New USDA Petition Aims To Stop ‘Humane’ Meat Labels

PETA says humane meat labels are misleading

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2 Minutes Read

A pig stands on a metal factory farm floor Most farm animals in the US are raised on factory farms - Media Credit: Adobe Stock

A new petition is calling for the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to stop approving claims that animals have been “humanely” raised in the meat industry.

Submitted by PETA to the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), the petition requests that “animal raising claims” are removed from meat products.

PETA notes that the FSIS does not strictly regulate meat company claims. These include claims that animals were “humanely raised” or “raised in a stress-free environment.”

The animal rights charity says the service bases its approvals on the word of the meat company. It does not request further evidence.

By doing so, the FSIS is helping companies to “grossly mislead” consumers, maintains PETA.

Humane labels are ‘meaningless’

According to the organization’s own investigations, it has discovered cruelty at several farms supplying to companies deemed “humane.” One example is a Maple Leaf Farms-owned hatchery.

Maple Leaf Farms is a leading producer of duck products in the US. But, according to PETA, one of its investigators discovered a hatchery worker dumping conscious ducklings into a macerator.

Jared Goodman works as general counsel for animal law for the PETA Foundation. He says the humane labels given by the FSIS are “meaningless.”

He added: “The only ‘humane’ meal is a vegan one. PETA is calling on the FSIS to stop giving the government’s stamp of approval to companies that tell well-intentioned consumers otherwise.”

Consumers are becoming more aware of animal welfare issues in the meat industry. One study, commissioned by World Animal Protection in 2018, found that around 80 percent of consumers in the US were concerned about the treatment of pigs on factory farms.

Another survey found that roughly 75 percent of participants were concerned about chicken welfare. 

This means that meat-eating consumers are more likely to pay attention to “humane” claims. One 2018 survey found that more than 60 percent of Americans would be less likely to buy meat from a company if it had a bad reputation for animal welfare. 

Most animals in the US are not raised well. In fact, an estimated 99 percent of all animal products in the country come from factory farms.

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