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In response to: 
“It’s OK to eat animals that have been treated well—I only eat certified humane, pasture-raised, cage-free, free-range products.”

Article

People are becoming increasingly concerned about the welfare of animals used for food. This concern is spawned by undercover videos, social-media postings, documentary movies, and reporting by the press.

Some people hope to act on that concern by buying products that bear one of the humane-certification labels or that brandish some other designation, such as cage freefree-rangegrass fed, or organic, thinking that such purchases cause little or no harm to the individuals whose flesh and secretions have been packaged for sale.

First, we explain why  even if specific humane claims are true  using animals for food is still not humane. Because using animals for food is still not humane, it’s not necessary to show that the humane-sounding labels and certifications are misleading. But we do so anyway just so there can be no doubt. We also reveal that cruel practices are systemic to the process of using animals for food.

After the evidence is presented, it’s easy to conclude that these labels have little to do with the well-being of the animals but are designed to at once assuage our guilt and compel us to spend more.

Animals are harmed by depriving them of their lives.

Research by cognitive ethologists and neurobiologists has confirmed that the animals we exploit for food, including fish, have desires, preferences, and emotions. They have a sense of themselves, a sense of the future, and a will to live. They have families, social communities, and natural behaviors.1Bekoff, Mark, Colin Allen, and Gordon Burghardt. The Cognitive Animal: Empirical and Theoretical Perspectives on Animal Cognition. A Bradford Book, 2002

In these ways and others, they are like us, and what happens to them matters to them. They each have an inherent value apart from their usefulness to us. So even if humane-sounding labels were aboveboard, using animals for food is still not humane because we are depriving them of the only life they have and a life they value.

This is true no matter how the killing is done, and it is true not only for animals used for meat but also for animals used for dairy products and eggs. Those used for dairy and eggs, like those used for meat, are slaughtered very early in their lives. They are slaughtered when their reproductive systems are used up and they are no longer profitable. None of the animals we use for food are allowed to live out their lives.

Taking the life of anyone who wants to live is to harm that individual, regardless of their species. Just as we would not consider killing for food humane if it were done to dogs, cats, or humans, then by any measure of fairness and justice, it is not humane when done to other sentient beings.

Humane slaughter is an oxymoron. Humane means showing compassion or benevolence. To slaughter is to kill or butcher someone who does not want to die. Slaughter is a violent act, not an act of compassion or benevolence.

Humane-sounding labels and certifications are mostly meaningless.

Here we address the most common labels and certifications. Some labels and certifications cover some forms of abuse, and others cover different forms of abuse, but none address all forms of abuse. But even if they did, the standards are often not enforced.

Free-Range. The USDA standard for free-range requires only that chickens are given some access to the outdoors. There are no stipulations for the size or quality of the outdoor space, and there is no requirement that the chickens actually spend time outdoors.2“FSIS.” Food Safety Inspection Service, USDA, http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/food-labeling/meat-and-poultry-labeling-terms Also, the claim does not have to be verified through inspections.3“What Does ‘Free Range’ Mean?” Greener Choices | Consumer Reports, April 25, 2017. http://greenerchoices.org/2017/04/25/free-range/

So it’s not surprising that investigations by Consumer Reports (and others) reveal that most chickens labeled free-range spend their lives confined inside a crowded chicken house. The free-range space itself may be nothing more than an enclosed concrete slab that the chickens never use. These individuals lack the room even to turn around, much less engage in their natural behaviors of preening, nesting, foraging, dust bathing, and perching.4“What Does ‘Free Range’ Mean?” Greener Choices | Consumer Reports, April 25, 2017. http://greenerchoices.org/2017/04/25/free-range/

This has led Consumer Reports to say that “‘free range is one of the most potentially misleading labels because of the discrepancy between what it implies and what is required to make the claim.”5“What Does ‘Free Range’ Mean?” Greener Choices | Consumer Reports, April 25, 2017. http://greenerchoices.org/2017/04/25/free-range/

Cage Free. Consumer Reports advises you to “ignore cage-free claims” for chickens.6“A ‘Cage-Free’ Claim: Does It Add Value?” Greener Choices |Consumer Reports, March 5, 2018 http://greenerchoices.org/2018/03/05/cage-free-add-value/ “‘Cage-free’ does not mean the chickens had access to the outdoors.” It only means the chickens were not confined to a cage.7What Does ‘Cage Free’ Mean?” Greener Choices | Consumer Reports, February 6, 2017. http://greenerchoices.org/2017/02/06/cage-free-mean/

Cage free chickens, like free-range chickens, may be confined not by a cage but by crowding so extreme that turning around and engaging in those previously mentioned natural behaviors of preening, nesting, foraging, dust bathing, and perching is difficult or impossible. Such extreme crowding in large metal warehouses is the norm, with each chicken allowed less than a square foot of space.8ibid.

Pasture Raised. According to Consumer Reports, “government agencies have no common standard that producers have to meet to make a ‘pasture raised’ claim on a food label, no definition for ‘pasture,’ and no requirement for the claim to be verified through on-farm inspections.”9“Pasture Raised” Greener Choices | Consumer Reports, April 4, 2017, http://greenerchoices.org/2017/04/26/pasture-raised/

Grass Fed. The USDA-regulated grass fed label in the United States requires that the bovine is fed grass their entire life. The designation has only to do with feeding and does not prohibit routine cruelties, such as dehorning, castration, confinement, harsh living conditions, rough handling, and lack of veterinary care.

Enforcement is weak,10“Labeling Guideline on Documentation Needed to Substantiate Animal Raising Claims for Label Submissions.” USDA FSIS, n.d. https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/bf170761-33e3-4a2d-8f86-940c2698e2c5/Label-Approval-Guide.pdf?MOD=AJPERES and the animals are still slaughtered at an early age.11Whisnant, DVM, Patricia. “FAQ Grass Fed Beef.” American Grass Fed Beef (blog). Accessed October 25, 2018. https://www.americangrassfedbeef.com/faq-grass-fed-beef.asp

Organic. Some have the perception that organic means humanely raised, but that is not the case. Organic farmers are free to treat their animals no better than non-organic farmers. This is because the USDA, which controls the organic label in the United States, ruled that the label does not allow “broadly prescriptive, stand-alone animal welfare regulations.”12Whoriskey, Peter. “Should ‘USDA Organic’ Animals Be Treated More Humanely? The Trump Administration Just Said No.” Washington Post, December 15, 2017. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/12/15/should-usda-organic-animals-be-treated-more-humanely-the-trump-administration-just-said-no/

Consumer Reports informs us that while there are organic standards relating to animals, they lack clarity and precision, letting producers with poor standards sell poultry and eggs.13“Do You Care about Animal Welfare on Organic Farms?” Greener Choices | Consumer Reports, February 6, 2018. http://greenerchoices.org/2018/02/06/care-animal-welfare-organic-farms/

