The ACCC has made an initial assessment of certification trade mark application 1914662 (CTM application) lodged by Humane Farm Animal Care (HFAC). This application relates to the treatment of farm animals for food production. The mark bears the words ‘CERTIFIED HUMANE’, and is illustrated below.
HFAC is a certification organisation based in the USA. The animal care standards that underpin the CTM application were created by a committee comprised of animal scientists and veterinarians from USA, Canada, Europe and South America. The proposed CTM Rules contain references to USA-based entities, standards, guidelines and legislation only. HFAC envisages Australian farmers applying to use the CTM.
Revised CTM Rules (Version 3)
Following the ACCC’s consultation on Version 2 of the CTM Rules, HFAC provided a submission on 23 September 2020 in response to the concerns raised by interested parties. HFAC has also provided revised CTM Rules (Version 3). These are available below under Attachments, please see CTM Rules (Version 3).
Next steps: the ACCC will proceed to make a final assessment of the CTM application. The ACCC’s final assessment will be informed by our consideration of Version 2 and Version 3 of the CTM Rules, submissions received by interested parties and responses from HFAC.
Public consultation on revised CTM Rules (Version 2)
Following the ACCC’s initial assessment, on 5 May 2020 HFAC submitted revised rules for consideration. The ACCC conducted a second round of public consultation on Version 2 of the CTM Rules, on 26 June 2020.
Submissions received in the consultation process on Version 2 of the CTM Rules are available under the Attachments heading below – labelled ‘Consultation 2 – Submission’.
Many parties providing a submission acknowledged that Version 2 of the CTM Rules had addressed some of the issues previously raised. However, in all of the submissions received by the ACCC, interested parties raised ongoing concerns regarding Version 2 of HFAC’s CTM Rules.
Initial assessment issued 28 February 2020
The ACCC’s initial assessment is that it was not satisfied of the matters specified in section 175(2) of the TMA and, accordingly, did not propose to give a certificate to approve the registration of HFAC’s CTM application.
For further information about the ACCC’s reasons, including an overview of the concerns raised by interested parties about Version 1 of the CTM Rules, please refer to the ACCC’s ‘Decision – ACCC Initial Assessment Statement of Reasons – 28.2.20’ under the Attachments heading below.
Public consultation on Version 1 of the CTM Rules
To inform its assessment of HFAC’s CTM application in its Initial Assessment, the ACCC conducted a public consultation process on Version 1 of the CTM Rules in August 2019.
A large number of interested parties raised concerns about how HFAC could effectively administer a certification program within Australia which is not based on local production systems, environmental conditions or legislative requirements.
In addition, many interested parties expressed concern that various animal care standards underpinning the rules governing the use of HFAC’s CTM (Version 1) are likely to be inconsistent with reasonable Australian consumers’ expectations of humane food production.
Submissions received in the first consultation process on Version 1 of the CTM Rules are available under the Attachments heading below – labelled ‘Consultation 1 – Submission’.
HFAC did not provide a submission in response to the concerns raised by interested parties about Version 1 of its CTM Rules prior to the ACCC’s initial assessment.
The original CTM Rules (Version 1)
In its application, HFAC submitted the original CTM Rules (Version 1). The ACCC conducted its initial assessment based on Version 1 of the CTM Rules.
Given that HFAC has submitted revised CTM Rules (Versions 2 and 3) for consideration, Version 1 of the CTM Rules are provided below for information only.