On slaughtering

For many people, knowing how an animal was slaughtered is just as important as knowing how it lived. On this page I’ll soon be presenting an overview of the different processing methods used in animal agriculture. It won’t be detailed information — just the basics.

For now, keep the following points in mind if your definition of “humanely raised” includes humane slaughtering:

  • Two of the four humane certifiers in the U.S. have protocols for slaughtering (Certified Humane and Animal Welfare Approved). You can buy meat with one of their labels if you approve of their slaughtering standards.
  • The animal behavioral scientist Temple Grandin is America’s leading expert on humane slaughtering methods. Her website has lots of technical info on the topic, though it may not help you find humanely slaughtered products. (For that, see next point.)
  • A farmer or food company should be willing to tell you how and where their animals are slaughtered. If not, what are they trying to hide? Always ask for transparency. Talk with farmers at your local farmers’ market. Call or e-mail food companies.