I hope you’re able to find five minutes to watch this:
It’s extremely rare for us to see inside the factory farms where living creatures are subjected to endless torture. And it’s extremely rare to see with our own eyes what the USDA rating of “humanely raised” actually means:
Compassion in World Farming isn’t shy about placing some of the onus on the USDA. The government does have a list of labels that must meet certain requirements in order to be used by meat producers on their packaging, such as “organic,” “free range,” and “no antibiotics.” But the terms that Perdue is using, like “humanely raised” and “raised cage free” aren’t regulated by the government in the same way. Instead, they are based on The National Chicken Council’s animal welfare guidelines, an industry-created standard.
The USDA doesn’t approve the label so much as verify that it meets the standards the industry decided it should meet. Samuel Jones, a spokesperson for the USDA, confirmed the process. “Some companies pay the USDA to verify that they’re meeting specific processing points,” he said. “If it’s cage-free, and they want us to verify that they are meeting their set guidelines, that’s what we do.” A lot of this nuance can be lost on consumers, who aren’t aware that labels are often defined by the industry, not by the government.
Take “cage-free”. We think of it as a positive in buying chicken. But almost all chicken designed to be eaten are raised cage-free. It tells us nothing about the way in which they are subjected to conditions and lives no living creature should be forced to endure.