It is understandable that producers may need to keep birds indoors under certain circumstances, but when this happens, the claim should not appear on the product -- and consumers should not be paying more for a benefit to animals that does not exist.
American Humane Certified is also the only non-industry program to significantly lower its animal care standards over time, and the only animal welfare certification program to allow continuous confinement of egg-laying hens in cages.
Our hope is that when possible, the customer will in turn support the producer and consequently, sustain the small farm agricultural economy of the region. Another hope is that we are consuming "fresh" ingredients that have seen minimal storage and preservation.
When a shopper spends their hard-earned money on meat that is labeled "humanely raised" or "sustainably farmed," it's not unreasonable for them to assume that someone has validated the truthfulness of the claim. In fact, USDA is supposed to be doing it.
Nutrition labels should be clear, honest, and informative -- and reading one shouldn't require the skills of an NSA code-breaker. But too often, companies try to trick people into buying foods that aren't as healthy as the labels pretend.
Giving consumers a no-brainer tool while they're standing in the supermarket aisle is surely a more promising way to stop the slow-motion suicide we call the American way of eating than declaring March to be National Nutrition Month.
Pick up a pack of beef or a carton of eggs in any supermarket and the chances are the label will proudly display a bucolic farm scene and one of a range of positive sounding claims -- usually implying that the food is produced with animal welfare or the environment in mind.