There is no single definition of the term "humane meat." Different producers use the term to describe their animal products that they believe were produced under more humane conditions than traditional factory farms. These conditions might include access to the outdoors, larger cages, no cages, no growth hormones, no antibiotics, or a more humane method of slaughter. Cruel practices such as debeaking, tail docking, and gestation crates may be prohibited.
Certification programs each have their own standards, and each is different. Certified Humane is backed by The Humane Society of the US and the ASPCA. Animal Welfare Approved is a project of the Animal Welfare Institute. The American Humane Association runs the American Humane Certified program, and Whole Foods has their own humane meat rating system.
The "Happy Cow" ad campaign is a project of the California Milk Advisory Board, which is an industry organization with a mission to promote California dairy products. It has nothing to do with certifying humane treatment of cows.
Some animal advocates believe the term "humane meat" is an oxymoron, and misleads the public into believing that breeding, raising and slaughtering animals for food can be humane. These animal advocates tend to promote veganism, not humane meat.
Learn more about the arguments for and against humane meat.