The Kind Consumer A Buyerâ€™s Guide to Humanely Raised Meat Burlington, Vermont: 2011
(City Market, Burlington, VT)
WHY BUY HUMANE? The factory farming system in the United States is known for its large size and small regard for animal welfare. Most farm animals are kept in confined spaces, with little access to quality food and water, and often times no access to the outdoors. There are countless stories of injured animals not being treated, but rather left for dead, animals so pumped with growth hormones their legs cannot support their weight, animals being kept in such confined spaces they cannot even turn around, the list goes on. This does not have to be common practice. There are many farms raising animals using healthy, humane methods and these farms should be supported. As a consumer you have the power to change the methods of raising meat. What about taste? Humanely raised meat, with access to quality food and pasture, as generally agreed, tastes better. Purchasing humane also helps support local farmers. In Vermont there are a vast number of farmers who treat their animals with the care and respect they deserve. Purchasing meat from small-scale, local farms can reduce your carbon footprint and is all around better for the environment. Make the wise choice, buy humane! This book is intended to make your shopping a little bit easier by providing information about certification labels and humane meat available in the Burlington area.
THIRD PARTY CERTIFICATION LABELS: WHAT DO THEY MEAN? Farms may apply for specific certification, in which case a third party certifier will audit that farm and, if the farm complies with their standards, grant the certification*. The following are the most common labels for humane meat certification and their standards. U SDA Organic
No growth hormones, antibiotics prohibited, minimum 120 days/yr on pasture
Certified H um ane
No growth hormones, antibiotics prohibited except for disease control, beef cattle raised on range or grass No growth hormones, antibiotics prohibited except for disease control, all animals pasture raised
Anim al W elfare Approved
Am erican H um ane Certified
Growth hormones allowed in cows and pigs, antibiotics allowed in chickens.
*Third party certifications are expensive and often small-scale farms that use humane practices may not have these labels on their packages. Speak to a butcher about these farms, or contact the farms directly to learn more about their practices
COMMON LABEL TERMS Free Range /Free Roam ing- Animals have open access to pasture and grazing Cage Free- Broiler chickens are federally required to be raised outside of cages, however the houses in which they are kept are often hot, cramped, and unsanitary offering little space for roaming and no access to the outdoors Grass Fed- Animals must be fed only mother’s milk or grass or hay their entire lives and must have access to pasture during the growing season N o Antibiotics U sed- In many cases of humane certification, antibiotics will only be used to treat sick animals. Some certifiers, such as USDA Organic prohibit any use of antibiotics. N o H orm ones U se- No growth hormones were used in the production of the meat N atural- With no official definition the term is left to the discretion of the company. Read the label carefully.
Don’t Be Fooled by Poultry Labels Boasting “All Natural” or “Hormone Free…” …Those standards are required of poultry by the Federal Government. Instead, look for “Free Range” or “Free Roaming” Even “Cage Free” sounds better than it actually is. Conventional broiler chickens are raised in a cage free buildings often so crowded they cannot comfortably move, with no access to the outdoors.
COMPANIES OFFERED AT MOST GROCERY STORES Tyson, Cargill, Perdue, Catelli Brothers All use conventional farming techniques and are also the parent companies to many other brands. For example Cargill owns: Angus Pride, Shady Brook Farms, Sterling Silver, Honeysuckle White, Meadowland Farms, Tender Choice, Good Nature Pork, Preferred Angus Beef, Rancher’s Registry, and Rumba. Many boost labels stating “All Natural,” but there is no set standard for that. If these companies are your only option, look for brands with certification labels such as Organic. H annaford Brand: N ature’s Place No antibiotics, growth hormones or animal by-products. All Chicken and Pork is Free Farmed Certified by the American Humane Association. Shaw’s Brand: W ild H arvest No Antibiotics or Hormones City M arket Sugar Mountain Pork (VT)- Free Range, Pasture Fed, No gestation or farrowing crates, pesticides, herbicides, antibiotic feeds, hormones, etc. Hardwick Beef- Grass Fed North Hollow Beef (VT)- Grass Fed, Free Range North Hollow Chicken (VT)- Free Range, Farm Slaughtered and Processed Niman Ranch- Beef, Pork, Lamb, and Poultry. Some of the strictest standards for farmers may be found at their website: www.nimanranch.com H ealthy Living: Misty Knoll (VT)- Free Range Turkeys. Feed is antibiotic-free and vegetarian Niman Ranch- Beef, Pork, Lamb, and Poultry. Some of the strictest standards for farmers may be found at their website: www.nimanranch.com Organic Prairie- A co-op of organic family farms, grass fed and free range meats are offered.
Applegate Farms- Organic, Grass-Fed Beef Burlington Farm er’s M arket: City H all Park Offers consumers the ability to talk directly to the farmers who produce their meat. Vendors include: Boucher Family Farm: Beef, Veal, Pork Jericho Settlers Farm: Grass Fed Beef & Lamb, Pasture Raised Pork Stony Pond Farm: 100% Organic, Grass Fed, Grass Finished Beef Tamarack Hollow Farm: Organic Chicken, Pork, & Lamb Willow Hill Farm: Grass Fed Lamb & Pork
TRANSPARENCY: WHY IT’S IMPORTANT Many producers who offer humane products are proud of what they do. If you would like to explore new brands, it may be as easy as visiting their website. Applegate Farms, Niman Ranch, and Sugar Mountain Farm are just a few examples of farmers who provide information about their organic and natural labels in an easy to find manner (http://www.applegatefarms.com, http://www.nimanranch.com, flashweb.com).
PRICE It’s true, buying humane costs more. But think about the true cost of your meat; by buying humane you are investing in a healthy future, for yourself, the farmers dedicated to raising humane meat, and for the animals. Considering eating less meat- making it a staple of only one or two meals per week.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON HUMANELY RAISED MEAT The CAFO Reader: The Tragedy of Industrial Animal Facilities Edited by Daniel Imhoff, University of California Press. 2010 www.foodandwaterwatch.org www.sustainabletable.org www.farmsanctuary.org FOR INFORMATION ON FARM-TO-TABLE RESTARAUNTS IN YOUR AREA www.eatwellguide.org www.localharvest,org
To stay up-to date on humane farmers and news about humane meat visit www.humaneburlington.tumblr.com
The Kind Consumer Burlington, VT 2011