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American Humane Commissions Research of Aviary Housing To Identify Humane Solutions for Intensive Egg Production

American Humane Commissions Research of Aviary Housing To Identify Humane Solutions for Intensive Egg Production

Posted: Thursday, October 23, 2008 8:15 am

DENVER, Oct. 22 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The American Humane Association has commissioned an international study to research a range of aviary group-housing systems and to evaluate the impact of those systems on the health, welfare and egg production of laying hens. The study will be led by Dr. Inma Estevez, Professor of Animal and Avian Sciences at the University of Maryland, currently on leave of absence. Dr. Estevez is working at the Basque Institute for Agricultural Research and Development (Neiker-Tecnalia) in Spain. (Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20070521/LAM095LOGO ) The study is being undertaken on behalf of the American Humane Certified(TM) program, which is America’s first and foremost monitoring and labeling program for humanely raised food products. The use of barren, battery cages for egg production has been under intense criticism from animal welfare groups for some time, and is banned under the American Humane Certified program. “While we know what is not tolerable or acceptable, such as battery cages, we do not have definitive findings about the impact of less-intensive group housing systems on the welfare of laying hens, and we believe it is paramount to have good science-based data that is paired with humane compassion,” said Marie Belew Wheatley, president and CEO of American Humane. “We need to go beyond identifying the issues and provide solutions that are humane for laying hens and economically achievable for farmers and producers.” The two-year study will encompass evaluation of a wide range of existing national and international production housing systems, as well as video monitoring of all hens in the study group systems by American Humane Certified’s video monitoring system. Observations will be made during different times of day to determine the behavioral repertoire and time spent in various activities under different rearing conditions. Additionally, health and welfare status will be evaluated by collecting farm data, using American Humane Certified’s proprietary online reporting system. “This revolutionary three-pronged approach with investigators’ collection of data, coupled with video observation and systematic online collection of health and production data, will provide us with never before seen information,” Estevez said. “We believe this will result in effective scientific protocols and humane solutions for housing of laying hens.” Estevez’s research team will include Yvonne Vizzier Thaxton, Ph.D., Professor of Poultry Science at Mississippi State University. Findings of the study will be readily shared with animal welfare organizations and the agricultural sector. About American Humane Certified American Humane Certified is this nation’s first animal-welfare program dedicated to the humane treatment of farm animals. It is the fastest growing, third-party independent animal-welfare label program in the U.S. More than 50 million farm animals have been certified by American Humane’s science-based program. American Humane auditors are rigorously trained in the American Humane Certified species-specific standards and are certified by the Professional Animal Auditors Certification Organization (PAACO). As consumers and retailers are increasingly concerned about how food is raised, producers are seeking independent verification for the marketplace. American Humane Certified believes animal welfare should not only be good for animals but also economically viable and feasible for producers. American Humane Certified works with agriculture to educate and motivate producers and demonstrate the economic and social benefits of animal welfare. American Humane Certified works closely with its independent Scientific Advisory Committee, industry professionals and producers to ensure that industry advancements and best practices are part of American Humane certification standards. Based on its 131-year legacy of being the gold standard of humane behavior, consumers trust the American Humane Certified label. Learn more at http://www.thehumanetouch.org. Posted 10.23.08

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