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Is There Such a Thing as ‘Humane’ Meat?

Written by Ingrid Newkirk | September 28, 2012

Many PETA members have contacted us to ask whether they should support so-called “humane” meat. It’s a question that we all should be asking because this issue is very important—particularly for the billions of animals who are killed for our plates every year.

If you look around, society is at a turning point. Everyone from the NFL’s Arian Foster to Bill Clinton to Anne Hathaway is talking about how going vegan boosts one’s energy and keeps one looking slim and healthy. Grocery stores are packed with tasty vegan foods, from faux meats such as vegan chicken and ribs to dairy-free products such as rice milk ice cream and vegan cheese! It’s no longer a chore to ask for a vegan meal in restaurants, including steakhouses, and there are now vegan options at schools across the country. Some universities even have all-vegan cafeterias.

Now, more than ever before, it is time to be kind to animals by not paying someone else to slaughter them—something that happens even on so-called “humane” farms.

PETA has pushed hard and will continue to push hard to reduce the sum total of suffering in the meat, dairy, and egg industries—because that makes a huge difference if you are a pig or a chicken on a factory farm. We’ve stopped PETA protests outside Burger King or McDonald’s restaurants when those companies agreed to reforms, but that doesn’t mean that we would ever suggest eating meat from Burger King or anywhere else—because we know that massive suffering still goes into every bite. Yes, it’s better to pay extra for an egg from a chicken who had a marginally less hideous life than one who suffered more, but we must do better by animals. In fact, we have yet to find a “humane” factory farm where animals don’t have their tails cut off and their ears painfully notched, where they aren’t debeaked, dehorned, or castrated without anesthesia, where they aren’t kept in crowded conditions without sunlight or fresh air, where they don’t have their beloved children taken away from them, where they aren’t denied the companionship of others, where they aren’t sent to a feedlot, or where they are instantly dispatched without the trauma of capture, the horror of transportation, or the terror of seeing other animals killed before suffering the same fate.

PETA has pushed for vegan living since our inception in 1980. Our motto is: “Animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, use for entertainment, or abuse in any other way.” With so many vegan cookbooks and meal options available and with programs like the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine’s 21-Day Vegan Kickstart and our wildly popular vegan starter kit, we can all help animals—and not miss a thing. Let’s live and let live, and tell others to come along with us, reminding them that animals have emotions and needs just as human beings do.

There is no such thing as humane meat. Giving animals a few more inches of living space is simply not enough. Animals deserve more. The momentum is on our side, but it will take every one of us to bring this change about by being active advocates of animal rights. Thank you!

Kind regards,

Ingrid E. Newkirk




Commenting is closed.
  • Jesse Shatto says:

    There is no such thing as humane meat because they go to the same slaughterhouses and there is no need to eat it.But with that said I am making the transition to veganism slowly I already stopped beef and ice cream.Go Vegan.

  • Curious says:

    I just recently stopped eating meat because I was hearing about the inhumane was animals were being treated before they became my meat. I decided I would not eat mear until I have done a full research on why it is wrong to eat meat and as I’m doing research I am finding it harder and harder to eat meat. It is awful the animals are treated.

  • Animal Welfare Org says:

    Hi, I’ve eaten meat for 52 years and suddenly stopped due to the horror of all the meat production process. I will NEVER eat meat again! In the big picture it is unacceptable from an ethical viewpoint and unviable from a sustainability and health viewpoint. Also, religious slaughter such as Halal and Kosher should be banned immediately. It is wanton cruelty in the name of their God. I make no apology for my views due to my research. It’s not hard to go vegetarian and you can go a long way towards Veganism if you just try. The more people who see the real truth, the more people will be motivated to change. Then we will witness a paradigm shift that the animals and the planet and humanity desperately needs before big problems manifest. I don’t think we even have 20 years until we have to stop meat production. Regards, AWO

  • mimi says:

    I have a question for everyone. can you tell the differences between beef, pork and chicken meat? how about human? just saying because you don’t know what restaurants serve nowadays…are you sure those are cows, pigs and chickens?

  • joan says:

    ‘The Greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated.’Mahatma Gandhi.I’am disappointed with factory farmed animal abuse that is allowed in the USofA.Sickening,God does not like people that mistreat animals.

