To meet the animal welfare standards, the One Health Certified program allows producers to use National Chicken Council, National Turkey Federation, or American Humane Certified guidelines.
The chicken and turkey organization standards essentially represent the norm in chicken and turkey production. For chickens, the indoor space requirements are minimal—less than 1 square foot per bird—and the birds don't have to have access to the outdoors. Farms aren't required to equip indoor living spaces with perches or other features that allow chickens and turkeys to engage in natural behaviors. There's also no requirement to control ammonia levels (produced by animal waste) in birds' indoor living quarters; high ammonia levels can cause illness. In the chicken industry, it's common to keep the lights on continuously in the chicken house. This promotes faster growth by preventing the birds from sleeping, so they eat more, and the practice is a major animal welfare issue in chicken production. Under One Health Certified standards, the birds must get at least 4 hours of darkness; however, it doesn't have to be continual—the lights can be turned on and off in 1-hour increments. Together, these conditions not only create a poor environment for the animals' well-being but also generate conditions conducive to disease, which may lead to producers needing to use antibiotics.
The American Humane Certified standards are slightly better than the chicken and turkey organizations' standards. (CR rates the American Humane Certified label as Good.) For example, ammonia levels in poultry houses must be controlled and chickens must get 4 hours of continual darkness. However, the presence of the One Health Certified label alone doesn't tell a consumer which standards the producer decided to use.