Certified Humane Raised and Handled. Consumer Reports says that “we do not rate Certified Humane as a highly meaningful label for animal welfare, because the standards do not have certain requirements that a majority of consumers expect from a ‘humanely raised’ label, such as access to the outdoors.”14“Certified Humane Raised and Handled.” Consumer Reports  Greener Choices | Consumer Reports, January 30, 2017. http://greenerchoices.org/2017/01/30/certified-humane/

Whole Foods’s Global Animal Partnership (GAP) Certified. The Open Philanthropy Project criticized GAP for having weak enforcement and for providing only slight improvements over standard factory farming conditions.15“Global Animal Partnership.” Open Philanthropy Project, March 26, 2016. https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/us-policy/farm-animal-welfare/global-animal-partnership-general-support  For example, according to Consumer Reports, “standards for slaughter do not exist at any level for chickens and there is no limit on their rate of growth.”16“Global Animal Partnership Step 5+.” Greener Choices | Consumer Reports, May 23, 2017. http://greenerchoices.org/2017/05/23/global-animal-partnership-step-5/

GAP doesn’t even publish standards for dairy cows, arguably the most abused of any of the farmed mammals.

American Humane Certified. According to Consumer Reports, “the requirements fall short in meeting consumer expectations for a ‘humane’ label in many ways.”17“American Humane Certified.” Consumer Reports  Greener Choices | Consumer Reports, January 11, 2017. http://greenerchoices.org/2017/01/11/american-humane-certified/

United Egg Producers Certified. Consumer Reports says that while the label is verified, “it is not meaningful as an animal welfare label because certain basic conditions, such as the freedom to move, are not required.”18“United Egg Producers Certified.” Greener Choices | Consumer Reports, March 23, 2017. http://greenerchoices.org/2017/03/23/united-egg-producers-certified/

USDA Process Verified. According to Consumer Reports, Process Verified claims can be written by the manufacturers themselves  and the claims do not have to be meaningful to the welfare of the animals.19“USDA Process Verified.” Greener Choices | Consumer Reports, March 7, 2017. http://greenerchoices.org/2017/03/07/usda-process-verified/

Animal Welfare Approved. This is the only certification that Consumer Reports says has strong standards, yet the standards still allow for mutilations20“Animal Welfare Approved.” Greener Choices |Consumer Reports, November 16, 2016. http://greenerchoices.org/2016/11/16/awa-label-review/ and other injustices. Also, products with this label are challenging to find. A search using their own product finder reveals that it’s unlikely you will find any products with this label at a grocery store near you.21“Find Products.” A Greener World. Accessed October 4, 2018. https://agreenerworld.org/shop-agw/product-search/

Certified Sustainable Seafood. Sustainability has nothing to do with the treatment of the fish. Fish typically die of suffocation because they are left in the air, or they die by having their throats slit while they are alive. Although our concern for fish is typically less than it is for other animals, research in cognitive ethology and neurobiology reveals that fish show intelligence, feel pain, display emotions, and have many of the other characteristics of the land animals we use for food.22Balcombe, Jonathan. What a Fish Knows: The Inner Lives of Our Underwater Cousins. Scientific American / Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2016.

Not only that, but the sustainability claim itself is suspect. In a piece titled “Is Sustainable-Labeled Seafood Really Sustainable?” NPR reports that scientists and other experts believe fisheries are being certified that should not be. In addition, fish are being incorrectly counted, rendering the claims of sustainability doubtful.23“Is Sustainable-Labeled Seafood Really Sustainable?” NPR.org, February 11, 2013. https://www.npr.org/2013/02/11/171376509/is-sustainable-labeled-seafood-really-sustainable

Backyard Chickens. Although backyard chickens are not associated with a certification or label like the others that we are covering here, they deserve a closer look. A considerable number of people regard the practice of keeping chickens in the backyard for food as innocuous. These backyard chickens are of the same or similar variety as those on industrial farms  the very farms that account for most of the cruelties outlined below.

Baby chicks often die in transport. A quick search will find numerous reports of chicks being shipped alive to backyard hobbyists and dying in transport  and reports of those that make it being greatly stressed.

Backyard chickens, like those on industrial farms, have been selectively bred, which stresses their bodies. Here are just a few examples out of many:

  • Laying hens are bred to lay large eggs, which stresses their reproductive systems and causes such problems as osteoporosis, bone breakage, and uterus prolapse.24Jamieson, Alastair. “Large Eggs Cause Pain and Stress to Hens, Shoppers Are Told,” March 11, 2009, sec. Finance. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/retailandconsumer/4971966/Large-eggs-cause-pain-and-stress-to-hens-shoppers-are-told.html
  • Another stressor for laying hens is the number of their eggs, which is the result of selective breeding. A laying hen produces more than 300 eggs a year, but the jungle fowl from which they are bred lay 4 to 6 eggs in a year.25Cheng, H.-W. “Breeding of Tomorrow’s Chickens to Improve Well-Being.” Poultry Science 89, no. 4 (April 1, 2010): 805–13. https://doi.org/10.3382/ps.2009-00361
  • Chickens used for meat have been bred to grow at an unnaturally fast rate and have large breasts. This selective breeding comes with serious welfare consequences: leg disorders; skeletal, developmental, and degenerative diseases; heart and lung problems; respiratory problems; and premature death.26Stevenson, Peter. “Leg and Heart Problems in Broiler Chickens.” Compassion in World Farming, January 2003. https://www.ciwf.org.uk/media/3818898/leg-and-heart-problems-in-broilers-for-judicial-review.pdf
  • In the hatcheries from which backyard chicken hobbyists order baby chicks, the males are either ground alive in macerators, gassed, or smothered to death soon after they are hatched. This is because the laying hens are selectively bred for producing eggs, not meat, rendering the males useless for their intended purpose.27Blakemore, Erin. “Egg Producers Pledge More Humane Fate for Male Chicks.” Smithsonian, June 13, 2016. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/egg-producers-pledge-more-humane-fate-male-chicks-180959394/
  • Backyard hens are likely to be slaughtered when egg production wanes, preventing them from living out their natural lives. As one hobbyist euphemistically put it, “when the expenses outweigh the value, then changes have to be made.”28“At What Age Do You Kill a Laying Hen?” BackYard Chickens. Accessed November 2, 2018. https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/at-what-age-do-you-kill-a-laying-hen.837302/

Cruelty and suffering are systemic in using animals as commodities for profit.

The abuses inflicted on farmed animals are many and often severe, and they’re part of the normal operations of exploiting animals for food. These abuses include confinement, crowding, mutilation, deprivation of natural behaviors, debilitating selective breeding, cruel handling, separation from their offspring, and, of course, slaughter.

Because many of the abuses are systemic, they cannot be humanely-labeled away. To be profitable, animal agriculture depends on animals being mistreated. For any label or certification to omit all animal abuses would render the products unaffordable by all but the most affluent.