  • Francesca says:

    Let’s agree that our main objective should be to reduce and eventually eliminate the suffering of animals. By advocating for humane meat, and strict standards for raising and slaughtering animals, we have a chance of converting consumers away from industrial meat. Most people see vegans as extremists, then tune out their message, being unprepared to even consider giving up meat. But millions of people would probably be open to switching to consuming animal products that were produced more kindly and to even reduce their overall use without becoming vegan. Peta peels away support from people like me who see “humane meat” as a gateway to eventual elimination of CAFOs and Big Ag. Vegans should be applauding people who are making steps in the right direction rather than criticizing them as not good enough. I live in Northern California surrounded by small farmers and food artisans, most of whom represent the best practices when it comes to animal husbandry. These are honest and caring people who are more likely to persuade mainstream consumers to change their behavior than are people with an all-or-nothing message. I am grateful for Peta, but please stop criticizing those who are trying to reduce animal suffering while being realistic about the challenges that involves.

  • 4whitey says:

    Three months into his experimental diet, Arian Foster, felt the same way I did 12 years ago when I tried to go vegetarian….he just felt the natural, insatiable desire for some meat (well chicken that is). I applaud PETA for their efforts to make animals lives more humane, and to promote veganism, but I have come to the conclusion that it just isn’t as easy or plausible for all people. I wish I could eat vegan but I just cant pull it off. So I try to minimize my consumption of meat and source it from less harmful, cruel farms. For all you vegans out there, my hat is off to you. “Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances of survival for life on earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.” – Albert Einstein, physicist, Nobel Prize 1921

  • Alfredo Kuba says:

    How can any one in good conscience defend what is nothing else but the cold blooded murder of a sentient, peaceful being just to satisfy the most trivial of things, taste? Humans are a mad species, devouring the flesh and blood of innocent creatures, dying from it and destroying the planet to satisfy its blood thirst and gluttonous appetite and choosing it over healthier, non cruel alternatives. Humans sicken me.

    • madeofmeat says:

      You are human. I am human. The person who wrote this is human. If you hate ppl as much those “farmers” are cruel to the animals, you are defeating the purpose. People really are in a dream-state and unaware. They block things out and lie to themselves. Have compassion and raise awareness. Spreading hate and anger is self – defeating.

  • MrMiss says:

    The way I see it, all of these animals are going to die anyways. Everybody outside of PETA/being a vegan greatly outweigh the meat eaters of the world (and always will), so they will continue to breed and kill them. I find meat delicious and a major part of my diet. If I denied myself something I enjoy and is completely natural (I’m an omnivore for crying out loud), I’d be better of dead. However, I completely 100% advocate for reform of slaughtering. Pointless suffering of animals is a silent tragedy. I hope you all continue to fight for that. My last point: The animal is dead anyways. There will never be a 100% vegan world. Why not at least eat animals that were treated properly in their lifetime? How is that bad at all? Wouldn’t that only encourage these corporations to continue down that path?

  • Jo jo wats says:

    Well, first of all we are the intelligent species, wolves have not evolved to that intelligence yet. Death is evident period, but how death occurs should be up to nature, unless an animal is suffering and dying; as the smart ones and compassionate species we don’t let animals suffer. Let wolves and such consume their natural diet, but,as intelligent humans we have evolved past being carnivores. It’s a fact that meat Is bad for us.. It requires our bodies to use so much more energy to digestif, and takes so long to digest that it sits in our intestines. Our meat in the US is full of growth HORMONES and ANTIBIOTICS. would you take those chemicals in a pill form if I laid them out for you each day? Meat is full of saturated fats, chelesterol and the protein you get from it can be acquired by eating other much healthier foods. Milk had mucus and that causes our bodies sugar to rise thus triggering the storage of fat. We can get all of our nutrients and minerals from eating vegetables, fruits, nuts and whole grains. But, watch those GMO’s now! Honestly, would you eat the meat if YOU had to kill it to eat it? Haven’t we moved past killing animals for food when it actually causes cancer and does not do one good thing for our body? Plus, isn’t dead flesh unappetizing to you?

  • Cami says:

    Animal abuse sucks. Factory farms suck for both people and animals: The animal lives a horrible life and dies a horrible death. The humans who eat it consume all of the horrible things that animal consumed. I believe that there is humane meat, however. I eat meat and animal products. I think it’s healthy and natural, if you raise your meat in a natural way. My family buys a half cow or so every six months from a local farmer. I’ve personally been to it: The animals all graze freely, receive veterinary care, and have clean and spacious stalls for inclement weather and night time. Calves are not snatched from their mothers. Cattle are slaughtered as ordered, as quickly as possible, and not in front of other animals. I buy my milk from the same farm, and I have to say, it tastes better than any mass-produced milk. I buy my yoghurt, cheese, honey, and eggs from a farmer’s market down the street. It costs more, but it’s better for me and better for animals. There are humane animal products. We just need to be willing to sacrifice some of our own convenience and cash for the sake of it. Feeding everyone from local farms is practical: We need to care more, waste less, and support those who try to do the right thing.

