Animal Welfare Approved—
Animal Welfare Institute
This standards program uses the “Five
Freedoms” as goals that farmers aim
to achieve in the care and handling of
American Humane Certified™—
American Humane Association
Gives information about the American
Humane certification program for
animal production facilities.
Certified Humane Certification
Humane Farm Animal Care
Nonprofit group provides inspection,
certification and labeling program for
meat, poultry, egg and dairy products from
animals raised to humane care standards.
United Egg Producers Certified—
United Egg Producers
A voluntary program in which
companies may become United Egg
Producers Certified if they meet certain
requirements, including implementing
the Animal Husbandry Guidelines for
U.S. Egg Laying Flocks.
This nonprofit organization operates
a third-party certification program for
sustainably produced food. Certified
ranchers and farmers must also ensure the
health and humane treatment of animals.
Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture
United Egg Producers
Of the nearly 78 billion eggs produced
in the U.S., 95% are from birds raised in
from cage-free and free-range hens make
up 5% of egg production, and are still
considered specialty items.
source for many at-risk consumers. They
also argue that the cost of converting
current cage systems to cage-free is
prohibitive, and will undoubtedly put many
farmers out of business.
Alpharetta, Ga.-based United Egg
Producers (UEP) members sell nearly
97% of all the eggs produced in the U.S.,
and have been facing intense political
pressure by groups such as Norfolk, Va.-based PETA and The Humane Society of
the United States (HSUS), Washington,
D.C., which actively lobbies against
confinement husbandry of all kinds,
including laying cages.
Peter Skewes, a researcher in the Animal
and Veterinary Science Department at
Clemson University, Clemson, S.C., is
currently studying caged and cage-free
housing of hens to assess the welfare of
the birds. “The cage-laying hen is one of
the most intensively managed practices
in animal agriculture (followed closely
by pigs). That means they have the least
amount of space per animal, and that’s
why there’s a lot of interest in it,” he says.
While many chefs, particularly those in
the fine-dining sector, tout eggs from
local farms on their menus, 95% of the
78 billion eggs produced in the U.S. are
from birds raised in caged systems. Eggs
The HSUS has been pushing to convert
more farms to cage-free production while
campaigning for large purchasers of bulk
eggs to move toward cage-free versions.
Its Web site boasts a list of companies,
including Red Robin, Wendy’s, Compass
Group and Carl’s Jr., that have agreed
to purchase all or a portion of their eggs
from cage-free sources. More recently, the
group is purchasing stock in restaurant
chains, including Steak ‘n Shake, Jack in
the Box and Domino’s Pizza, in an effort
to create change by shareholder mandate.
According to HSUS press releases, the
group “intends to use its stockholder
position to move the company toward