PETA Files USDA Petition Over ‘Humane’ Meat Labels

For Immediate Release:
June 27, 2022

Nicole Meyer 202-483-7382


Armed with piles of evidence that meat sold with “humane” labels is anything but, PETA filed a petition today calling on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) to amend its rules so that it no longer approves claims on labels about how animals were raised.

The FSIS, which does not regulate the on-farm treatment of animals raised for meat, bases its approval of claims like “humanely raised” or “raised in a stress-free environment” on the companies’ own submissions, with no audit or supporting evidence required. As a result, companies can submit claims that are completely false or grossly misleading and still get the FSIS’ stamp of approval—and the financial motivation to do so is high. Studies reveal that 67% of consumers are more likely to purchase items labeled “humanely raised” and that shoppers are willing to spend as much as 30% more on products from companies claiming to treat animals “humanely.”

PETA’s petition points to the following examples of cruelty at companies that make “humane” claims on FSIS-approved labels:

  • At Plainville Farms, a PETA investigator recorded that workers kicked and stomped on scores of turkeys, tried and failed to break their necks, left them on floors to convulse and die in agony, and beat them with a rod.
  • At a hatchery owned by Maple Leaf Farms, the largest duck slaughterer in the U.S., a PETA investigator recorded that a worker dumped still-conscious day-old ducklings into a macerator.
  • At Culver Duck Farm, the second-largest duck slaughterer in the U.S., a whistleblower saw workers slitting ducks’ throats while they were apparently still conscious and a PETA exposé revealed that birds were bludgeoned, decapitated, and kept in ammonia-ridden sheds.

“By signing off on meaningless ‘humane’ labels, the FSIS is giving companies carte blanche to charge more for products that are just as cruel as their ‘conventional’ counterparts,” says PETA Foundation General Counsel for Animal Law Jared Goodman. “The only ‘humane’ meal is a vegan one, and PETA is calling on the FSIS to stop giving the government’s stamp of approval to companies that tell well-intentioned consumers otherwise.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat or abuse in any other way”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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