The Humane Lie: Animals Want to Die for Us

Hi everyone, my name is Enzo and this is my first article on Madrabbits. I wanted to start out with an issue very dear to my heart: Humanewashing. Humanewashing refers to the ever-more-popular practice in the food industry of labeling animal products as “humane”, “free-range” or “cruelty-free.” The term was coined by The Animal Welfare Institute’s Rachel Mathews in her 2012 report “Humanewashed: USDA Verified Program Misleads Consumers About Animal Welfare Marketing Claims.”

  Firstly, in reference to meat, there is no “humane” way to commit an act of murder. The industry wants you to believe that the animals consumed by humans live happy lives before trotting off to the slaughterhouse gleefully to be killed for our food. This is simply not the case. No animal, human or non, has any desire stronger than the will to live. Every animal wants to live, and every animal should have the right to. The truth is that behind slaughterhouse walls is nothing but abuse, pain, and death.

Secondly, those products advertised as humane are rarely processed differently from conventional methods. The USDA’s Process Verified Program (or PVP) is used to determine if goods reach minimum acceptable quality for labels such as “organic” or “humane.” However, in truth, the PVP does not determine if goods reach USDA standards, only the internal standards of any given corporation itself. This allows corporations to mislead customers to believe the animals in their facilities receive a high standard of care, without legally having to provide anything better than what they see fit. According to Mathews’ report, “The animal welfare programs currently certified by the PVP as “humane” are not materially different from conventional production methods. They allow for intensive indoor confinement of egg-laying hens and meat chickens; ammonia reaching levels known to cause significant respiratory, skin, and eye disease in chickens; the painful debeaking of young chicks; and other inhumane conventional practices.” Sounds pleasant, right?

Whole Foods Markets is one of the largest national offenders in regards to humane-washing. According to the Whole Foods website, they have a five-step system for animal welfare in their farms. The five steps are:

“1. No Cages, No Crates, No Crowding- animals live their lives with space to move around and stretch their legs

2. Enriched Environment- Animals are provided with enrichments that encourage behavior that’s natural to them — like a bale of straw for chickens to peck at, a bowling ball for pigs to shove around, or a sturdy object for cattle to rub against.

3. Enhanced Outdoor Access-Pigs, chickens and turkeys might live in buildings but they all — yes, each and every one of them — have access to outdoor areas.

4. Pasture Centered- When living outdoors, chickens and turkeys get to forage, pigs get to wallow and cattle get to roam.

5. Animal centered- all physical alterations prohibited- the well-being of the animals is the primary focus; efficiency and economy are secondary.”

In theory, this system would provide a higher quality of life for animals than on a conventional factory farm. Unfortunately, this is not the reality.

Activists with Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) conducted an investigation and open rescue of  a Whole Foods Farms, finding conditions deplorable and inhumane by anyone’s standards.
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Mei Hua, a layer hen, was one of the animals rescued from the brutality of Whole Foods. When the DxE activists found Mei, she was left to die in the back of a cage, severely malnourished and unable to move, having survived by eating the massive amounts of feces built up around her in the cage. Mei was close to death, and would not have survived had she not been removed from the environment. I leave you with a question- if that’s how we treat others humanely, what is humanity?