Rabbit Advocacy Animal Matters



Fallacies associated with animal product labels exposed
Don’t Buy The Myth! www.humanemyth.org   

Ithaca, NY—June 19, 2008 —With growing media attention on the devastating impact large-scale industrialized farming is having on animals and the environment, concerned citizens are seeking alternatives. Labels such as “Certified Humane,” “Cage-free,” “Free-range,” and “Organic” make it seem that those who are willing to pay a higher price can enjoy meat, dairy products, and eggs from small -scale farms that treat animals with respect.

But is the public being mislead? 

Launching today, a new web site called HumaneMyth.org offers expert testimony, educational slide shows, critical analysis, a glossary, and a media database that together challenge the considerable misinformation behind these rapidly proliferating feel-good labels. 

“Any term referring to the supposed ‘humane production’ of animal products is an oxymoron,” says Michelle Alley-Grubb, founder of Peaceful Prairie Sanctuary and one of the experts featured on HumaneMyth.org  “Some of the most egregious cases of animal abuse we have encountered have come from so-called ‘cage-free’ facilities and ‘family’ farms. Many people get upset when they learn the truth and even feel betrayed because respected organizations on whom they relied for accurate information, told them that certain animal products were a ‘humane’ or ‘compassionate’ choice.” 

Some high-profile animal protection organizations are now collaborating with the animal -using industry on campaigns promoting products such as cage-free eggs and “uncrated” veal, and husbandry practices such as controlled atmosphere killing (gassing) of chickens. Meanwhile, our planet is facing an ecological disaster caused in large part by animal agribusiness. According to a recent United Nations report cited on HumaneMyth.org, animal agribusiness is responsible for more greenhouse gas impact than all forms of transportation combined. In fact, environmental degradation and excessive resource consumption are inherent in all styles of animal farming when practiced on the scale needed to feed humanity. 

The HumaneMyth.org web site raises critical thinking questions such as:

Since “humane” animal husbandry requires vastly more land than currently being used, is it realistic or ethical to promote it as sustainable, as there will never be enough land available to feed more than 6 billion humans by using this style of agriculture? Isn't plant -based agriculture the only truly sustainable food source for our rapidly growing human population? If an animal advocacy organization endorses and even certifies an animal product as being humane, effectively promoting consumption of those beings it has pledged to protect, has that organization become entangled in a conflict of interest?

What do words like “welfare” and “humane” really mean? How can we justify applying these concepts so strictly in matters involving humans, and so loosely in matters involving non -human animals? 

HumaneMyth.org offers a wide range of teaching tools that can help any concerned person become an effective educator online and within their community, including informational brochures and introductory slideshows which explore the fallacies associated with products such as “cage -free” eggs and advertising campaigns featuring “happy cows.” Flyers t-shirts, bumper stickers buttons and other outreach tools are also available on the site. 

HumaneMyth.org is sponsored by award-winning filmmakers James LaVeck and Jenny Stein, whose documentaries The Witness (2000) and Peaceable Kingdom: The Journey Home (forthcoming) explore the emerging new ethics of the human-animal relationship. “We are concerned that this ‘Humane Myth ’ being propagated by both the animal using industry and some animal advocacy organizations offers a misleading portrait of the confinement, social deprivation, mutilation, reproductive manipulation, indignity and premature death endured by animals being exploited for profit. We also feel that many of those involved are minimizing or failing to reveal the full impact on human health, wildlife and our environment that is going to result from the continuing production and consumption of animal -based foods. Therefore, we have joined with other advocates and educators to correct the misinformation that is associated with the Humane Myth, and to inspire a form of working for the peaceful transformation of our society that fully respects the inherent dignity and worth of animals and people alike.”

Animal Person: Grandin and Niman Launch New "Humane" Seal

Thanks to Bea for directing me, unfortunately, to "Meating Place" (courtesy of the "American Association of Meat Processors: Serving the Meat Industry Since 1939"). Here's the entire press release, dated 2/11/09:

Temple Grandin, renowned designer of humane livestock handling facilities, is launching a new certification program that evaluates both sustainable and humane practices, according to a statement issued by Niman Ranch, which helped Grandin develop the program. Starting in August 2009, companies that wish to carry the certification seal will be audited on 21 core principles which must be met by all farmers and ranchers receiving certification. The 21 core principles include the following:

Animals must be given the opportunity to care for, interact with, and nurture their young. In the case of swine, farrowing crates are not allowed.

Practices must be implemented that prevent soil loss or degradation in production areas, minimizes unacceptable or unintended poor air quality for family, workers, and neighbors, and prevents water quality degradation of surface and groundwater resources.