The cruelty stems in part from the attitudes that surround the commodification of animals, as exemplified by a piece in Hog Management, which recommends that farmers “forget the pig is an animal  treat him just like a machine in a factory.”29Prescott, Matthew. “Your Pig Almost Certainly Came from a Factory Farm, No Matter What Anyone Tells You – The Washington Post,” July 15, 2014. https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2014/07/15/your-pig-almost-certainly-came-from-a-factory-farm-no-matter-what-anyone-tells-you/

Here are a few specific examples of cruelty not covered earlier. These are allowed under many, if not most, labels and certifications.

  • The early separation of calves from their mothers, depriving the calves of the love and milk of their mothers and depriving the grieving cow of her nurturing instinct30University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna. (2015, April 28). Early separation of cow and calf has long-term effects on social behavior. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 26, 2018 from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/04/150428081801.htm
  • Painful debeaking of chickens, depriving them of their ability to engage in preening and foraging31Welfare Implications of Beak Trimming.” American Veterinary Medical Association, February 7, 2010. https://www.avma.org/KB/Resources/LiteratureReviews/Pages/beak-trimming-bgnd.aspx^^“UPC Factsheet – Debeaking.” United Poultry Concerns, Inc. Accessed March 28, 2018. https://www.upc-online.org/merchandise/debeak_factsheet.html
  • Forcing a hesitant animal to move by any methods necessary, including whipping, prodding, dragging, and forklifting (the evidence for this can be seen in numerous videos and the several firsthand accounts in the book Slaughterhouse by Gail A. Eisnitz)
  • The dehorning of cows, which one professor of animal science calls “the single most painful thing we do,”32Dehorning: ‘Standard Practice’ on Dairy Farms,” ABC News, January 28, 2010, done via acid, burning, sawing, or cutting with a gigantic clipper33M’hamdi, Naceur, Cyrine Darej, and Rachid Bouraoui. “Animal Welfare Issues Concerning Procedures Of Calves Dehorning.” Department of Animal Sciences, National Institute of Agronomy of Tunisia and Hiher School of Agriculture of Mateur, Bizerte, Tunisia, 2013
  • The clipping of teeth and tails of piglets, a painful procedure usually performed without medication and which may also result in infections, tumors, and the suppression of natural behaviors34“Welfare Implications of Teeth Clipping, Tail Docking and Permanent Identification of Piglets.” American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), July 15, 2014. https://www.avma.org/KB/Resources/LiteratureReviews/Pages/Welfare-implications-of-practices-performed-on-piglets.aspx 

Humane-sounding labels and certifications may be best thought of as marketing.

The animal agriculture industry is aware of the growing concern for animals and know that if they appear to be uncaring, sales and profits will decline. They also know that few will examine these humane-sounding claims to see if they are true. So these labels and certifications give the appearance of being humane, assuaging the guilt of compassionate buyers.

They may also engender higher profits, because the industry also knows that concerned, kindhearted consumers are willing to pay more for products they perceive to be humanely produced.

You cannot buy products made from animals that have been treated humanely.

Even if you buy into the idea that it’s OK to eat animal products as long as the animals are treated well, there is virtually no chance that the animals have, in fact, been treated well, regardless of what label is on the package. While certain labels may represent less suffering for some of the abuses, other abuses remain. The mitigation of some of the cruelties does not justify the remaining ones.

As we have shown and as exposed via Consumer Reports and other sources, the standards for these humane-sounding labels are weak and they often go unenforced.

The life of any farmed animal can only be described as one of commodified, abusive servitude ending in brutal slaughter. When viewed objectively, free from the fog of our cultural norms, their treatment and slaughter, no matter the label or certification  and by any standard of fairness and justice  cannot be considered humane.