  • Kathleen says:

    animals in the wild need meat to survive, we don’t people who eat meat are to consumed by themselves to care about any other creatures that we share this earth with, and have no respect for God’s beautiful creations. Nobody is asking you to adopt 5 dogs or protest, not eating meat is so simple

  • i eat rabbits says:

    if eating other animals isn’t natural, then why do carnivores exist? suddenly wolves feel shunned by peta.

  • Jes says:

    I don’t think it is natural for humans to go without meat. and it is unrealistic to try and advocate for a vegan world. i think vegans and vegetarians are simply protesting rather than providing a solution. there must be a alternate solution. the co-operation and a communal way of purchasing meat is a better solution. that way we are not totally disconnected with the lives of animals. the meat will be more appreciated and even taste better. it might sound cruel to vegans or PETA, but i think we should accept ourselves and our needs and desires. there are definitely humane ways to treat animals. we just got to educate people and make them realise treating animals better will not only be better for the animal but for humans ourselves.

  • Dan says:

    “We’re just like wolves, but smarter.” This is an oversimplification. First, a wolf has no morals. It has evolved to be an efficient predator. It cannot grow its vegetables and might not be able to survive on that diet. When it kills, it kills a free animal and the death is brutal and deliberate. Humans by contrast castrate, brand, debeak, dehorn and pen animals. We use our advanced intellect to exploit and completely dominate a lesser species. We do not let these animals live free and we do not let these animals live long. I have no idea how long a cow could live, but I sure its more than the 1-2 years we allow before killing it. Yes humans are animals, but is that your standard for ethics? “Well animals do this, so why shouldn’t we”. Humans are capable of so much more, but we are held back by people like you.

  • Artemis says:

    If we didn’t mass produce these animals there wouldn’t be an over population. It would be a simple matter of stop breeding them for a few years.

  • lala gul says:

    be afraid of ALLAH, o ullu peaople what are you thinking? are you want once again the time of hazrat MUSES A.S when u bani asareel was eating animals in there foodes

  • Peskatarian(yesmicrosoftitsaword) says:

    I’m a weak veggie, and I think that if I knew all my food was coming from a farm where animals were treated humanly I would eat it. But there are so many cruel slaughter houses!

  • Onyx says:

    Logic, your logic is flawed. How can you possibly believe a loving God put animals on the earth to be slaughtered and eaten? He could do anything…and he gave us thousands and thousands of PLANTS including fruits, vegetables, oily nuts, seeds, berries, and grains. Why would a loving God make it necessary for us to kill other living creatures? I don’t believe he intended us to eat and kill animals. By they way…..people who have tasted human flesh say it is tasty too, kind of sweet, so your tastebuds don’t really have any morals. It’s your brain and soul that is supposed to rule your actions, not your tastebuds and stomach or anything else. In fact the bible talks about fasting to wean you off your worldly desires.

  • Garrett says:

    if humans stop killing animals for meat consumption what will…? sooner then later over population will take place, what do we do with the over populated animals? let them roam free and die of natural causes? what happens when we run out of room for all the free animals that we cant find a place for? your guess is as good as mine! then pretty soon neither animals nor humans can find enough veggies to eat, then its a competition for food and, BAM! natural order reinvents its self!

  • Garrett says:

    As humans our population is growing, and I believe we cant afford to loose access to meat. we can replace it with a lot of things but those things also come in supply and demand. kind of like saying “well today everyone stop using oil” there is not enough substitutes to keep us moving…

  • Negi says:

    Without a food chain, we wouldn’t be alive. Animals will eat other animals, and humans TECHNICALLY are animals. While eating vegetables and stuff like that and gaining our protein through other means is a viable option, that doesn’t necessarily mean the workers at the slaughters are heartless sadists who enjoy killing animals for food. Back in our post-evolution stage, we HAD to kill for food. We didn’t have a choice. It was kill or be killed. Yeah it’s different now, but there are some things besides protein that we do need for muscle growth and other health benefits that are important to our everyday lives.

