‘Humane’ Meat: Don’t Believe the Hype

Posted by 3 years ago | Permalink | Comments (21)

“Free-range”. “Grass-fed”. “Humane-certified”. “High-welfare”. “Organic”. We’ve all seen these misleading markers slapped onto the carcasses of dead animals and may even have wanted to believe them – but they all conceal the same exploitation and bloodshed.

These labels appeal to people with uneasy consciences who are looking for excuses not to change their habits. But put simply, treating animals ethically means not ending their lives just to satisfy your preference for a certain flavour of protein. Virtually every animal raised for meat ends his or her life in a terrifying abattoir filled with the stench of death, where they will be shackled, electrocuted or gassed, have their throats sliced open, and sometimes plunged into a tank of scalding water while still conscious and able to feel pain.

Considering the token gestures towards animal welfare on some supposedly ethical farms, PETA founder Ingrid E Newkirk makes this telling analogy: “Yes, kicking the dog six times a week instead of seven is marginally better, but that doesn’t mean that we should go around suggesting that people kick the dog, just not as often, does it?” Giving animals a few extra inches in their prison cells hardly makes up for a lifetime of imprisonment, mutilation and misery, followed by an early death.

It’s also worth remembering that on many farms that call themselves “humane” or “high-welfare”, animals are kept in shockingly cruel conditions. Hillside Animal Sanctuary recently went undercover on a pig farm that is certified under the RSPCA’s “Freedom Foods” scheme. What they found there is the stuff of nightmares: semi-paralysed pigs in clear distress, struggling to get up from the faeces-covered floor of the dark barn that they are kept in.

Here’s their deeply upsetting video footage:

This is hardly the first time that supposedly “high-welfare” farms have been exposed as being anything but. In 2012, for example, an Animal Aid investigation discovered that five meat producers who had won industry awards for being “the best farmers in the country” were guilty of appalling mistreatment of chickens, cows and pigs. This included forcing animals to live in bare enclosures on slatted floors or among piles of their own excrement, leaving dead and dying animals in pens with their living companions, confining sows to farrowing crates too small for them to move around in and cutting off pigs’ tails, thereby causing illness and painful infections. Several of these farms were certified under the Red Tractor or Freedom Foods schemes, adding hypocrisy to the list of their crimes against compassion.

Next time you’re shopping for groceries, please look beyond the label to the animal who was robbed of his or her life to be turned into a piece of meat. If you care about animals at all and want to tuck into your next meal with a clear conscience, make sure it’s a vegan one. A diet based on plants is the only kind in which kindness is truly guaranteed.

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  • Brien Comerford commented on September 9, 2013 at 6:50 pm

    Good blog post. There is no such thing as humane meat. Whenever innocent animals are slaughtered and killed to placate human palates- it’s abhorrent !

    • Wowzers commented on September 13, 2013 at 3:28 pm

      Don’t forget that there’s nothing humane about quasi-vegetarian variants of meat which are a cruel insult to meat!

    • Erin Bailey commented on September 15, 2013 at 3:44 pm

      I agree, and it’s so easy to be mislead by free lange labels.

  • koichi hashimoto commented on September 14, 2013 at 10:01 am


  • Dominic commented on September 19, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    What about halal meat?

  • Andrea commented on September 23, 2013 at 11:05 am

    Dominic, what do you mean, what about halal meat?

    • Karin Nelson commented on October 3, 2013 at 6:26 pm

      Hahal ( and I believe kosher ) are slaughtering practices, religiously based where animals have their throats cut and die slowly as they bleed out, without any pre stunning. It’s a slow, cruel death. Please work to stop it where you live!

  • Andrew Cameron Morris commented on October 3, 2013 at 5:39 pm

    Halal meat, like kosher meat, is meat from an animal which is bled to death rather than killed and then bled. Fundamentalist muslims and jews further insist that the animal must non only be alive, but conscious (though it does not say that in their respective bibles). Scientific tests have shown than bleeding after stunning has exactly the same effect as bleeding while conscious. As far as I know jews do accept that, but many muslims in the UK do, and the majority of halal meat is stunned before bleeding. Of course the whole business of killing for food is barbaric, but vegies and vegans who say that stunning in makes hardly any difference are on a level with the pitiless fundamentalist meat eaters. Watch “This is Halal” on Youtube if you think that killing without stunning is the same as with stunning.

    • Andrew Cameron Morris commented on October 3, 2013 at 5:49 pm

      Sorry, my previous email should read “As far as I know jews do NOT accept that, but many muslims in the UK do, …”

  • chander kumar soni commented on October 3, 2013 at 5:54 pm

    stop this rubbish.

  • Ehrensperger Christina commented on October 3, 2013 at 8:13 pm

    I love animals! We have no right to treat our Brothers & sisters in such a cruel manner! Shame on These farmers!

  • Marie Gilman commented on October 3, 2013 at 9:33 pm

    For those who want to continue to eat meat, I would urgently question why the Red Tractor and Freedom Food Schemes or any other types of certification can be given to such companies that are highlighted in this article. Simply put, it should not be possible for animals to be kept in such tragically bad conditions and still to hold a certificate. There is obviously no ongoing future monitoring taking place. If there were, the certificates would have to be withdrawn. This is grossly misleading, preventing the public from making a proper judgment on their purchases.

  • norma constanza vargas ricaurte commented on October 3, 2013 at 11:10 pm

    luego me preguntan porque no utilizo productos de origen animal

  • munchky commented on October 3, 2013 at 11:45 pm

    In Islam muslims are supposed to consume only halal meat, thats meat from sheep or cows or chickens that were free on a farm, no animal can be beaten or caged or kept in bad conditions and when theyre ready to be taken the person who does it has to say a prayer and its supposed to calm the animal down with Gods help. it would be nice if animals were treated better everywhere but not all meat can be put in one horrible category, you cant tell millions of people that their halal or genuinly organic free range meat eating is horrible because they wont agree, its not black and white, btw thank you for your hard work.

  • Someone commented on October 4, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    Meat cannot be humane, as to get meat there will always be killing in process. Christina is right.
    What does give us the right to treat animals like that?

  • Helena Rice commented on October 4, 2013 at 3:26 pm

    How terrible, poor Gods Creatures ,what a bloody disgrace ,they need closed down ,we need to name and shame them in the local papers, put their faces to the stories let the supermarkets really see whats going on ,would people want to eat the food then with a clear head im disgusted i truly am a animal lover any living creature for that matter .

  • BOYD HORE commented on October 5, 2013 at 12:19 am


  • Laura commented on October 7, 2013 at 2:38 am

    I don’t eat meat but I don’t know if saying that organic meat is no better is the best way to go about it. Obviously there are labels throw onto every product in an attempt to increase market value and these products are unethical. What about the farms who truly do treat the animals well?
    In an ideal world no one would consume animal products. But we don’t live in one.

  • Helga Riekeles commented on October 14, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    Pythagoras said; As long humans kill animals, we will continue to kill ourselves. Thisis some years ago….
    John M. Coetzee, author , received Noble prize of litrature tell us that to eat animals is canibalism. Animals and humans are so alike with tha same qualities of amotians and sensebilities ans moral standard in caring for their children

    Now, christmas is arriving in some months, involving killing of millions of pigs.
    I hav started to hate this barbaric celebration.
    I never say” I do not eat meat”, I say:”I do not eat animals!” This may help people to think?
    Helga Riekeles, Norway.

  • halal butcher commented on April 23, 2014 at 5:32 am

    I agree, and it’s so easy to be mislead by free lange labels.

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