Outline

 Talking Points OutlineKnowledge Base
  • Context.
    • People are becoming increasingly concerned about the welfare of animals used for food. This concern is spawned by undercover videos, social-media postings, documentary movies, and reporting by the press.
    • Some people hope to act on that concern by buying products that bear one of the humane-certification labels or that brandish some other designation, such as cage freefree-rangegrass fed, or organic, thinking that such purchases cause little or no harm to the individuals whose flesh and secretions have been packaged for sale.
    • First, we explain why  even if specific humane claims are true  using animals for food is still not humane. Because using animals for food is still not humane, it’s not necessary to show that the humane-sounding labels and certifications are misleading. But we do so anyway just so there can be no doubt. We also reveal that cruel practices are systemic to the process of using animals for food.
    • After the evidence is presented, it’s easy to conclude that these labels have little to do with the well-being of the animals but are designed to at once assuage our guilt and compel us to spend more.
  • Animals are harmed by depriving them of their lives.
    • Research by cognitive ethologists and neurobiologists has confirmed that the animals we exploit for food, including fish, have desires, preferences, and emotions. They have a sense of themselves, a sense of the future, and a will to live. They have families, social communities, and natural behaviors.35Bekoff, Mark, Colin Allen, and Gordon Burghardt. The Cognitive Animal: Empirical and Theoretical Perspectives on Animal Cognition. A Bradford Book, 2002
    • In these ways and others, they are like us, and what happens to them matters to them. They each have an inherent value apart from their usefulness to us.
    • So even if humane-sounding labels were aboveboard, using animals for food is still not humane because we are depriving them of the only life they have and a life they value.
    • This is true no matter how the killing is done, and it is true not only for animals used for meat but also for animals used for dairy products and eggs. Those used for dairy and eggs, like those used for meat, are slaughtered very early in their lives. They are slaughtered when their reproductive systems are used up and they are no longer profitable. None of the animals we use for food are allowed to live out their lives.
      • Details: Age of Animals Slaughtered vs. Natural Life Span.
        • Note
          • The equivalent human age was calculated based on an 80-year human life span.
        • Broiler Chickens
          • Natural Life Span: 8 years
          • Age at Slaughter: 5–7 weeks
          • Percentage of Life Lived: < 1.2%
          • Equivalent Human Age at Slaughter: 1 year
        • Laying Hens
          • Natural Life Span: 8 years
          • Age at Slaughter: 18 months
          • Percentage of Life Lived: < 18.75%
          • Equivalent Human Age at Slaughter: 15 years
        • Beef Cows
          • Natural Life Span: 15–20 years
          • Age at Slaughter: 18 months
          • Percentage of Life Lived: 7.5%
          • Equivalent Human Age at Slaughter: 6 years
        • Dairy Cows
          • Natural Life Span: 15–20 years
          • Age at Slaughter: 4 years
          • Percentage of Life Lived: 20%
          • Equivalent Human Age at Slaughter: 16 years
        • Pigs
          • Natural Life Span: 10–12 years
          • Age at Slaughter: 5–6 months
          • Percentage of Life Lived: 3%
          • Equivalent Human Age at Slaughter: 3 years
        • Source36Age of Animals Slaughtered.” Accessed February 23, 2018. http://www.aussieabattoirs.com/facts/age-slaughtered
    • Taking the life of anyone who wants to live is to harm that individual, regardless of their species. Just as we would not consider killing for food humane if it were done to dogs, cats, or humans, then by any measure of fairness and justice, it is not humane when done to other sentient beings.
    • Humane slaughter is an oxymoron. Humane means showing compassion or benevolence. To slaughter is to kill or butcher someone who does not want to die. Slaughter is a violent act, not an act of compassion or benevolence.
  • Humane-sounding labels and certifications are mostly meaningless.
    • Context.
      • Here we address the most common labels and certifications. Some labels and certifications cover some forms of abuse, and others cover different forms of abuse, but none address all forms of abuse. But even if they did, the standards are often not enforced.
    • Free-Range.
      • The USDA standard for free-range requires only that chickens are given some access to the outdoors. There are no stipulations for the size or quality of the outdoor space, and there is no requirement that the chickens actually spend time outdoors.37“FSIS.” Food Safety Inspection Service, USDA, http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/food-labeling/meat-and-poultry-labeling-terms Also, the claim does not have to be verified through inspections.38“What Does ‘Free Range’ Mean?” Greener Choices | Consumer Reports, April 25, 2017. http://greenerchoices.org/2017/04/25/free-range/
      • So it’s not surprising that investigations by Consumer Reports (and others) reveal that most chickens labeled free-range spend their lives confined inside a crowded chicken house. The free-range space itself may be nothing more than an enclosed concrete slab that the chickens never use. These individuals lack the room even to turn around, much less engage in their natural behaviors of preening, nesting, foraging, dust bathing, and perching.39“What Does ‘Free Range’ Mean?” Greener Choices | Consumer Reports, April 25, 2017. http://greenerchoices.org/2017/04/25/free-range/
      • This has led Consumer Reports to say that “‘free range is one of the most potentially misleading labels because of the discrepancy between what it implies and what is required to make the claim.”40“What Does ‘Free Range’ Mean?” Greener Choices | Consumer Reports, April 25, 2017. http://greenerchoices.org/2017/04/25/free-range/
      • Extra.
        • Only one percent of eggs are from free-range hens that have the option to go outdoors, but like the other 99 percent, even those hens have likely never actually been outdoors.41“A Hen’s Space to Roost.” New York Times, August 15, 2010. http://graphics8.nytimes.com/packages/pdf/weekinreview/20100815-chicken-cages.pdf
        • Jonathan Foer, in his well-researched and fact-checked book42Yonan, Joe. “Book Review: Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer,” November 22, 2009. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/11/20/AR2009112001684.html Eating Animals, sums it up well in saying that “the free-range label is bullshit” and “should provide no more peace of mind than ‘all-natural,’ ‘fresh,’ or ‘magical.'”43Foer, Jonathan Safran. Eating Animals. Little, Brown, 2009, 102
    • Cage Free.
      • Consumer Reports advises you to “ignore cage-free claims” for chickens.44“A ‘Cage-Free’ Claim: Does It Add Value?” Greener Choices |Consumer Reports, March 5, 2018 http://greenerchoices.org/2018/03/05/cage-free-add-value/ “‘Cage-free’ does not mean the chickens had access to the outdoors.” It only means the chickens were not confined to a cage.45What Does ‘Cage Free’ Mean?” Greener Choices | Consumer Reports, February 6, 2017. http://greenerchoices.org/2017/02/06/cage-free-mean/
      • Cage free chickens, like free-range chickens, may be confined not by a cage but by crowding so extreme that turning around and engaging in those previously mentioned natural behaviors of preening, nesting, foraging, dust bathing, and perching is difficult or impossible. Such extreme crowding in large metal warehouses is the norm, with each chicken allowed less than a square foot of space.46ibid.
      • Extra.
        • Other conditions inside the warehouses add to the misery of the confined birds. To mention only one, for brevity’s sake: the ammonia-laden air in the chicken houses is so noxious that the birds commonly suffer respiratory disorders, severe flesh and eye burns, and even blindness.47“Ammonia Toxicity in Chickens.” PoultryDVM. Accessed October 25, 2018. http://www.poultrydvm.com/condition/ammonia-burn
    • Pasture Raised.
      • According to Consumer Reports, “government agencies have no common standard that producers have to meet to make a ‘pasture raised’ claim on a food label, no definition for ‘pasture,’ and no requirement for the claim to be verified through on-farm inspections.”48“Pasture Raised” Greener Choices | Consumer Reports, April 4, 2017, http://greenerchoices.org/2017/04/26/pasture-raised/
