What is humanely raised meat?
If only humanely raised had a single meaning. Instead, farmers and food companies define it differently, depending on their knowledge and beliefs about animals. Not everyone agrees on what it should mean.
“Wait,” you’re thinking, “I just want to go shopping and know what’s humane. Please tell me!”
I could, but instead try to determine what humanely raised means to you by scanning the options below. Then go buy meat that matches your ethical standards.
First, can we agree?
“Humanely raised” should never mean that:
- Animals were raised in cages
- Animals were raised in tightly crowded barns
- Animals lived without “enrichments” – objects that allow them to express natural behaviors
- Animals were routinely given feed that risked making them sick
Nearly all organizations, individuals, and farmers working for humane agriculture reject these practices. Yet nearly all animals raised for food in America are raised in these ways. Change will only happen as more people (such as yourself) choose alternative products. Consumer demand = change!
What should “humanely raised” mean?
Here are are some options — choose which one feels right to you… OR if you’re curious about a particular kind of meat, check out our pages on beef, poultry, pork, and lamb & goat (coming soon).
These are the most common ways that people define “humanely raised,” but the term can also refer to the raising of breeds that grow slower and more naturally, or to the raising of animals whose tails weren’t docked or whose beaks weren’t trimmed. If you have a definition of “humanely raised” that’s not listed here, write in and I’ll post it on the blog.
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