Boston, MA (Vocus) August 11, 2009
The World Society for the Protection of Animals' (WSPA) new searchable database at EatHumane.org makes it easier for conscientious consumers to shop for humanely-farmed food, which is healthier and more environmentally sustainable than industrially farmed alternatives. The online tool allows people to search the top 25 U.S. grocery stores for dairy, eggs and meat based on animal welfare standards associated with labels like "cage free," "free range" and "organic." WSPA's goal is to help consumers decipher often confusing food labels and identify brands to help them make more ethical and socially responsible decisions.
According to Sharanya Krishna Prasad, WSPA U.S. programs officer, "Studies show that consumers care about the welfare of animals and also prove that humane farming practices are better for our health and the health of our planet. Every day we have the opportunity to impact the quality of animal's lives with our food choices, and WSPA aims to make it easier to purchase these products."
The majority of U.S. animals raised for consumption spend their lives confined in factory-style farms that use 'production line' methods which maximize the amount of meat produced, while minimizing costs. Animals are often confined in filthy, overcrowded conditions. Beyond cruelty, factory farming can also cause massive environmental destruction and pose serious risks to humans. Factory-farmed meat is often laden with saturated fat, cholesterol, and hormones that promote obesity, diabetes and several forms of cancer. Antibiotics used in factory farming are believed to encourage antibiotic-resistant microbes (i.e. Salmonella and E. coli), making it more difficult to fight animal and human diseases. In addition, waste run-off from badly managed farms can result in dangerous levels of water and soil pollution.
Alternative farming systems are gaining popularity in the U.S. where farmers aim to keep animals in conditions closer to their natural environment, including providing more access to sunlight, fresh air and freedom of movement.
Levels of animal welfare are identified by a variety of food package labels At EatHumane.org, WSPA rates labels like "free range," "USDA organic" and "Certified Humane" in terms of how animals raised for food are treated, and hopes to educate consumers about food labels to choose and to avoid.
About Food Label Claims:
Good: Cage Free (eggs), Free Range (eggs, chicken, duck, goose, turkey), Grass Fed (dairy, beef, lamb). These claims cover one aspect of animal care although a third party does not verify compliance with the standards.
Better: Free Range (beef, bison, lamb, pork), Pasture Raised (dairy, eggs, chicken, turkey, beef, bison, lamb, pork), USDA Organic (dairy, eggs, chicken, turkey, beef, bison, lamb, pork). These feature a higher level of animal welfare but standards are either not verified by a third party or cover only a limited aspect of animal care.
Best: American Humane Certified (dairy, eggs, chicken, turkey, beef, lamb, pork), Animal Welfare Approved (dairy, eggs, chicken, turkey, beef, lamb, pork), Certified Humane (dairy, eggs, chicken, turkey, beef, lamb, pork). These cover multiple aspects of animal care and an independent third party verifies compliance with the standards.
Through partnership with more than 1,000 organizations worldwide, WSPA strives to create a world where animal welfare matters and animal cruelty ends. WSPA is working with organizations throughout the world to phase out intensive farming and to promote more humane food alternatives among retailers and consumers. More at http://www.EatHumane.org.
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