    • Grass Fed.
      • The USDA-regulated grass fed label in the United States requires that the bovine is fed grass their entire life. The designation has only to do with feeding and does not prohibit routine cruelties, such as dehorning, castration, confinement, harsh living conditions, rough handling, and lack of veterinary care.
      • Enforcement is weak,49“Labeling Guideline on Documentation Needed to Substantiate Animal Raising Claims for Label Submissions.” USDA FSIS, n.d. https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/bf170761-33e3-4a2d-8f86-940c2698e2c5/Label-Approval-Guide.pdf?MOD=AJPERES and the animals are still slaughtered at an early age.50Whisnant, DVM, Patricia. “FAQ Grass Fed Beef.” American Grass Fed Beef (blog). Accessed October 25, 2018. https://www.americangrassfedbeef.com/faq-grass-fed-beef.asp
        • Details: Enforcement.
          • Enforcement is weak. The regulation states that “the addition of the grass fed claim for products formulated with grass fed beef is a type of claim that can be approved through a request for blanket approval.” This means that an on-site audit is not required. Instead, the producer must submit documentation to FSIS, the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service.51“Labeling Guideline on Documentation Needed to Substantiate Animal Raising Claims for Label Submissions.” USDA FSIS, n.d. https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/bf170761-33e3-4a2d-8f86-940c2698e2c5/Label-Approval-Guide.pdf?MOD=AJPERES
        • Details: Age of Slaughter.
          • While bovines that finish feeding with grain in a feedlot are slaughtered when about one year old, grass fed animals are allowed to live no longer than two years of their 15-to-20-year life span.52Whisnant, DVM, Patricia. “FAQ Grass Fed Beef.” American Grass Fed Beef (blog). Accessed October 25, 2018. https://www.americangrassfedbeef.com/faq-grass-fed-beef.asp
    • Organic.
      • Some have the perception that organic means humanely raised, but that is not the case. Organic farmers are free to treat their animals no better than non-organic farmers. This is because the USDA, which controls the organic label in the United States, ruled that the label does not allow “broadly prescriptive, stand-alone animal welfare regulations.”53Whoriskey, Peter. “Should ‘USDA Organic’ Animals Be Treated More Humanely? The Trump Administration Just Said No.” Washington Post, December 15, 2017. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/12/15/should-usda-organic-animals-be-treated-more-humanely-the-trump-administration-just-said-no/
      • Consumer Reports informs us that while there are organic standards relating to animals, they lack clarity and precision, letting producers with poor standards sell poultry and eggs.54“Do You Care about Animal Welfare on Organic Farms?” Greener Choices | Consumer Reports, February 6, 2018. http://greenerchoices.org/2018/02/06/care-animal-welfare-organic-farms/
    • Certified Humane Raised and Handled.
      • Consumer Reports says that “we do not rate Certified Humane as a highly meaningful label for animal welfare, because the standards do not have certain requirements that a majority of consumers expect from a ‘humanely raised’ label, such as access to the outdoors.”55“Certified Humane Raised and Handled.” Consumer Reports  Greener Choices | Consumer Reports, January 30, 2017. http://greenerchoices.org/2017/01/30/certified-humane/
    • Whole Foods’s Global Animal Partnership (GAP) Certified.
      • The Open Philanthropy Project criticized GAP for having weak enforcement and for providing only slight improvements over standard factory farming conditions.56“Global Animal Partnership.” Open Philanthropy Project, March 26, 2016. https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/us-policy/farm-animal-welfare/global-animal-partnership-general-support  For example, according to Consumer Reports, “standards for slaughter do not exist at any level for chickens and there is no limit on their rate of growth.”57“Global Animal Partnership Step 5+.” Greener Choices | Consumer Reports, May 23, 2017. http://greenerchoices.org/2017/05/23/global-animal-partnership-step-5/
      • GAP doesn’t even publish standards for dairy cows, arguably the most abused of any of the farmed mammals.
    • American Humane Certified.
      • According to Consumer Reports, “the requirements fall short in meeting consumer expectations for a ‘humane’ label in many ways.”58“American Humane Certified.” Consumer Reports  Greener Choices | Consumer Reports, January 11, 2017. http://greenerchoices.org/2017/01/11/american-humane-certified/
    • United Egg Producers Certified.
      • Consumer Reports says that while the label is verified, “it is not meaningful as an animal welfare label because certain basic conditions, such as the freedom to move, are not required.”59“United Egg Producers Certified.” Greener Choices | Consumer Reports, March 23, 2017. http://greenerchoices.org/2017/03/23/united-egg-producers-certified/
        • Details: Freedom to Move.
          • According to Consumer Reports, “the UEP Certified guidelines allow continuous confinement in crowded cages in dimly lit buildings without natural light and fresh air. Hens only have to be given enough space to stand upright, with a minimum space requirement of 8 by 8 inches for white laying hens kept in a cage. Producers keeping their hens in cages do not have to allow the hens to move freely, perch, dust bathe, or forage, and nest boxes are not required. While the label is verified, it is not meaningful as an animal welfare label because certain basic conditions, such as the freedom to move, are not required.”60“United Egg Producers Certified.” Greener Choices | Consumer Reports, March 23, 2017. http://greenerchoices.org/2017/03/23/united-egg-producers-certified/
    • USDA Process Verified.
      • According to Consumer Reports, Process Verified claims can be written by the manufacturers themselves  and the claims do not have to be meaningful to the welfare of the animals.61“USDA Process Verified.” Greener Choices | Consumer Reports, March 7, 2017. http://greenerchoices.org/2017/03/07/usda-process-verified/
        • Details: Process Verified.
          • Consumer Reports says, “the USDA Process Verified shield means that one or more of the claims made on the label have been verified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Both the claim and the standard behind the claim can be written by the company; the USDA only verifies whether the standard has been met, not whether the claim is a meaningful one. The label adds credibility to meaningful claims like ‘no antibiotics, ever,’ but also allows for claims with lower standards that mostly reflect the existing industry norm and add little value, such as ‘raised without growth-promoting antibiotics.’”62ibid.
    • Animal Welfare Approved.
      • This is the only certification that Consumer Reports says has strong standards, yet the standards still allow for mutilations63“Animal Welfare Approved.” Greener Choices |Consumer Reports, November 16, 2016. http://greenerchoices.org/2016/11/16/awa-label-review/ and other injustices.
      • Also, products with this label are challenging to find. A search using their own product finder reveals that it’s unlikely you will find any products with this label at a grocery store near you.64“Find Products.” A Greener World. Accessed October 4, 2018. https://agreenerworld.org/shop-agw/product-search/
    • Certified Sustainable Seafood.
      • Sustainability has nothing to do with the treatment of the fish. Fish typically die of suffocation because they are left in the air, or they die by having their throats slit while they are alive. Although our concern for fish is typically less than it is for other animals, research in cognitive ethology and neurobiology reveals that fish show intelligence, feel pain, display emotions, and have many of the other characteristics of the land animals we use for food.65Balcombe, Jonathan. What a Fish Knows: The Inner Lives of Our Underwater Cousins. Scientific American / Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2016.
      • Not only that, but the sustainability claim itself is suspect. In a piece titled “Is Sustainable-Labeled Seafood Really Sustainable?” NPR reports that scientists and other experts believe fisheries are being certified that should not be. In addition, fish are being incorrectly counted, rendering the claims of sustainability doubtful.66“Is Sustainable-Labeled Seafood Really Sustainable?” NPR.org, February 11, 2013. https://www.npr.org/2013/02/11/171376509/is-sustainable-labeled-seafood-really-sustainable
