Our Heritage

Since 1877, the American Humane Association has set the gold standard in animal welfare. Here are a few highlights of the legacy that we seek to expand, day by day, year after year.

1877 to 1913

  • 1877 - American Humane Association addresses the humane transport of livestock on trains; enforces the 28-hour law.
  • 1878 - American Humane Association calls for humane slaughter of animals.
  • 1881 - American Humane Association condemns the premature shearing of sheep and the ocean transport of cattle.
  • 1883 - American Humane Association opposes excessive branding of cattle.
  • 1885 - American Humane Association opposes de-horning of cattle.
  • 1886 - American Humane Association advocates for legislation that requires ranchers to adequately provide for and shelter animals grazing on federal rangeland.
  • 1887 - American Humane Association addresses the inhumane overcrowding of poultry cages.
  • 1902 - American Humane Association debates humane slaughter of farm animals.
  • 1903 - American Humane Association launches programs to educate ranchers and the public on protecting animals that graze on the open range.
  • 1904 - American Humane Association condemns current methods of slaughter and asks Congress to license and regulate slaughterhouses.
  • 1913 - American Humane Association lobbies Congress on a "minimum speed bill" for trains to shorten trips for livestock.

1930 to 1964

  • 1930 - American Humane Association pressures Congress to amend the 28-hour law to include trucks.
  • 1945 - American Humane Association launches campaign to protect calves during livestock auctions.
  • 1946 - American Humane Association pressures the Department of Agriculture to extend the 28-hour law to trucks, establishes regulation pen sizes, and creates feeding standards for animals in transit via trucks.
  • 1951 - American Humane Association develops campaign to stop injuries during loading and unloading of cages during transport.
  • 1952 - American Humane Association revisits humane slaughter issues.
  • 1955 - American Humane  Association supports bill requiring slaughterhouses to quickly and painlessly stun animals before slaughter. The federal law only applies to slaughterhouses that sell meat to the federal government, leaving some 13 million animals still unprotected.
  • 1960 - American Humane Association takes humane slaughter campaign to states; certifies slaughterhouses.
  • 1964 - American Humane Association leads legislative efforts to have trucks covered under 28-hour law. The efforts fail.

1971 to 1996

  • 1971 - American Humane Association pushes effort to have another bill introduced to extend the 28-hour law. Bill fails to pass.
  • 1971 - American Humane Association begins campaign to protect animals transported by air.
  • 1974 - American Humane Association instrumental in legislation proposed to Congress to cover air shipment of animals.
  • 1975 - The National Livestock Dealers Association and the American Trucking Association approach American Humane Association to develop guidelines.
  • 1977 - American Humane Association supports amendment to the Animal Welfare Act to cover transportation of animals by air.
  • 1977 - Final Humane Slaughter Act is passed.
  • 1983 - American Humane Association works with dairy farmers to successfully oppose the Hot Iron Face branding requirement in the federal dairy buy-out termination program.
  • 1989 - American Humane Association supports the Veal Calf Protection Act, which prohibits placing veal calves in crates that do not allow them to turn around or move.
  • 1992 - American Humane Association supports the downed animal legislation, which prohibits the transportation of animals that are injured or sick.
  • 1995 - American Humane Association is the only humane organization to serve on the Federal Advisory board, which writes the "Guide for the Care and Use of Agricultural Animals in Research and Teaching."
  • 1996 - American Humane Association lobbies against the use of rBGH (bovine growth hormone) in dairy cows because of negative animal welfare implications.

2000 to Today

  • 2000 - American Humane  Association creates animal welfare standards for farm animals; launches the American Humane Free Farmed™ program to improve the lives of farm animals.
  • 2002 - American Humane Association expands the farm animal welfare certification program to include more producers and more products!
  • 2007 - American Humane Association renames the Free Farmed program and develops the American Humane Certified™ label to reflect the broader scope of the American Humane Association certification program.
  • 2009 - American Humane Association, to support the audit and certification process, launches innovative online registration and audit results database for producers.
  • 2009 - American Humane Association launches online, classroom and in-barn training programs for all workers involved in the care and handling of farm animals.
  • 2009 - American Humane Association launches "The Humane Table" consumer website to generate awareness, and promote the use, of products that have been certified as humanely raised.
  • 2010 - American Humane Association certifies and endorses enriched colony housing as a humane alternative housing method for laying hens.
  • 2010 - American Humane Association endorses new method of controlled atmosphere stunning for poultry as humane.