More than 80 percent of Americans feel that it’s important for the animals they eat to be raised “humanely”. And 58 percent of consumers would pay an additional 10 percent or more for meat, poultry, eggs, or dairy products that are labeled “humane.”
Butterball is probably aware that consumers will pay more for so-called “humane” products, because something led the company to start putting an “American Humane Certified” label on its packaging and website a couple years ago, even though it hasn’t offered any details on how its treatment of animals has changed—it simply overhauled its label.
The standards for “humane” turkey farms are nearly the same as standard industry practices. Many “humane” labels still allow farms to cut off turkeys’ toes and the ends of their beaks without any pain relief and keep the birds cramped indoors at all times. The humane label also often appears on packaging despite the deliberate abuse—including kicking and throwing—of turkeys. WTF?!
Adding the “humane” label often just means that meat producers can charge a higher price.
Butterball’s certifying organization, the American Humane Association (AHA), is helping companies like Butterball trick their customers and make more money by adding the “humane” seal to their packaging through their American Humane Certified program (sometimes referred to as Humane Heartland).
The AHA is the same group that puts the “No Animals Were Harmed” certification at the end of films—even when animals have died during production. The organization put this certification on the film The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey even though 27 animals died during the making of the film. One of AHA’s own employees sued the organization, claiming that it willfully allowed animals to be abused and tried to cover it up.
There’s no such thing as “humane meat.” And together, we can keep companies from lying about it. The only way to ensure that animals don’t suffer is by not eating them. With so many delicious alternatives to turkey and cruelty-free Thanksgiving side dishes, it’s easy to have a compassionate holiday.