By Julie Murphree, Arizona Farm Bureau Communication Director: Hickman’s Family Farms just earned humane certification for their cage-free eggs through the American Humane Certified™ program. The country’s first national humane organization and the largest certifier of animal welfare in the world, American Humane certified Hickman’s Family Farms because it met the program’s rigorous standards, which include meeting some 200 science-based standards covering everything from adequate space to proper temperature, air quality and much more. The farm will now voluntarily undergo rigorous, yearly audits by professional auditors to ensure the standards are being implemented.
Hickman’s Family Farms pursued a humane path that is in line with national survey results by American Humane showing overwhelming support for humanely raised foods. The survey found that 94.9% of Americans said they were very concerned about farm animal welfare and 75.7% were willing to pay more for humanely raised eggs, meat and dairy products. American Humane now certifies more than 90% of all cage-free eggs in the United States.
“Our family is now celebrating our seventy-third year providing fresh eggs to our customers,” said Clint Hickman, vice president of Hickman’s Family Farms. “Our Grandmother, Nell Hickman started our business with the goal of taking care of her hens as she took care of her family. We are very happy attaining the American Humane Certified certification. We view this certification as another step in verifying to our customers that the care and welfare of our hens is of utmost importance to not only our customers, but also to our family, employees and the communities in which we live.”
The American Humane Certified program is the nation’s first and largest farm animal welfare certification and audit program, developed by the organization 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.
“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. “By becoming an American Humane Certified producer, Hickman’s Family Farms helps assure their consumers that the food on their plates was raised humanely and under the science- and evidence-based protections established by American Humane. We applaud them for their extraordinary commitment to good animal welfare.”
In an earlier article by Arizona Farm Bureau, Hickman’s Farm Farms CEO stressed the importance of following consumer demands and expectations. “The demand for cage free and organic eggs continues to grow in all of our markets, but especially California where California consumers passed Proposition 2,” said Glenn Hickman. “New poultry husbandry rules will increase demand for cage-free eggs even faster. We’ll continue to increase our cage-free egg production in the future.”
This is the first time the Hickman's have applied and prepared this this certification. Each year they must renew and be inspected in order to maintain the humane certification.
For more information about Hickman’s Family Farms, visit www.hickmanseggs.com. American Humane is the country’s first national humane organization, founded in 1877. For more information, visit www.americanhumane.org.