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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.


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 .

Comments via Facebook Comments

  1. Jacqueline M. Jakle says:

    I found Forager Project cashew milk and yogurt since I gave up dairy several years ago. This cashew milk works ok in my morning coffee and the yogurt is decent. Also, this company omits carageenan which acts as a thickener im many foods but causes inflammation. It is an ongoing process of research and trying different things to find what works.

  2. Zizi says:

    Edith, you sound like a compassionate person, but I think you need to consider what you are doing by eating dairy…no matter how the cows are raised.

    Do you know that a cow produces milk, just like all other mammals only when it has a baby? That in order to produce that milk, cows are impregnated over and over and over again. That in order to have that milk available for your cheese, butter, milk, ice cream, yogurt etc. the babies are taken away from their mothers at birth and if males, are killed or become veal calves confined to crates no larger than their own bodies, fed a diet of anti-biotics and gruel to keep the meat as white and pale as possible, and then killed when only barely a few months old, so that your veal chop or veal parmigiana, will be “nice and tender”.

    The female babies are also removed and if not slaughtered will become “dairy” cows who will live out the very same tortured and miserable lives as their mothers.

    And to add insult to injury, the very existence of the billions of cattle on this planet, is producing more greenhouse gasses than all the trucks, busses, cars etc. combined, thus aiding the greedy fossil fuel industry in its quest to doom everyone on this planet to droughts, tornadoes, floods, and climate change that may ultimately destroy all life on earth.

    Is your quest for non-existing “humane” cheese really worth it?Isn’t it time to evolve?

    1. Frank G says:

      What you are describing are predominantly factory farming methods and are not necessarily the only way to produce milk. As a child in Sicily the goat herds would come through our town and they were not mistreated in the ways that you suggest. Humane farming practices are possible and we should fight for those. Trying to convince everyone to be a vegan is short sighted if laudable goal and is a distraction from preventing animal suffering.
      And yes I am a vegan for a decade and a vegetarian for over four decades.

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