If You Think the Organic Label Means Less Animal Suffering, You’d Be Wrong
The full article by Gene Baur was originally written for AlterNet
Americans love animals, and millions of us share our homes with cats and dogs. In contrast, billions of farm animals endure intolerable cruelty on factory farms, hidden behind locked doors, treated like inanimate production units. They are confined and crowded in filthy, windowless warehouses and denied basic humane consideration. The conditions are so harsh and disease so rampant that hundreds of millions die before reaching the slaughterhouse every year.
Consumers are increasingly concerned about farm animal suffering, and they are seeking alternatives to industrialized meat, dairy and eggs. Marketing labels that suggest farm animals are treated humanely are becoming common, but these labels sound better than they are. Eggs and meat labeled “free-range” can come from animals who are crowded by the thousands and who never go outside. Beef sold as “natural” often comes from cattle implanted with hormones and confined in feedlots.
And “organic” doesn’t require animals to be treated humanely either, although the USDA is now accepting public comments on proposed guidelines that seek to improve animal welfare on organic farms.
Unfortunately, animals raised and sold under the organic label experience cruelty similar to those raised on factory farms. They are overcrowded and subjected to painful mutilations like debeaking in the case of chickens. They are commonly denied access to the outdoors—despite existing organic standards requiring it. In essence, counter to what consumers may believe, organic animal agriculture is very much like factory farming, and animals are seen primarily as commodities, not as living feeling creatures.
Read more via AlterNet