Humane Farm Animal Care was established to promote and administer its certification and labeling program, Certified Humane Raised & Handled, for meat, dairy, eggs, and poultry raised under its animal care standards, which are verified by the United States Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Marketing Services. It is a non-profit organization governed by a Board of Directors and retains a Scientific Committee which includes scientists, veterinarians, producers, and animal welfare consultants. The organization is supported by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Humane Society of the United States.
Both the organization and the Certified Humane Raised & Handled program were founded in 2003 by Adelle Douglass, a Former Director of the American Humane Association's Washington, D.C. office. In the late 1990s Douglass had traveled to England to study "Freedom Food," a single brand of farm products which claimed to derive from "humanely raised" animals.
The certification program requires the inspection of aspects of production, including raising of live animals, slaughter (livestock), and the processing/packaging of animal products, to ensure the authenticity of the Certified Humane Raised & Handled label. It publishes an annual Policy Manual which describes its certification program requirements and specifications. The program has obtained International Organization for Standardization, ISO Guide 65 certification and is the only humane organization in the US to have received this designation.