The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Tricia Barry, 607-583-2225 ext. 233,

Farm Sanctuary Releases Report on "Humane" Meat Labels

Organization launches “Truth Behind Labels” campaign to advocate for transparency in animal welfare standards


Farm Sanctuary, the nation's leading farm animal protection
organization, today released a new report that thoroughly evaluates the
animal welfare claims made by agribusiness industry groups, food
retailers and third-party certification organizations. As the most
comprehensive report of its kind, "The Truth Behind the Labels: Farm
Animal Welfare Standards and Labeling Practices" analyzes the criteria
used to define such commonly-used marketing phrases as "humane," "free
range" and "naturally raised."

As more consumers have
learned about the animal welfare concerns related to factory farms,
they have increasingly demanded that farm animals receive better
treatment. They have also shown that they are willing to pay a premium
for meat, milk and eggs from so-called "humane" farms. This growing
demand has led to the creation of more than a dozen animal welfare
assurance schemes sponsored by industry groups, food retailers and
third-party organic and humane certification organizations.
Government-regulated animal welfare labels and marketing claims have
also emerged and expanded.

According to Farm Sanctuary
Co-founder and President Gene Baur, "Most people will be surprised to
learn that even the most stringent standards often fail to meet their
expectations about how animals should be treated. For example, in many
of these labeling schemes, 'free range' birds still spend their entire
lives tightly packed together in sheds, physical mutilations like
debeaking and tail docking are still allowed, and there are no
requirements for outdoor access for some species. We developed this
report to provide the facts and increase the transparency of the
labeling process so the public knows what they are purchasing."

Truth Behind the Labels" is an updated and expanded version of a 2005
Farm Sanctuary report entitled "Farm Animal Welfare: An Assessment of
Product Labeling Claims, Industry Quality Assurance Guidelines and
Third-Party Certification Programs." Farm Sanctuary's labeling reports
remain the only comprehensive analyses of animal product
labeling schemes ever published to help today's consumers understand
the process. The creation of this report has led to the launch of Farm
Sanctuary's Truth Behind Labels campaign which serves to
educate consumers about the reality of these labeling schemes and to
advocate for transparency in animal welfare standards.

Sanctuary has produced two versions of "The Truth Behind the Labels" to
meet the needs of different audiences. One is a 16-page summary booklet
designed for consumers, and the other is a 68-page report for academics
in university agriculture departments and other specialists (such as
government officials working for the USDA and the Food and Drug
Administration) who are studying these issues for the purpose of policy

Farm Sanctuary's summary booklet and report
entitled "The Truth Behind the Labels: Farm Animal Welfare Standards
and Labeling Practices," is available at

Farm Sanctuary fights the disastrous effects of animal agriculture on animals, the environment, social justice, and public health through rescue, education, and advocacy.