What Do “Humane Meat” Labels Mean?

Most people don’t want animals to suffer. In fact, studies show that the majority of Americans think the animals they eat should be raised “humanely,” and in a consumer survey, 58 percent of respondents said they would pay more for animal-derived products labeled “humane.”

Meat companies are likely well aware of this and will stop at nothing to trick well-meaning consumers into buying their products labeled as “humane meat.” This form of misleading marketing is often referred to as “humane washing.” 

Undercover investigations from Mercy For Animals and other organizations have revealed time and time again that farms supplying brands with “humane meat” typically raise animals in appalling conditions that most people would never consider “humane.”

Some farms are better than others, but even under the best of circumstances, animals whose flesh will be sold as “humane meat” are still usually forced to endure the same painful mutilations. Workers punch holes in their ears, grind down their teeth, sear off the tips of their beaks, cut out their testicles, burn them with hot brands, or burn or gouge out their sensitive horn tissue—all typically without pain relief. 

Babies are still permanently torn away from their mothers soon after birth, and at the end of their short lives, animals raised for “humane meat” will face the same grueling journey to the slaughterhouse and terrifying death as those without the “humane” certification. 

How do companies get away with using “humane meat” labels?

Many meat companies have been successful in duping customers with humane marketing claims because no government agency regulates the term “humane” for meat. In other words, when meat companies slap this label on their packaging, it doesn’t mean much. Furthermore, could confining innocent beings and then slaughtering them ever really be considered “humane”? 

What You Can Do

While Mercy For Animals always encourages companies to take steps in the right direction and adopt policies that reduce suffering for animals in their supply chains, the only way to be certain what you’re eating is truly humane for animals is to choose plant-based foods. 

We can live happy and healthy lives without harming animals, so why not give plant-based eating a try, and encourage others to do the same?

Check out ChooseVeg.com for great plant-based products, tips, recipes, and more!