    • Backyard Chickens.
      • Although backyard chickens are not associated with a certification or label like the others that we are covering here, they deserve a closer look. A considerable number of people regard the practice of keeping chickens in the backyard for food as innocuous. These backyard chickens are of the same or similar variety as those on industrial farms  the very farms that account for most of the cruelties outlined below.
      • Baby chicks often die in transport. A quick search will find numerous reports of chicks being shipped alive to backyard hobbyists and dying in transport  and reports of those that make it being greatly stressed.
      • Backyard chickens, like those on industrial farms, have been selectively bred, which stresses their bodies. Here are just a few examples out of many:
        • Laying hens are bred to lay large eggs, which stresses their reproductive systems and causes such problems as osteoporosis, bone breakage, and uterus prolapse.67Jamieson, Alastair. “Large Eggs Cause Pain and Stress to Hens, Shoppers Are Told,” March 11, 2009, sec. Finance. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/retailandconsumer/4971966/Large-eggs-cause-pain-and-stress-to-hens-shoppers-are-told.html
        • Another stressor for laying hens is the number of their eggs, which is the result of selective breeding. A laying hen produces more than 300 eggs a year, but the jungle fowl from which they are bred lay 4 to 6 eggs in a year.68Cheng, H.-W. “Breeding of Tomorrow’s Chickens to Improve Well-Being.” Poultry Science 89, no. 4 (April 1, 2010): 805–13. https://doi.org/10.3382/ps.2009-00361
        • Chickens used for meat have been bred to grow at an unnaturally fast rate and have large breasts. This selective breeding comes with serious welfare consequences: leg disorders; skeletal, developmental, and degenerative diseases; heart and lung problems; respiratory problems; and premature death.69Stevenson, Peter. “Leg and Heart Problems in Broiler Chickens.” Compassion in World Farming, January 2003. https://www.ciwf.org.uk/media/3818898/leg-and-heart-problems-in-broilers-for-judicial-review.pdf
      • In the hatcheries from which backyard chicken hobbyists order baby chicks, the males are either ground alive in macerators, gassed, or smothered to death soon after they are hatched. This is because the laying hens are selectively bred for producing eggs, not meat, rendering the males useless for their intended purpose.70Blakemore, Erin. “Egg Producers Pledge More Humane Fate for Male Chicks.” Smithsonian, June 13, 2016. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/egg-producers-pledge-more-humane-fate-male-chicks-180959394/
      • Backyard hens are likely to be slaughtered when egg production wanes, preventing them from living out their natural lives. As one hobbyist euphemistically put it, “when the expenses outweigh the value, then changes have to be made.”71“At What Age Do You Kill a Laying Hen?” BackYard Chickens. Accessed November 2, 2018. https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/at-what-age-do-you-kill-a-laying-hen.837302/
  • Cruelty and suffering are systemic in using animals as commodities for profit.
    • The abuses inflicted on farmed animals are many and often severe, and they’re part of the normal operations of exploiting animals for food. These abuses include confinement, crowding, mutilation, deprivation of natural behaviors, debilitating selective breeding, cruel handling, separation from their offspring, and, of course, slaughter.
    • Because many of the abuses are systemic, they cannot be humanely-labeled away. To be profitable, animal agriculture depends on animals being mistreated. For any label or certification to omit all animal abuses would render the products unaffordable by all but the most affluent.
    • The cruelty stems in part from the attitudes that surround the commodification of animals, as exemplified by a piece in Hog Management, which recommends that farmers “forget the pig is an animal  treat him just like a machine in a factory.”72Prescott, Matthew. “Your Pig Almost Certainly Came from a Factory Farm, No Matter What Anyone Tells You – The Washington Post,” July 15, 2014. https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2014/07/15/your-pig-almost-certainly-came-from-a-factory-farm-no-matter-what-anyone-tells-you/
    • Here are a few specific examples of cruelty not covered earlier. These are allowed under many, if not most, labels and certifications.
      • The early separation of calves from their mothers, depriving the calves of the love and milk of their mothers and depriving the grieving cow of her nurturing instinct73University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna. (2015, April 28). Early separation of cow and calf has long-term effects on social behavior. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 26, 2018 from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/04/150428081801.htm
      • Painful debeaking of chickens, depriving them of their ability to engage in preening and foraging74Welfare Implications of Beak Trimming.” American Veterinary Medical Association, February 7, 2010. https://www.avma.org/KB/Resources/LiteratureReviews/Pages/beak-trimming-bgnd.aspx^^“UPC Factsheet – Debeaking.” United Poultry Concerns, Inc. Accessed March 28, 2018. https://www.upc-online.org/merchandise/debeak_factsheet.html
      • Forcing a hesitant animal to move by any methods necessary, including whipping, prodding, dragging, and forklifting (the evidence for this can be seen in numerous videos and the several firsthand accounts in the book Slaughterhouse by Gail A. Eisnitz)
      • The dehorning of cows, which one professor of animal science calls “the single most painful thing we do,”75Dehorning: ‘Standard Practice’ on Dairy Farms,” ABC News, January 28, 2010, done via acid, burning, sawing, or cutting with a gigantic clipper76M’hamdi, Naceur, Cyrine Darej, and Rachid Bouraoui. “Animal Welfare Issues Concerning Procedures Of Calves Dehorning.” Department of Animal Sciences, National Institute of Agronomy of Tunisia and Hiher School of Agriculture of Mateur, Bizerte, Tunisia, 2013
      • The clipping of teeth and tails of piglets, a painful procedure usually performed without medication and which may also result in infections, tumors, and the suppression of natural behaviors77“Welfare Implications of Teeth Clipping, Tail Docking and Permanent Identification of Piglets.” American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), July 15, 2014. https://www.avma.org/KB/Resources/LiteratureReviews/Pages/Welfare-implications-of-practices-performed-on-piglets.aspx 
  • Humane-sounding labels and certifications may be best thought of as marketing.
    • The animal agriculture industry is aware of the growing concern for animals and know that if they appear to be uncaring, sales and profits will decline. They also know that few will examine these humane-sounding claims to see if they are true. So these labels and certifications give the appearance of being humane, assuaging the guilt of compassionate buyers.
    • They may also engender higher profits, because the industry also knows that concerned, kindhearted consumers are willing to pay more for products they perceive to be humanely produced.
  • You cannot buy products made from animals that have been treated humanely.
    • Even if you buy into the idea that it’s OK to eat animal products as long as the animals are treated well, there is virtually no chance that the animals have, in fact, been treated well, regardless of what label is on the package. While certain labels may represent less suffering for some of the abuses, other abuses remain. The mitigation of some of the cruelties does not justify the remaining ones.
    • As we have shown and as exposed via Consumer Reports and other sources, the standards for these humane-sounding labels are weak and they often go unenforced.
    • The life of any farmed animal can only be described as one of commodified, abusive servitude ending in brutal slaughter. When viewed objectively, free from the fog of our cultural norms, their treatment and slaughter, no matter the label or certification  and by any standard of fairness and justice  cannot be considered humane.
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      • Greg Fuller   Author
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    • Revisions
      • 2018-11-07 Initial post completed   glf
      • 2018-11-16 First editing pass completed   isn
      • 2018-11-20 Published  glf

