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A National Pig Day Reminder: The ‘Humane Meat’ Myth

Written by PETA | March 1, 2013

Whether the new month is coming in like a lion or a lamb, March 1 is National Pig Day, which, according to its cofounder, has been set aside “to accord the pig its rightful, though generally unrecognized, place” as a smart and social animal. George Clooney and his dear departed companion pig would agree.

And while there are plenty of great ways to celebrate our curly-tailed pals, none of them involves eating pork. Pigs raised and killed for meat spend their entire lives in cramped, filthy warehouses under the constant stress of intense confinement and are denied everything that is natural and important to them before being violently slaughtered.

Now, some folks would like you to believe that you can have your (nonfakin‘) bacon and a clear conscience, too—but that’s a bigger load of, um, manure than even a factory farm generates. Long story short: There is no such thing as “humane meat.”

But here’s PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk to explain that (and read a cute poem):

The good news is that March is also the month for the annual observance of Meatout, so there’s no better time than right now to kick the cruelty habit in favor of healthy and humane vegan foods—and PETA can help you get started!

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  • fran says:

    love animals .stop

  • fran says:

    love animals

  • russ says:

    i love pigs so much i dont see why their treated like that 🙁

  • William says:

    It’s the animals that need a savior. Animals need to be saved from mankind – and man needs to be saved from himself. Going vegan has a very nasty side-effect: you see how merciless and cruel mankind is. Those poor animals live in the worst kind of hell. 🙁 I used to pray for God to save mankind. Now, I pray for God to rescue the animals.

  • grumpyoledihard says:

    Our food has become unsanitary. Hormones injections and the unsanitary preparation of food is making folks sick. Hepatic outbreaks occur every year and kill many. Even genetically altered foods have unknown effects on us. Our best bet is to stay away from meats and go veggie. It safer and cleaner and more natural. Too many health hazards these days to fool around with filthy, ill-prepared meat and other boxed treats. Why add to it by eating meat that has unknown additives in it?

  • Samantha Gutierrez says:

    I began as a vegetarian and then decided to go vegan and have no regrets, our society now in days is so used to the “western diet” that more meat the better and that is neither healthy nor correct. By killing animals we are not only doing a harm to our health but also doing harm to the environment. Vegans and vegatarians are not only “hippie ANIMAL LOVERS” we are an educated community aware of the damaging effects of a animal based diet , a plant based diet is essential if one wants to not only have a good health (of course in combination with sufficent sleep and exercise) but also stop damaging the planet.

  • George33 says:

    actually, the synthetic meat technology is already available, so there is humane meat. no suffering is involved in making that

  • Hannah says:

    I must say, I think that the ‘vegetarianism vs meat-eating’ and ‘cruelty to animals’ topics are two a part of two entirely different debates. I am not a vegetarian, because I like meat. I don’t, however, enjoy cruelty! I agree that the industry concerned with mass production of meat does tend to overlook the ‘humane’ aspects, and I also believe that cruelty to an animal is as much a crime as cruelty to humans. Just because the animals are to become meat produce, does not mean they are any less entitled to a good life than, say, the leaders of the industry. It is unfortunate that the market is dominated by this group, when there are respectable independent farms/ farm shops who actually treat their livestock very, very well. I have luckily been able to see for myself just how well the animals are treated in my local farm shop – therefore, I made the decision to only buy from trusted local suppliers as soon as I had control over my food shopping.

  • Mink Sparks says:

    Animals kill for need, but humans kill for greed

  • Aguirrethewrathofdog says:

    In the US we need to stop subsidizing the meat industry and start subsidizing healthy, environmentally friendly and animal friendly agriculture. When it’s more affordable to buy hamburger than a romaine lettuce salad, society suffers.

  • Stan says:

    I agree with John. Animals have been used for food since the days of antiquities. I agree with Animal welfare but not animal rights.

  • Claire says:

    I believe animals should not be used for any purpose at all. Animals should live free, without being used for anything of benefit to us

  • Ashleigh says:

    I love pigs!!!!

  • Jo Ardell says:

    There is no way “meat” could ever be humane, and this is not needed,for anyone to live. I quit meat in 1967, and am now 66 yrs, will be 67 this year. Tradition and habit is why humans do this. PLEASE STOP EATING ANIMALS! They suffer, horribly, and die miserably,because humans “think”, they must eat them. ANIMALS DESERVE BETTER>THEY WANT TO LIVE FREE FROM PAIN AND SUFFERING AND TORTURE.

