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Industry First: Live Monitoring of Cage-Free Egg Farm

by 5m Editor
30 September 2008, at 8:14a.m.

US - American Humane and GCB Foods have launched an 'industry first' - live video monitoring of cage-free egg facility. The three-tier audit system of video monitoring, online reporting and on-site inspection has been set up to improve the industry.

American Humane CertifiedTM announced on 29 September that GCB Foods LLC, a family-owned, cage-free egg production company in Nashville, North Carolina, has been Certified with the program, and is also the first of American Humane Certified's many existing food producers in the US to operate under American Humane Certified's new, three-tiered auditing system. The system allows American Humane to monitor animal welfare at the, facility remotely through real-time video monitoring in addition to performing annual on-site audits and observing the company's production data on an ongoing basis through a proprietary online reporting system.

GCB Foods specializes in custom-certified cage-free egg production on family-owned and managed farms. The company is owned by Bob Pike, who has nearly three decades of experience in egg production, processing and marketing.

The new audit process is known as 'True Humane Tracking' by American Humane. The video monitoring capability was developed for American Humane by HS3 Technologies Inc., a security solutions integrator and provider. The online reporting component was developed by CDC Software to ensure transparency, accountability, consistency and dependability in animal welfare. The exclusive audit process not only measures welfare compliance more frequently than annual audits, but it also provides important, continuous education and opportunities for improvement to the producers.

The American Humane Certified says its farm animal program is the US's original, independent certification and labeling program for humanely raised food. More than 50 million farm animals currently are under the protection of American Humane's science-based program, and GCB adds nearly a million more through its operations. More information on American Humane Certified can be found on its web site.

The American Humane online reporting feature uses small, hand-held computers that producers use for regular reporting from the field. Data is sent to American Humane to evaluate for variances or problems. Issues are communicated promptly to producers for quick assessment and correction. The system will also be used by American Humane Certified independent auditors for annual audits of producer's facilities.

The video monitoring offers around-the-clock observation of barns, trucks transporting animals, and live areas of processing plants. Computers monitor the video feed for extraordinary events, alerting management and American Humane Certified so that corrective action can be taken immediately.

Online reporting and video monitoring will be installed in facilities with other species during the current beta testing phase. The True Humane Tracking system is expected to be in full use for all American Humane Certified producers and all species by the middle of next year.

A sample of online video monitoring is available upon request to American Humane Certified.

5m Editor