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Footnotes   [ + ]

1.Bekoff, Mark, Colin Allen, and Gordon Burghardt. The Cognitive Animal: Empirical and Theoretical Perspectives on Animal Cognition. A Bradford Book, 2002
2.“FSIS.” Food Safety Inspection Service, USDA, http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/food-labeling/meat-and-poultry-labeling-terms
3.“What Does ‘Free Range’ Mean?” Greener Choices | Consumer Reports, April 25, 2017. http://greenerchoices.org/2017/04/25/free-range/
4.“What Does ‘Free Range’ Mean?” Greener Choices | Consumer Reports, April 25, 2017. http://greenerchoices.org/2017/04/25/free-range/
5.“What Does ‘Free Range’ Mean?” Greener Choices | Consumer Reports, April 25, 2017. http://greenerchoices.org/2017/04/25/free-range/
6.“A ‘Cage-Free’ Claim: Does It Add Value?” Greener Choices |Consumer Reports, March 5, 2018 http://greenerchoices.org/2018/03/05/cage-free-add-value/
7.What Does ‘Cage Free’ Mean?” Greener Choices | Consumer Reports, February 6, 2017. http://greenerchoices.org/2017/02/06/cage-free-mean/
8.ibid.
9.“Pasture Raised” Greener Choices | Consumer Reports, April 4, 2017, http://greenerchoices.org/2017/04/26/pasture-raised/
10.“Labeling Guideline on Documentation Needed to Substantiate Animal Raising Claims for Label Submissions.” USDA FSIS, n.d. https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/bf170761-33e3-4a2d-8f86-940c2698e2c5/Label-Approval-Guide.pdf?MOD=AJPERES
11.Whisnant, DVM, Patricia. “FAQ Grass Fed Beef.” American Grass Fed Beef (blog). Accessed October 25, 2018. https://www.americangrassfedbeef.com/faq-grass-fed-beef.asp
12.Whoriskey, Peter. “Should ‘USDA Organic’ Animals Be Treated More Humanely? The Trump Administration Just Said No.” Washington Post, December 15, 2017. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/12/15/should-usda-organic-animals-be-treated-more-humanely-the-trump-administration-just-said-no/
13.“Do You Care about Animal Welfare on Organic Farms?” Greener Choices | Consumer Reports, February 6, 2018. http://greenerchoices.org/2018/02/06/care-animal-welfare-organic-farms/
14.“Certified Humane Raised and Handled.” Consumer Reports  Greener Choices | Consumer Reports, January 30, 2017. http://greenerchoices.org/2017/01/30/certified-humane/
15.“Global Animal Partnership.” Open Philanthropy Project, March 26, 2016. https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/us-policy/farm-animal-welfare/global-animal-partnership-general-support
16.“Global Animal Partnership Step 5+.” Greener Choices | Consumer Reports, May 23, 2017. http://greenerchoices.org/2017/05/23/global-animal-partnership-step-5/
17.“American Humane Certified.” Consumer Reports  Greener Choices | Consumer Reports, January 11, 2017. http://greenerchoices.org/2017/01/11/american-humane-certified/
18.“United Egg Producers Certified.” Greener Choices | Consumer Reports, March 23, 2017. http://greenerchoices.org/2017/03/23/united-egg-producers-certified/
19.“USDA Process Verified.” Greener Choices | Consumer Reports, March 7, 2017. http://greenerchoices.org/2017/03/07/usda-process-verified/
20.“Animal Welfare Approved.” Greener Choices |Consumer Reports, November 16, 2016. http://greenerchoices.org/2016/11/16/awa-label-review/
21.“Find Products.” A Greener World. Accessed October 4, 2018. https://agreenerworld.org/shop-agw/product-search/
22.Balcombe, Jonathan. What a Fish Knows: The Inner Lives of Our Underwater Cousins. Scientific American / Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2016.
23.“Is Sustainable-Labeled Seafood Really Sustainable?” NPR.org, February 11, 2013. https://www.npr.org/2013/02/11/171376509/is-sustainable-labeled-seafood-really-sustainable
24.Jamieson, Alastair. “Large Eggs Cause Pain and Stress to Hens, Shoppers Are Told,” March 11, 2009, sec. Finance. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/retailandconsumer/4971966/Large-eggs-cause-pain-and-stress-to-hens-shoppers-are-told.html
25.Cheng, H.-W. “Breeding of Tomorrow’s Chickens to Improve Well-Being.” Poultry Science 89, no. 4 (April 1, 2010): 805–13. https://doi.org/10.3382/ps.2009-00361
26.Stevenson, Peter. “Leg and Heart Problems in Broiler Chickens.” Compassion in World Farming, January 2003. https://www.ciwf.org.uk/media/3818898/leg-and-heart-problems-in-broilers-for-judicial-review.pdf
27.Blakemore, Erin. “Egg Producers Pledge More Humane Fate for Male Chicks.” Smithsonian, June 13, 2016. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/egg-producers-pledge-more-humane-fate-male-chicks-180959394/
28.“At What Age Do You Kill a Laying Hen?” BackYard Chickens. Accessed November 2, 2018. https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/at-what-age-do-you-kill-a-laying-hen.837302/
29.Prescott, Matthew. “Your Pig Almost Certainly Came from a Factory Farm, No Matter What Anyone Tells You – The Washington Post,” July 15, 2014. https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2014/07/15/your-pig-almost-certainly-came-from-a-factory-farm-no-matter-what-anyone-tells-you/
30.University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna. (2015, April 28). Early separation of cow and calf has long-term effects on social behavior. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 26, 2018 from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/04/150428081801.htm
31.Welfare Implications of Beak Trimming.” American Veterinary Medical Association, February 7, 2010. https://www.avma.org/KB/Resources/LiteratureReviews/Pages/beak-trimming-bgnd.aspx^^“UPC Factsheet – Debeaking.” United Poultry Concerns, Inc. Accessed March 28, 2018. https://www.upc-online.org/merchandise/debeak_factsheet.html
32.Dehorning: ‘Standard Practice’ on Dairy Farms,” ABC News, January 28, 2010,
33.M’hamdi, Naceur, Cyrine Darej, and Rachid Bouraoui. “Animal Welfare Issues Concerning Procedures Of Calves Dehorning.” Department of Animal Sciences, National Institute of Agronomy of Tunisia and Hiher School of Agriculture of Mateur, Bizerte, Tunisia, 2013
34.“Welfare Implications of Teeth Clipping, Tail Docking and Permanent Identification of Piglets.” American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), July 15, 2014. https://www.avma.org/KB/Resources/LiteratureReviews/Pages/Welfare-implications-of-practices-performed-on-piglets.aspx 
35.Bekoff, Mark, Colin Allen, and Gordon Burghardt. The Cognitive Animal: Empirical and Theoretical Perspectives on Animal Cognition. A Bradford Book, 2002
36.Age of Animals Slaughtered.” Accessed February 23, 2018. http://www.aussieabattoirs.com/facts/age-slaughtered
37.“FSIS.” Food Safety Inspection Service, USDA, http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/food-labeling/meat-and-poultry-labeling-terms
38.“What Does ‘Free Range’ Mean?” Greener Choices | Consumer Reports, April 25, 2017. http://greenerchoices.org/2017/04/25/free-range/
