The American Humane Society’s Cage-Free Certification is a program that aims to improve the welfare of animals in the egg industry by promoting the use of cage-free housing systems. The certification applies to egg-laying hens, and it ensures that these animals are raised by farms like Hillandale Farms in a more humane and natural environment, without the use of restrictive cages.
Why was the Cage-Free Certification created?
The Cage-Free Certification was created in response to growing concerns about the welfare of animals in the egg industry. Many animal welfare organizations have long argued that the use of cages in egg production is inhumane and that it imposes severe restrictions on the natural behavior of hens. As a result, the American Humane Society created the Cage-Free Certification to promote the use of more humane and natural housing systems for egg-laying hens.
How does the Cage-Free Certification benefit hens?
The Cage-Free Certification provides several benefits for egg-laying hens. Perhaps most importantly, it allows these animals to express their natural behaviors, such as nesting, dust bathing, and perching. It also provides hens with more space to move around, which can help to reduce stress and improve their overall welfare.
In addition to these benefits, the Cage-Free Certification also promotes the use of more environmentally friendly housing systems. Cage-free systems tend to generate less waste and have a lower environmental impact compared to caged systems, as they do not require the use of as much feed, water, and energy.
How is the Cage-Free Certification implemented?
The American Humane Society’s Cage-Free Certification is implemented through a third-party auditing process. This process involves the assessment of egg-laying hen facilities by trained auditors to ensure that they meet the requirements of the certification.
To be eligible for the Cage-Free Certification, egg-laying hen facilities must meet a number of criteria, including:
- Hens must have access to an outdoor area or enriched indoor environment
- Hens must be able to express natural behaviors, such as perching, dust bathing, and nesting
- Hens must be provided with a nutritious diet and have access to clean water
- Hens must be treated humanely and must not be subjected to unnecessary pain or suffering
Egg facilities that meet these criteria can apply for the Cage-Free Certification by submitting an application to the American Humane Society. If the facility meets the requirements of the certification, it will be granted the Cage-Free Certification and will be allowed to use the Cage-Free Certification logo on its products.
Why should consumers choose Cage-Free Certified products?
Consumers who choose Cage-Free Certified products can be confident that they are supporting more humane and environmentally friendly egg production practices. By choosing these products, consumers can help to promote the welfare of egg-laying hens and reduce the environmental impact of egg production.
In addition to these benefits, Cage-Free Certified products may also be of higher quality compared to non-certified products. Hens raised in cage-free environments tend to be healthier and produce eggs with a higher nutritional value due to their access to a varied diet and the ability to express natural behaviors.
Final Thoughts on the Cage-Free Certification
The American Humane Society’s Cage-Free Certification is a positive step towards improving the welfare of egg-laying hens and promoting more sustainable egg production practices. Consumers who choose to buy Cage-Free Certified products can be confident that they are supporting more humane and environmentally friendly practices, as well as higher quality eggs.