  • Nicky says:

    I tried to become a vegetarian but found it difficult to achieve and maintain. So instead we decided to stop buying from commercial meat plants. We life in the city on 2 acres of land. On 1 acre I have a small garden and 20 chickens which we raise for eggs, they lay eggs I collect them none of our hens sit on their eggs. They are not cages they have a coop that they go into at night and come out in the morning otherwise they are completely free range on an organic diet and die of natural causes due to old age and are buried on our lot. I buy pork from a local farmer who raises 100 pigs a year, he has 200 acres of land where the pigs live outdoors. They have a barn and roam freely as they please. He kills them one at a time (no more than 1 per day on order) by a shot in the head, quick, painless no fear. We purchase 1 pig per year around 200lbs. In the fall my husband shoots 2 deer which I process myself insuring NOTHING is waisted. My dog receives the organ meat and ground bone meal as I make my own dog food. I use all the meat, process the fat into lard for cooking. Tan the skin and sell it, the dogs even get to chew on the hooves, there is no waste other than the contents of the stomach and intestines which goes into my compost bin. I buy 1 gallon of milk every 2 days from a local dairy farmer who raises 5 cows on 30 acres of land, they are milked buy hand, fed organic food and allowed to rear and feed their own babies. I make my own butter and cheeses. I live entirely off of the 700lbs or so of meat we get from the pork/deer. All the other foods we buy are organic and vegan.

  • Nicky says:

    I tried to be a vegetarian and found it ultimately difficult to do and so decided instead that I would not buy products from commercial meat plants or the other products they sell meat or otherwise. We live in the city and raise 20 chickens for eggs, they have 1 acre of land to roam as they please, a barn they go into when the sun sets and I let them out in the morning. They lay eggs and I collect them (none of my hens sit on their eggs). We d

  • MAGNUS says:

    @JOHN. Haha, oh my, but dont you know that animals crave food aswell? all these crops that kill innocent animals, are fed to animals that also are killed, and what are the rodents doing in MY crops? could it be that there natural enviroment has become crops for cows? chickens? pigs? These places you speak of are VERY uninhabitable for human beings, like where the eskimos are, and did you know that the eskimos life span is shorter then the north american? could that have somthing to do with that they ONLY eat animals? Hell i live in SWEDEN, where the winter can be very ROUGH, there is no problem with Vegan food here, before humans were industrialized we ate Grains, THAT was the NUMBER ONE food, because its UNPREDICTABLE to HUNT animals with sticks and stones, wich a lion or tiger dont need 🙂

  • kp says:

    humane is is no way a word that should be used when descibing these commercial farms where animals are packed together and never see the outside, never feel grass or soil, never get to root around in the dirt. they are meat factories breeding and raising animals on concrete in prison cells, poked and proded, shot with so many vaccinations that the side of their necks become a hard callus area. put with that personell who are underpaid and overworked taking their frustrations out on these animals by beating them with rods of steel, or kicking them repeatedly with steel toed boots until they hemmorage swell and burst. and these places are doing nothing about it. yes they say they have a no tolerance policy, but thats just for the press. its abuse, its cruel and needs to be stopped

  • Frederic says:

    Dear John: I would like to begin by asking how you can respectfully disagree with someone by asking them to kill themselves. Secondly, I would like to point out that the majority of crops grown in the world are sent directly to the meat industry. Removing meat from our diet would both decrease the amount of suffering you have pointed out as well as provide much more food for starving individuals. As for the coexistence with other animals, that has been an issue for humanity since the beginning: war. Some people choose to kill and some choose not to. I am sure you agree war and murder should not exist, so why fight for the slaughter of animals? Finally I agree that we should focus on changing of current conditions because there will always be people with differing beliefs. Please do not go onto a site you have no interest in just to tell the owner to kill themselves.

  • Judy says:

    “Humane meat” is a gimmick, a clever marketing tactic to make people continue eating slaughtered animals without feeling guilt. Animals are mammals as we are. Think deeply about this, and be brave enough to make change. Yes, change is difficult. Change came suddenly for me. After watching videos of animal slaughters I decided I could not continue harming animals. That was my focuse. I stopped eating slaughtered animals immediately, and started on a journey towards becoming a vegan. It has been one year and one month, my mind is at peace and my body feels healthy. If I could do it, anyone can do it. Do it for yourself and the planet. You are brave.

