How to define ‘cage-free’

Learn how three different certifying organizations say a cage-free operation should look.

Potter's Poultry
Potter's Poultry

As the industry strives to keep up with the widespread call for cage-free operations, many producers and retailers are left wondering exactly how to make that transition.

In the May issue of Egg Industry, we cover three industry organizations – industry group United Egg Producers and animal welfare nonprofits Humane Farm Animal Care and the American Humane Association – that offer auditing and certification of animal livestock operations.

Interestingly, each has its own interpretation of what that means. Their certification labels, which are UEP Certified, Certified Humane and Humane Heartland respectively, utilized animal science experts to create written guidelines used in their certification processes.

Take multi-tiered housing, for example. According to Certified Humane and UEP Certified guidelines, systems must provide enough space to allow for proper inspection of the birds at all levels and to enable immediate access to any sick, injured, trapped or dead birds. American Humane Certified guidelines do not require that.

Likewise, American Humane Certified and UEP Certified guidelines require tiers to be arranged so hens do not need to descend at an angle steeper than 45 degrees from tier to tier; Certified Humane’s guidelines don’t.

Want to learn more about the differences between certification guidelines for these three certifying organizations? Read this month’s issue of Egg Industry now.

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