We have two thoughts on “humane meat.” First, by any reasonable standard, there is no commercially available meat that approximates anything most of us would call humane; the production of what is called humane meat today involves cruelties that would warrant felony charges were they inflicted on dogs or cats. For example, in almost all cage-free egg production, hens still suffer the painful amputation of their beak tips; they are still prevented from ever going outside, raising their chicks, or fulfilling most of their desires; and they are still crammed into trucks and shipped through all weather extremes to slaughter. They are slaughtered after living only a small fraction of their natural life span — and often in the same slaughterhouses where factory farmed animals are slaughtered. A similar story could be told about “crate-free” veal and almost all other so-called humane animal products. They are perhaps less inhumane, but they are far from humane.
Second, “humane” means “having or showing compassion or benevolence,” and we don’t believe that there is any way to raise and kill animals that shows either virtue. At our sanctuaries, we work extremely hard to protect all farm animals, and we know them as individuals, just like so many Americans know dogs and cats as individuals. For the same reason most Americans wouldn’t think of eating a dog or a cat (and calling it humane), we wouldn’t think of calling the killing of a farm animal for food humane.
To learn more about the truth behind labels, download our brochure The Truth Behind Humane Meat, Milk, and Eggs.
While recognizing that a vegan world is not yet imminent, we continue to work diligently both to promote veganism, and to promote awareness of living and dying conditions for animals who are unable to escape from their current circumstances.
At Farm Sanctuary, we share our lives with chickens, pigs, and other farm animals — and we know them as individuals. In determining our stance on any issue, we ask ourselves, “What’s in the best interest of the animals involved?” The idea of raising animals for food is unacceptable to us, regardless of cage sizes, living conditions, or slaughter methods — just like it would be anathema to most Americans to raise dogs or cats well (or in conditions slightly less awful) only to eat them. Welfare improvements are just that — improvements.
In an ideal world, there would be no need for Farm Sanctuary as it exists today. There would be no factory farms or stockyards. Cows, pigs, chickens, turkeys, sheep, and other species would be free to roam in their pastures, sleep in the sun, scratch at the earth, and enjoy life. Animals in today’s industrialized farms are treated like commodities. They are crowded into warehouses, confined so tightly that they cannot easily walk or even turn around. They are de-beaked, de-toed, and their tails are docked without anesthetic. Their bones break because their bodies have been manipulated to grow so fast that they can’t support their own weight. Factory farm animals are denied fresh air, sun, wholesome food, room to move, and the freedom to exhibit their natural behaviors. This rampant abuse of millions of animals every day is largely invisible to the public.