39.“What Does ‘Free Range’ Mean?” Greener Choices | Consumer Reports, April 25, 2017. http://greenerchoices.org/2017/04/25/free-range/
40.“What Does ‘Free Range’ Mean?” Greener Choices | Consumer Reports, April 25, 2017. http://greenerchoices.org/2017/04/25/free-range/
41.“A Hen’s Space to Roost.” New York Times, August 15, 2010. http://graphics8.nytimes.com/packages/pdf/weekinreview/20100815-chicken-cages.pdf
42.Yonan, Joe. “Book Review: Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer,” November 22, 2009. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/11/20/AR2009112001684.html
43.Foer, Jonathan Safran. Eating Animals. Little, Brown, 2009, 102
44.“A ‘Cage-Free’ Claim: Does It Add Value?” Greener Choices |Consumer Reports, March 5, 2018 http://greenerchoices.org/2018/03/05/cage-free-add-value/
45.What Does ‘Cage Free’ Mean?” Greener Choices | Consumer Reports, February 6, 2017. http://greenerchoices.org/2017/02/06/cage-free-mean/
46.ibid.
47.“Ammonia Toxicity in Chickens.” PoultryDVM. Accessed October 25, 2018. http://www.poultrydvm.com/condition/ammonia-burn
48.“Pasture Raised” Greener Choices | Consumer Reports, April 4, 2017, http://greenerchoices.org/2017/04/26/pasture-raised/
49.“Labeling Guideline on Documentation Needed to Substantiate Animal Raising Claims for Label Submissions.” USDA FSIS, n.d. https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/bf170761-33e3-4a2d-8f86-940c2698e2c5/Label-Approval-Guide.pdf?MOD=AJPERES
50.Whisnant, DVM, Patricia. “FAQ Grass Fed Beef.” American Grass Fed Beef (blog). Accessed October 25, 2018. https://www.americangrassfedbeef.com/faq-grass-fed-beef.asp
51.“Labeling Guideline on Documentation Needed to Substantiate Animal Raising Claims for Label Submissions.” USDA FSIS, n.d. https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/bf170761-33e3-4a2d-8f86-940c2698e2c5/Label-Approval-Guide.pdf?MOD=AJPERES
52.Whisnant, DVM, Patricia. “FAQ Grass Fed Beef.” American Grass Fed Beef (blog). Accessed October 25, 2018. https://www.americangrassfedbeef.com/faq-grass-fed-beef.asp
53.Whoriskey, Peter. “Should ‘USDA Organic’ Animals Be Treated More Humanely? The Trump Administration Just Said No.” Washington Post, December 15, 2017. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/12/15/should-usda-organic-animals-be-treated-more-humanely-the-trump-administration-just-said-no/
54.“Do You Care about Animal Welfare on Organic Farms?” Greener Choices | Consumer Reports, February 6, 2018. http://greenerchoices.org/2018/02/06/care-animal-welfare-organic-farms/
55.“Certified Humane Raised and Handled.” Consumer Reports  Greener Choices | Consumer Reports, January 30, 2017. http://greenerchoices.org/2017/01/30/certified-humane/
56.“Global Animal Partnership.” Open Philanthropy Project, March 26, 2016. https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/us-policy/farm-animal-welfare/global-animal-partnership-general-support
57.“Global Animal Partnership Step 5+.” Greener Choices | Consumer Reports, May 23, 2017. http://greenerchoices.org/2017/05/23/global-animal-partnership-step-5/
58.“American Humane Certified.” Consumer Reports  Greener Choices | Consumer Reports, January 11, 2017. http://greenerchoices.org/2017/01/11/american-humane-certified/
59.“United Egg Producers Certified.” Greener Choices | Consumer Reports, March 23, 2017. http://greenerchoices.org/2017/03/23/united-egg-producers-certified/
60.“United Egg Producers Certified.” Greener Choices | Consumer Reports, March 23, 2017. http://greenerchoices.org/2017/03/23/united-egg-producers-certified/
61.“USDA Process Verified.” Greener Choices | Consumer Reports, March 7, 2017. http://greenerchoices.org/2017/03/07/usda-process-verified/
62.ibid.
63.“Animal Welfare Approved.” Greener Choices |Consumer Reports, November 16, 2016. http://greenerchoices.org/2016/11/16/awa-label-review/
64.“Find Products.” A Greener World. Accessed October 4, 2018. https://agreenerworld.org/shop-agw/product-search/
65.Balcombe, Jonathan. What a Fish Knows: The Inner Lives of Our Underwater Cousins. Scientific American / Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2016.
66.“Is Sustainable-Labeled Seafood Really Sustainable?” NPR.org, February 11, 2013. https://www.npr.org/2013/02/11/171376509/is-sustainable-labeled-seafood-really-sustainable
67.Jamieson, Alastair. “Large Eggs Cause Pain and Stress to Hens, Shoppers Are Told,” March 11, 2009, sec. Finance. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/retailandconsumer/4971966/Large-eggs-cause-pain-and-stress-to-hens-shoppers-are-told.html
68.Cheng, H.-W. “Breeding of Tomorrow’s Chickens to Improve Well-Being.” Poultry Science 89, no. 4 (April 1, 2010): 805–13. https://doi.org/10.3382/ps.2009-00361
69.Stevenson, Peter. “Leg and Heart Problems in Broiler Chickens.” Compassion in World Farming, January 2003. https://www.ciwf.org.uk/media/3818898/leg-and-heart-problems-in-broilers-for-judicial-review.pdf
70.Blakemore, Erin. “Egg Producers Pledge More Humane Fate for Male Chicks.” Smithsonian, June 13, 2016. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/egg-producers-pledge-more-humane-fate-male-chicks-180959394/
71.“At What Age Do You Kill a Laying Hen?” BackYard Chickens. Accessed November 2, 2018. https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/at-what-age-do-you-kill-a-laying-hen.837302/
72.Prescott, Matthew. “Your Pig Almost Certainly Came from a Factory Farm, No Matter What Anyone Tells You – The Washington Post,” July 15, 2014. https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2014/07/15/your-pig-almost-certainly-came-from-a-factory-farm-no-matter-what-anyone-tells-you/
73.University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna. (2015, April 28). Early separation of cow and calf has long-term effects on social behavior. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 26, 2018 from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/04/150428081801.htm
74.Welfare Implications of Beak Trimming.” American Veterinary Medical Association, February 7, 2010. https://www.avma.org/KB/Resources/LiteratureReviews/Pages/beak-trimming-bgnd.aspx^^“UPC Factsheet – Debeaking.” United Poultry Concerns, Inc. Accessed March 28, 2018. https://www.upc-online.org/merchandise/debeak_factsheet.html
75.Dehorning: ‘Standard Practice’ on Dairy Farms,” ABC News, January 28, 2010,
76.M’hamdi, Naceur, Cyrine Darej, and Rachid Bouraoui. “Animal Welfare Issues Concerning Procedures Of Calves Dehorning.” Department of Animal Sciences, National Institute of Agronomy of Tunisia and Hiher School of Agriculture of Mateur, Bizerte, Tunisia, 2013
77.“Welfare Implications of Teeth Clipping, Tail Docking and Permanent Identification of Piglets.” American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), July 15, 2014. https://www.avma.org/KB/Resources/LiteratureReviews/Pages/Welfare-implications-of-practices-performed-on-piglets.aspx