of animals. 

physical audits conducted by independent, third party auditors