  • John says:

    I would respectufully disagree. Growing crops kills animals. Fertilizers pollute streams, pesticides painfully kill rodents and insects. Many crops require clear-cutting forests, killing more animals, many of them “Intelligint” I am not Vegan, nor Vegetarian, because I know it to be inevitable. There is no way humans can exist without animal suffering. You want to truely help the animals, Ms. Newkirk? Kill yourself. It is the only way. There are also many places on earth where people can raise meat but not grow crops. ANd many farms actually do treat there animals quite nicely.(Meaning they are kept humanely-I know how they die blah blah blah.) Please try to convince me otherwise. If oyu can truely convince me, I’ll become vegetarian. (I really only eat meat like once a week) The real question is, why don’t we eat humans then? If death and suffering is inevitable, what makes canabalism wrong?

  • Cheriee says:

    Not everyone wants to be a vegan, and I think that is an unreasonable goal. We should concentrate on making the lives of farm animals better. What’s wrong with eating cage free, vegetarian fed eggs?

  • BRB says:

    If everyone stopped eating meat, many of the farm animals including pigs would cease to exist. There would be no wild cows or pigs, other than wild boar which would still be killed by many as a nuisance. People would find no value in raising pigs or cows because they wouldn’t provide any value to regular people. Dairy farmers might still raise cows, but the dairy industry seems to be even more inhumane than farmers who raise their livestock for meat. Just something I’ve been thinking about.

  • Educate Yourself! says:

    The whole reasoning behind humane meat is to HELP influence slaughter plants and producers to use more humane methods. Yes it is not ideal, however it is a step towards influencing producers to treat their animals more humanly. With getting meat buyers to purchase “humane meat” it will influence more producers to treat their animals better and become certified. This can help put the producers that treat their animals poorly out of business. The industry will not change in a day, so with this step it is slowly leading to a better way of handling these animals. With the consumers not wanting to eat uncertified humane meat it can lead to a market for humanely treated animals. This can help reach the goals of treating animals well. I would not discourage “humane meat” even if it is not the ideal situation. It’s all in baby steps people!! Things WILL NOT change over night, this is why societies are promoting “humane meat”. Like any industry, baby steps will be the change. Meat consumers will STILL eat meat, and saying UNEDUCATED things like how antibiotics are bad (The whole reasoning of antibiotics is for the WELFARE of the animals so they DON’T get diseases and suffer, keep in mind this will NOT be consumed by consumers, the trace of them are long gone before they reach market!) So this is a way to use value added marketing to force the inhumane slaughter plants out of business.

  • ray haynes says:

    in the eyes of your very own sole, No denying it when you eat meat it’s not subjective you are any better then that flesh on your plate.

  • ashley says:

    I was wondering if anyone has turned their attention to the company policy of some big companies that allows them to kill healthy pigs if they breath outside air these pigs are unable to reenter the builing and are killed on the spot as soon as they go outside there are several cases where pigs fall off trucks or squeeze out doors and are unable to be brought back into the barn due to risk of contamination and ar killed and thrown away vegan or not there are plenty of organiazations that want you to donate money to give homeless or poor familys food by helping buy pigs and other animals this is a waste of life from a vegan stand point and a waste of meat from a non vegan point of view but all in all I have reached on conclusion and that is that its a complete waste

  • Masha Furman says:

    Foster Farms recently added “certified humane” label to their packages. People will now buy their product thinking they are supporting “humane” meat.

  • radical144 says:

    @tessybu This can be a tricky situation. If money and or extra cooking is the issue offer to do work around the house in exchange for buying your vegan foods and offer to cook and clean for yourself. If they worry about your health educate them on how a well rounded vegan diet can provide you with all your nutritional needs. If they still protest take a multivitamin. If they wont let you because they think its stupid or whatever show them your serious, don’t starve yourself to death or anything but don’t give in on the first day either. If it all fails you may just have to wait till your old enough to get a job to buy your own food. Hopefully your parents will respect your wishes best of luck to you.

  • tessybu says:

    Im fourteen and my parents wont let me become a veagan… any suggestions?

