PETA, Animal Advocates Rally Against Misleading ‘Humane Meat’ Labels

Published by Michelle Reynolds.

Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) ends the public comment period on its proposed guidelines for labeling meat “humane.” But as we know, slaughtering animals for the fleeting taste of their flesh is never humane.

So also today, PETA is submitting our petition signed by more than 35,000 supporters urging the USDA not to continue to allow meat companies to slap reassuring and misleading “humane” labels on animal flesh in order to coerce well-meaning consumers into buying it.

We explained the following to the USDA in the cover letter accompanying our petition:

On so-called “humane” farms, animals are often forced to live in the same severely crowded, dark, filthy sheds as animals on other factory farms and they are regularly subjected to industry standards, including painful debeaking, dehorning, and castration. Even most so-called progressive third-party animal-welfare certification programs have no requirement that pigs, chickens raised for meat, or egg-laying hens be given access to the outdoors, and all allow for a percentage of animals to endure extreme cruelty. As seen in PETA’s investigation of a certified pig farm, even where there are standards to help animals, they are commonly ignored. … Even if there were a standard being proposed, the U.S. Department of Agriculture does not inspect farms for the mistreatment of animals.

In addition to our petition, we’re submitting an official comment, together with a coalition of other animal-protection organizations, explaining our opposition to “humane meat” labels, arguing that these proposed guidelines violate the law by helping the meat industry deceive consumers. PETA has also filed a separate comment challenging the USDA’s authority to allow the meat industry to use these claims, since the agency doesn’t regulate or oversee on-farm conduct.

“Without any authority to go onto farms to see for itself how animals are being treated,” says Jared Goodman, the PETA Foundation’s director of animal law, “the USDA has all but guaranteed that it will continue to approve ‘humane’ labels on foods for which portions of birds’ beaks and pigs’ tails were cut off. There’s nothing humane about forcing animals to spend their entire lives indoors without enrichment before being roughly rounded up and loaded onto a truck for a terrifying drive to a slaughterhouse, where they will be violently killed.”

We are fighting misleading “humane” labels on numerous fronts. Please, help spread the word that the only truly humane meal is a vegan one.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind

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