  • samantha slagle says:

    Down here in utah there is something called beefalo. Its free range, it eats what it finds out on the range haha and they look so happy, they live natural lives on his farm and you can even go visit the cows. They are a breed of cow and buffalo and so the meat is extremely lean and delicious. Even though I have been a vegetarian for three years I will eat at his resteraunt 🙂 but no other meats.

  • Natural says:

    I agree with FARMGIRL’s post. We should treat this issue better. Like it was done years ago, before the corporations and idustrial work. We should have our own 4 chickens, 1 cow or sheep or a small farm. We could use the milk and eggs and let the animals die by natural causes if u dont’t want to eat meat. Will u eat your own animal of it dies of natural causes or ilness? OR Do you think u will bury the animal? What is really our fear as humans? We fear to work more? Are we lasy and we delegate the chores to slaughter houses? Can we sustain our home without buying from the supermarket? Can we make our own bread in the house using the flour we have in the backyard alive in wheat?? Can we carry purina for our cow? Is there any space where the cow can actually eat grass? Are we humans becoming cows by eating veggies? Good thing we don’t make milk every day like a cow. What will happen with the milk that cow makes every day? Will the cow suffer from infection due to the milk remaining inside of her? Is the milk resorbable???????? The cow provides milk regardless of pregancy. Lighten me up! We humans cannot live without meat. If we can live only on veggies why do we drink alcohol or cola and other soda? WE need sugar for the brain but can be found in fruits au naturelle not processed in any factory. We don’t need mayonnaise or light mayonnaise or fake mayonnaise, fake yogurt and fake/tofu cheese, diet food, made uo food, invented recipes. It is known that a steak should cover 4-5 hours of satiety. In life we either have the real things or nothing. If we choose the real thing we should grow the wheat ourselves, “chop” the pork in-house with our knife, milk the cow/sheep to make cheese, cream and butter and also grow our own garden/plants/veggies. Eliminate the supermarkets because all fruits and veggies have additives and chemicals. 50 years from now another PETA will say that human are not suppose to eat plants. Then what?

  • khdayskh1314 says:

    PETA can confuse me about its motives but this article finallygot me on what theyre trying to do. But i do believe humane meat exists. The industrial food system is harsh and i hate it. But there are independant farms that arent in factories and slaughter their animals with machines. Even though theyre hard to find, they still exist. Sure some people wouldnt like the idea of eating an animal in the first place but for those concerned meat eaters out there, id like to say that there is such thing as humane meat! The animals that people eat everyday are DOMESTICATED. We didnt force them to be domesticated. They chose it. It was a good choice actually. Their wild ancestors have almost disappeared. Trust me. There are a lot more chickens than wild turkeys out there. So animal liberatipn isnt a realistic idea since if we let them.go theyd just die out. So im just saying that we should FIGHT THE INDUSTRIAL FOOD SYSTEM! 😀 we can end unhumane treatment of animals in factories throughout the world and get businesses to treat animals the way nature tells them to be treated 🙂

  • jooba says:

    THATS IT!!! Im done with meat, what the f##k is wrong with me, im an animal lover and ive been eating meat forever, like i love every animal i come across (even the ugly ones) all have innocent eyes, its a shame it took this website to finally get my head around this disgusting mess. And for anyone whose reading this and laughing or thinks animals are nothing and dont give a shit about their lives or feelings, your pathetic, can u imagine being one of these defencless creatures for 1 minute, u couldnt could u. Man if Jesus or God is to come down again, nows the time, this doesnt have to be, and we wonder why genocides and war happen everyday, why? just total ignorance thats all, to lazy to find another solution but greed and ignorance. One day we will feel the wrath, shame on everyone.

  • logic says:

    the truth is that animals are treated very humanly when they go to the slaughterhouse. pigs getting there tail docked is very quick and doesnt hurt them because it is done when they are very little. it might be me(and alot of others) but why would God put these delicious animals on the plant if we werent suppose to eat them.

  • fortin5710 says:

    Realist–your statement about people who don’t eat meat are more likely to be religious people is absolutly not true. You just pulled that out of thin air. Also, you should proably read up on the facts about Jesus before you say things that make no sense. The book “What Would Jesus Eat” is a great one. Also, if you have ever read the bible, you would have read the verse where God tells us to be stewards of the earth. Factory farms aren’t just bad because of how they treat animals, but also how they effect the environment in such a negetive way. Maybe you should research these things, so that next time you type something you sound a little more informed and less ignorant.