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Deceptive Advertising by Animal Products Industry Fools Consumers; Advocates Fight Back

December 29, 2016 by Leave a Comment


The News

A 2016 survey conducted with 1,000 Americans who purchase or consume meat, eggs or dairy products revealed that misleading advertising by the animal agriculture industry and grocery stores has succeeded in fooling consumers. The survey showed that:

  • 65% of consumers believe that the label “free-range” means that animals spend most of their time on a pasture. In reality, a legal definition of “free range” does not exist for most farm animals. In fact, farmers do not need to prove that animals have access to the outdoors.
  • 63% believe that “cage free” means the animals have access to the outdoors when it simply means that they are not raised in cages. Advocates point out that, in “cage-free” facilities, cages of steel have been replaced with cages of flesh, as the animals are stuffed so tightly into warehouses that they have little, if any, space to move.

Labels such “organic,” “humane,” and “cage free” are used to deceive customers.

  • 60% believe that “humane” means animals have a better than average quality of life. In fact, the “humane” label is meaningless, as a legal definition does not exist.
  • 46% believe that “USDA organic” means that animals spend most of their time outdoors. However, regulations do not specify the length of time that farmers are required to give animals access to the outdoors, and they do not specify the size or quality of the outdoor space.
  • 46% believe that “natural” means animals have a better than average quality of life. However, “natural” only refers to how meat is processed and is unrelated to the treatment of the animals.

It’s not only the companies that supply the animal products that mislead the public. Grocery stores also perpetuate the “humane myth.”

In recent years, companies perpetuating the “humane myth” in order to make consumers feel good about buying their products have been exposed by animal rights groups that have conducted investigations at their facilities.

In 2016, Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) and PETA exposed corporations that supply eggs, turkeys and pork to Whole Foods, a company that notoriously promotes the animal products on their shelves as humanely raised and slaughtered. These investigations revealed animals living in filthy, overcrowded warehouses, suffering from lack of veterinary care and being physically abused.

Direct Action Everywhere has exposed horrific cruelty at Whole Foods turkey and egg suppliers.

Turkeys and egg-laying hens at Whole Foods suppliers

In addition to conducting investigations, DxE has staged hundreds of protests in Chipotle restaurants and Whole Foods markets in order to educate the public about the animal welfare lies being aggressively marketed by those companies.

The results of the survey, which was conducted by Lake Research Partners and sponsored by the ASPCA, are available online.

Opinion

According to Animal Equality, over 56 billion land animals are slaughtered each year by the animal agriculture industry. All of these animals – even those raised in the least objectionable of conditions – are treated as money-making commodities, not as individuals with a desire to live freely and in peace.  If the animal agriculture industry and the retail stores who sell their products truly cared about the humane treatment of animals, then they wouldn’t sell them. After all, isn’t killing someone who wants to live inherently inhumane?

Your Turn

With hundreds of cruelty-free, plant-based alternatives to meat, fish, dairy and egg products, making the switch to an animal-free diet has never been easier. Please take the first step using this Vegetarian Starter Kit .


Filed under: Food
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A Farmer Sees The Light in THE LAST PIG

August 4, 2015 by Leave a Comment


Opinion

Emmy award winning filmmaker Allison Argo has released the trailer to her highly anticipated documentary. THE LAST PIG, the story of a farmer in upstate New York who struggles to align his livelihood with his principles, chronicles Bob Comis’ final year raising pigs for slaughter, intimately documenting his personal journey from killer to advocate. Watch the extraordinary trailer:

Unlike Howard Lyman, an animal rights activist who once farmed animals on an industrial scale, Mr. Comis became a “humane” pig farmer to offer an alternative to factory farming. According to Argo, he “labored to provide a near-idyllic life for his pigs, digging mud wallows in the summer heat; planting fields of corn where they can feed freely; and providing pigs with acres to roam with their herds.” But after ten years of farming pigs, Mr. Comis reached a tipping point. How could he continue to slaughter the very pigs who follow him around like his beloved dog and who show signs of stress when their friends vanish?

Last-Pig-Comis

“I’ve come to understand that their eyes are never vacant. There’s always somebody looking back at you.”

In the film, we see Comis embrace the feelings that he worked for years to suppress — that pigs are sentient beings who want to live and that slaughter cannot be reconciled with “humane” farming: “I don’t want to have the power to decide who lives or dies anymore.”

Bob Comis at his farm in upstate New York

Bob Comis at his farm in upstate New York

The film delivers subtle, but unmistakable messages about animal rights. Among them is our arbitrary cultural bias – regarding dogs as companions and equally intelligent pigs as commodities. Comis’ dog Monk, who follows him around the farm, serves a constant reminder of this bias, especially when he sits in the front of the truck while the slaughter-bound pigs languish in the back.

"This communion is a lie. I am not their herd mate. I am a pig farmer."

“This communion is a lie. I am not their herd mate. I am a pig farmer.”

Comis’ decision to transition from a pig to a veganic, vegetable farmer did not come easy because of the risk to his financial security: “I have to give up my job, my livelihood, in order to live in line with my ethics. It’s a colossal effort. It’s a terrifying effort. It’s overwhelming. But I’m committed to doing it.”

Your Turn

THE LAST PIG will be released in spring of 2016. Thus far, filmmaker Allison Argo and cinematographer Joe Brunette have funded production from their own pockets, but they need support with finishing funds. Please contribute, if you can. Follow the progress on Facebook.


Filed under: Food, Opinion
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