Animal welfare, organic, extensive or cage-free livestock farming.
More and more people are asking themselves whether eating certified animal welfare, cage-free or organic meat, milk or eggs is a more humane choice for animals. They are concerned about the conditions that animals exploited for food have lived through and want to make the best choices.
Companies are no strangers to this new consumer perspective and some of them opt for these models or create their own labels from private companies claiming to guarantee Animal Welfare.
Unfortunately most of these labels are misleading and do not guarantee humane treatment.
Cage-free hens are subject to many of the cruelties inherent in the battery cage system. Cage-free producers buy the birds from the same hatcheries that supply the battery cage system. Male chickens are considered useless to the egg industry. One of the systems in the EC animal welfare law is the slaughter of male chicks shortly after hatching by blades that crush them alive or by gassing them. These chickens cannot lay eggs and will not put on as much weight as other breeds raised for their meat. It is estimated that 6 billion day-old male chicks are slaughtered each year by the egg industry.
- Like caged hens, cage-free hens suffer from "beak trimming" where a portion of the end of the beak is amputated without any pain relief. Beak trimming can lead to chronic pain throughout the bird's short life. Like battery hens, "cage-free" hens are kept for only a few months until their productivity begins to decline. At the young age of two years, they are slaughtered in industrial slaughterhouses.
- The EC regulations for hens with outdoor access only provide for one two-metre door for every thousand hens or one square metre of outdoor space for every nine hens. These measures, which do not regulate the quality of outdoor access, are insufficient and result in many hens not being able to go outdoors or in overcrowding outdoors.
- Although "cage-free" hens are not confined to battery cages, they are confined by the thousands inside poorly ventilated, windowless industrial buildings. Undercover investigations by activists have documented that most "cage-free" hens are kept indoors all day. So cramped that they can barely move or spread their wings.
Organic livestock farming is free of antibiotics and hormones as a rule. But it is not cruelty-free.
- For organic dairies, females are subjected to continuous pregnancy and lactation cycles.
- Although the use of hormones in cows is prohibited, artificial insemination, by which cows are impregnated time and time again, is not.
- Again, the calves are removed immediately at birth and confined in 3 metre by 3 metre cages so that their milk can be used for human consumption.
- Male calves are sold for fattening and slaughtered as meat because they are not useful for the dairy industry.
- When the milk production of cows decreases in an average of less than five years, they are also slaughtered for meat.
Animals belonging to organic, organic or "animal welfare" livestock farming are slaughtered for meat in a very short fraction of their life. The transports to the slaughterhouse and the slaughterhouses where they are slaughtered are the same as in conventional livestock farming.
Investigations have shown continued violations of the stunning and unconsciousness of animals at the time of slaughter or the cruelty of loading and transporting animals to slaughterhouses.