The next time you buy meat at the grocery, you might want to check if that steak is stamped certified humane.
What is certification all about?
Certified Humane Raised and Handled program seek to address the concern raised by meat consumers regarding the handling of the animals where the meat product came from. By placing a Certified Humane seal on a certain product, consumers can be assured that the animals were raised in a natural environment, where they can live freely and without stress. The current “assembly line”method of raising animals creates a large amount of stress for the animals. Chickens are packed in closed spaces, where they can hardly flap their wings. Pigs are placed in steel cages where turning their heads is impossible. Cows are placed in cramped containers, fed corn and other grains until they become fat. None of these practices is good for the health and well-being of these animals.
As a result, more antibiotics, hormones, and feed grains are needed to increase production. Due to the unnatural nature, and often rough handling, in raising these animals, it would not be surprising if the quality of meat produced is below-standard.
By placing a Certified Humane Raised and Handled mark on pork, beef, poultry, and other meat products, farmers and slaughterhouses can assure their buyers that the utmost care is given to the animals. From the moment they are born until they are slaughtered, the animals are raised with the least amount of stress, within a natural environment in which they can thrive.
In addition, farmers who seek to gain this certification must follow a strict guideline when it comes to raising these animals. For example, they must provide ample open spaces, a continuous supply of clean, fresh water and wholly-organic feeds. They should also avoid using hormones and other growth enhancers, and practice gentler handling of animals. Aside from that, they would need to follow local food safety and environmental laws. Food processors and slaughterhouses must follow the American Meat Institute (AMI) standards in order for them to be certified, as well.
Steps such as these can be of great help for consumer and farmers alike. Not only can buyers be sure that the meat they purchase are of the highest quality, farmers can increase their profits from the sale of animals.