Animals must be fed a 100 percent vegetarian diet and have a feeding plan that will guarantee a sufficient, well-balanced diet to appropriately meet their nutritional needs at their stage in life and maintain required Body Condition Scores. Animals shall have access to their feed as long as is necessary for them to satisfy their nutrient requirements.

Pasture and/or bedding are the preferred environments. To qualify as pasture, 75 percent or more of the land occupied by livestock in this program must have vegetation with a root system.

With the core principles completed, Grandin and Niman Ranch are now in the process of developing separate guidelines for each species of animals, as well as an auditing plan.

Niman Ranch said it plans to be one of the first companies to be audited to carry the certification seal for their humanely and sustainably raised natural beef, pork, lamb and chicken. "Using animals for food is fine, but we've got to do it the right way. This program provides farmers and ranchers a practical and affordable way to give animals a decent life and minimize the impact on our environment at the same time," Grandin said in the statement.

"Using animals for food is fine, but we've got to do it the right way." Says who? The woman who designs ways to kill them.

Way back in March of 2007, I wrote "Cognitive Dissonance at the Niman Ranch," and I maintain that the use of the word "humane" is absurd. Sure, you can make little changes here and there and you will, perhaps, make the lives of the animals you are dominating and exploiting and slaughtering a tad better. But it's insulting to them, and to the public, to sell this concept by misusing the word "humane." Maybe it's "less hideous," but I'm not even sure if that's true given why they were brought into the world and what their end will be. The nature of doublespeak is that if you use it and use it confidently, long enough, 2 + 2 will indeed = 5.

Our job is to stop each person in their tracks when the word "humane" is used, and remind them of what is going on in the name of "humane."

HSUS Files Complaint Against "Humane" Egg Farms


June 23, 2010  Mac McDaniel - Care2


The problem that comes along as animal rights ideologies expand into the mainstream is that companies will inevitably look for a way to capitalize and profit from our most generous and kindest instincts. The more that the public becomes aware of the horrors of factory farming and modern industrial animal agriculture, the wider the chasm becomes between the two (loosely speaking) "solutions" to the problem.

There are those who have seen the plight of animals as indicative of a larger philosophical problem: that humans cannot view animals simply as resources or products and that we must recognize their right to exist, to live without pain or human interference. These people adopt a Vegan lifestyle because it is the natural first step to combating the use of animals as products.

Humane Watching

The other idea is to simply try to find a better, more ethical way to use animals as products. As the Vegan population is growing, there is also a growing market for "kinder" products such as free range meat, cage-free eggs, etc. There is a term for this phenomenon.  It's called "humane washing", advertising products as morally acceptable on the basis that the animals in question were treated kindly.

The idea of a humane animal product is a contradiction in terms, as evidenced most recently by The Humane Society's complaint to the Federal Trade Commission against Rose Acre Farms. Rose Acre Farms, the nation's second largest egg producer, has been making claims that their eggs are produced in idyllic conditions, with their hens able to roam as they please, socialize, and scratch and peck to their heart's content. The halcyon picture painted by Rose Acre Farms however has turned out to be nothing but a marketing ploy to sell factory-farmed eggs to a public that is increasingly concerned with the treatment of animals.

According to the complaint filed by the HSUS, their undercover investigation found "birds trapped in the wires of battery cages, unable to reach food or water, birds with broken bones and untreated, prolapsed uteruses, the mummified corpses of hens in cages with live hens, and abandoned hens that had fallen into manure pits." The complaint asks that the FTC take action to force Rose Acre Farms to cease their advertising which the HSUS calls "deceiving".

For years the industry didn't want consumers to know how farm animals were treated, and now that the public knows about the conditions in factory farms there is an attempt to assuage consumers' guilt through advertising. One thing to do if you care about animal suffering is not to buy into advertising claims from the people who make money off of animal suffering; instead, go vegan.

August 16, 2014 “Hoofin It” With HSUS

Comment: Being vegan is the only choice that aligns one’s values — the opposition to cruelty and killing — with one’s actions. Those who eat meat and other animal products are undeniably mass killers, guilty of causing unnecessary death to innocent beings to please one’s palate.

June 22, 2016 Inhumane Society: Animal Advocacy’s Capitalist Apostle - John Sanbonmatsu    “A lie travels halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes…” 

Codes of Practice fail to protect farm animals; NFACC Reports; Timelines & updates; NFAHWC; Maple Lodge inhumanity, misleads consumers, complaint filed; BC chicken farms sadistic cruelty 2017; Fraser Valley hens buried, trapped in feces 2018

"Victories" for animals

October 3, 2011 Chilcotin Harvest: Meat Recall; humane washing

March 2012 USDA's Process Verified Program comes under fire

Be sure to visit our Ethics & Animal Law pages for related information.