Embed:Collapse extra - suggested script for discussing humane labels and certifications
|Extra: Suggested script for discussing humane labels and certifications|
When discussing humane labels and certifications, in addition to providing some of the details presented in this section, conveying the ideas presented in the following script might be useful:
Many believe that we are not harming animals when we use them for food as long as we treat them well while they are living. The justification given for this view is that animals don't have a sense of the future, and thus don’t have an interest in continuing to live. However, current research in cognitive ethology and neurobiology [as shown below], says otherwise.
But if one holds this belief in spite of the science, and wants to live by their own values, they might, with good intentions, decide to buy only animal products that have some sort of humane label or certification. However, investigations by Consumer Reports, The Open Philanthropy Project, and numerous others reveal that these certifications and labels are largely meaningless.
These investigations show that the standards are weak and unenforced, audits and inspections are rarely done, and if they are done and violations are found, which is infrequent, no one gets fined.
So 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.
Humane labels and certifications are, for the most part, marketing ploys. They are designed to assuage our guilt, and they can engender higher profits because the industry knows that concerned, kindhearted consumers are willing to pay more for products they perceive to be humanely produced.
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, by any standard of fairness and justice—cannot be considered humane.
- Consumer Reports “Labels.” Greener Choices (blog). Accessed July 6, 2019. http://greenerchoices.org/labels/
- Global Animal Partnership.” Open Philanthropy Project, March 26, 2016. https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/us-policy/farm-animal-welfare/global-animal-partnership-general-support