WASHINGTON, Jan. 27, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- American Humane Association, the country's first national humane organization, today announced that the happy egg co. has become the first commercial egg producer in the United States to be granted humane certification from American Humane Association in the category "Layer Hens: Free-Range and Pasture-raised." In doing so, the happy egg co. is pursuing a humane path that is in line with dramatic new national survey results by American Humane Association showing overwhelming support for humanely raised foods. The 2014 Humane Heartland Farm Animal Survey, released in November, found that 94.9 percent of Americans said they were very concerned about farm animal welfare and more than three-quarters (75.7%) were willing to pay more for humanely raised eggs, meat and dairy products.
In order to qualify as an American Humane Certified™ "Layer Hens: Free-Range and Pasture-raised" producer, the happy egg co. had to meet the program's rigorous standards, which include providing each hen with access to 21.8 square feet of outdoor space during the daytime, and access to sheltered areas at nighttime and during inclement weather, as well as nearly 200 additional science-based standards. Free-range hens from the happy egg co. are free to roam daily, as well as flap, perch, forage and dust-bathe, which is natural hen behavior. This latest certification demonstrates the American Humane Association and the happy egg co. share the belief that these standards do more to support hen welfare and are appropriate to claim true free-range production.
"We believe that all animals – those in our homes, those in service to our country, and those on our nation's farms and ranches – deserve humane treatment," said Dr. Robin Ganzert, president and CEO of American Humane Association. "By becoming an American Humane Certified producer, the happy egg co. assures their consumers that the food on their plates was raised humanely and under the science- and evidence-based protections established by American Humane Association. We applaud them for their extraordinary commitment to good animal welfare."
"At the happy egg co., the welfare of our hens always comes first, which is why we're constantly working to establish even better living standards for our hens," said David Wagstaff, chief operating officer of the happy egg co. "It is important for the animals, our family farmers and our consumers, and is why we sought and achieved the rigorous standards of the American Humane Certified program. As the first and only free range egg producer to be certified, we have once again demonstrated the standard of care we give our hens to be the gold standard in hen welfare. The happy egg co. is the only 100% free-range egg brand with an animal welfare program that covers everything from living conditions to feed to expertise of caregivers."
American Humane Association certifies three kinds of egg production that meet its animal welfare standards – enriched colony housing, cage-free, and free-range. Each of these egg-production systems allow hens to move about freely and express natural behaviors. American Humane Association now certifies more than 90 percent of all cage-free eggs in the United States.
The American Humane Certified program was developed to advance protections for farm animals and ensure they are raised and handled humanely. Independent, third-party audits cover more than 200 species-specific criteria which are rooted in the internationally accepted Five Freedoms of animal welfare. These science-based standards are set and regularly reviewed by an independent Scientific Advisory Committee of the nation's top animal experts, animal behaviorists, veterinarians and animal advocates, including luminaries such as farm animal welfare pioneer Dr. Temple Grandin and Dr. Joy Mench.
For a full list of American Humane Certified producers and more information about the program and other Humane Heartland initiatives, visit www.humaneheartland.org
For more information about the happy egg co. free-range eggs, which are available in 4,000 stores nationwide, visit www.thehappyeggco.com.
About American Humane Association
American Humane Association is the country's first national humane organization and the only one dedicated to protecting both children and animals. Since 1877, American Humane Association has been at the forefront of virtually every major advance in protecting our most vulnerable from cruelty, abuse and neglect. Today, the organization is leading the way in understanding the human-animal bond and its role in therapy, medicine and society. American Humane Association reaches millions of people every day through groundbreaking research, education, training and services that span a wide network of organizations, agencies and businesses. For more information, visit www.americanhumane.org.
About the happy egg co.
The happy egg co. is proud to be a pioneer of Hendependence, allowing its hens can enjoy the freedom of outdoors every day. The happy egg co. hens spend their days under the sun, frolicking through acres of open space, socializing and just doing what hens do naturally. Hens at the happy egg co. enjoy the freedom to roam across more than five acres of open pasture, and nutritional feed and care from expert family farmers under the direction of Andrew Joret, the International Egg Commission's 2013 "International Egg Person of the Year." The happy egg co. was the winner the Best New Egg in the 2014 Better Homes and Gardens Best New Product Awards. For more information about the happy egg co. free range on pasture eggs, including a store locator, visit thehappyeggco.com.
SOURCE American Humane Association