  • Jennifer says:

    Niko, I understand what you are saying, but please try and understand that we use MORE food to feed one pound of meat than we would to just consume the grain or plants ourselves. There would be plenty of food. Not to mention, the world’s air and water quality could greatly improve if our meat consumption was LESS. Runoff from awful conditions contaminate our water and nearby farms with disease, and our air quality is compromised by raising SO many animals for slaughter. They are all treated with antibiotics, so our meat is loaded with stuff that’s awful for us. Also, much of this meat will go bad before people can use it. If we could just try and focus on eating less meat, we could help better the lives of many animals and improve our earth and health.

  • oneandonly says:

    This comment is for the person with the display “me” I cant wait till u go to hell then ull be the sandwiches yum yum 🙂

  • niko says:

    If every human being would stop eating meat there would not be enough food. It just is not possible to grow enough to supply the demand. How would we decide who would starve to death because eating meat is not ethical? I agree that some animals have horrible lives and that is sad and we should try to improve that greatly, but demanding to stop farming animals for medical research and food alltogether is just naive and stupid.

  • RedLeader says:

    Meat is murder – unless of course it isn’t. If an animal dies of natural causes, eating the animal could be a good way to honor it’s life. Remember this too when a carnivore in your presence leaves meat on his/her plate. You may want to eat it just to prevent waste: if it’s socially acceptable of course. In other words, reaching across the table to eat your boss’s leftover burger might cause problems, but your nephew’s…

  • pmp says:

    in response to sb you are wrong. i have bean a vegetarian for 11 months now. even if it took 1 hit to kill them they still killed them 1 by 1 so the first one probably did not see it coming but the others did. so eat what you want but you are wrong.

  • Tara Carnes says:

    Why do people get startled over eating horse meat or wearing dog fur but think it’s okay to eat pigs and cows or wear other animal skins without any second thought? I try to educate people everyday and they just don’t get it. Pigs are really no different than your dog and what makes a horse different form a cow?

  • noni maksh says:

    plss stop killing don’t be devil

  • marlen arciniega says:

    All animals should be released ….how people can be so cruel ..I don’t eat pig…love animals ….

  • RICHARD says:


  • SB says:

    Maybe it’s because of my background: My grandparents run a small farm where the animals are kept in large, clean, outdoor pens in groups with enough room to run around and are fed a healthy mixture of grains (they own and run their own feed business) and the alfalfa that he grows to the side of their yard. The pigs are sprayed off regularly in the summer months and given a large mud hole in their area to help them keep cool and are often given leftover veggies from the dinner table. When we were children we would play with the piglets (occasionally getting cussed out by my grandfather if we moved too quickly and frightened them) and with the young calves. I became friends with one calf in particular and my grandfather put her in a special pen when I came over so I could still safely get in and pet and groom her without raising fears of me upsetting the other cattle. The goats were allowed to roam free because there were only two and they stayed in the yard. If any of the animals became ill they were quarantined and treated, but didn’t receive antibiotics or things other than if they were needed. They were always kept at a healthy weight, I never saw protruding bones or cows trying to wobble because they were too large. The cows’ coats were always shiny and usually pretty clean (after a rain storm they got pretty muddy if they left the covered areas, but that’s to be expected if an animal is outdoors); my grandfather would go out and clean up the manure on a regular basis so clean was the norm. We were always allowed to pet them and feed them by hand if the animals would let us. My grandpa took me to the slaughterhouse one time when I was eleven or so, he was taking in a couple bulls. It was a small building (they don’t take more than ten or so at a time), and it made me sad because he had already explained what was going to happen, but it was over quickly: they tied them to the side wall out back and did it one at a time with one hit each. There was no panic, they didn’t even make a sound. I still cried, but it wasn’t nearly as traumatizing as it could have been after reading some other people’s accounts. While I don’t agree with factory farming, I think consuming a small amount of meat from time to time is fine when it comes from farms like these is hardly cruel. I think the way I grew up seeing it done was a humane way: the animals were well cared for and had good and social lives outdoors and though most did die unnaturally it was done in the most humane way possible.

  • Felicia Pechtold says:

    Animals are our friends – not meal!

  • me says:

    I will celebrate “Pig Day” by smoking a pork shoulder and making pulled pork sandwiches for my family this weekend. Mmmmm pulled pork sandwiches.