I’ll lay out the best certifications later in this post. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) believes “Certified Humane” offers important standards in bedding, methods of slaughter, stocking density, and pain relief. This strange pull – no – burning desire to educate people about the horrors this gentle species has endured at our hands.". But if you’re looking for a truly humane product, it may not be enough. I decided to say that I was doing some research on what the differences were between conventional and organic milk and wanted to find out more about the industry standards for organic milk. Thank you Judith, I do not find demonizing farmers helpful. That guide also includes links and instructions for where you can buy each of these brands. The simple reality is that we can never get “consent” from any nonhuman animal, including from cows. But this is a clear look at the facts, not demonizing the farmers in particular who, after all, are simply providing a product the rest of us want. Your free cheat sheet will be in your email inbox shortly! Learn more. Castrated males are used as “stand-ins” for females. More and more people are opting to forgo dairy altogether. Two of them by phone and the third by e-mail exchange. I searched the web for a list of small organic dairy farms in Sonoma County and could not find any farms that offered tours for individuals that didn’t cost a lot of money. Killing is not compassionate, kind, or done with consideration for whatever you're killing, so it's really not valid to call any animal product humane. (source), There are many labels and certification programs that try to ensure animal welfare on farms. (source). (source, source), This one is almost a trick… This isn’t even a term looked at by the USDA for dairy. Keep in mind, this is not the same as “American Humane Certified,” which is definitely not recommended by animal advocates. Without pregnancy and birth, there is no milk. GAP is only just now developing a set of standards for dairy. Farms must commit to humane production under AWA standards. The bull (male) calves are given colostrum and sold to auction ASAP. Organic pigs may have their tails chopped off and their ears notched. And generally, the USDA does not audit the farms to check that dairy producers are meeting the requirements of their term. What happens to them when they stop calving or their milk production drops, aka retirement? We have been drinking cow’s milk for so long that it is almost impossible for us to see the inherent cruelty in the act of breeding cows into existence so we could take their babies and their milk. Here are the milk brands that have been certified Animal Welfare Approved (AWA) or Certified Humane (CH). It is something to seriously consider if you're interested in organic production for animal welfare reasons. I have come to the conclusion that if I were meant to be consuming cow’s milk then I would have been born a calf. But the question remains, what about the treatment of the cows? They are useless to the dairy farmers. Along the same lines, aspiring ​organic farmers note that one reason they're interested in organic versus conventional production is that organic is more humane. Audits are less regular than with other programs. More and more people are trying to avoid cruel factory farms. But animals can actually be fed this grass indoors, in factory farm conditions—with no consideration of other welfare concerns. Below are lists of dairy brands certified as Animal Welfare Approved (AWA) or Certified Humane (CH). (source). I will admit, I was a little nervous. Some of these labels do provide improvements. But even without the “violent” aspect, it would still be an un-consenting situation. The next question is, should humans be consuming cows milk at all? There are certain aspects of dairy farming that can arguably never be “humane” or “cruelty-free.” That’s because these are necessary steps to any milk production for human consumption.