May 18, 2015

It's Picnic Season! Packing Your Picnic Basket with Welfare in Mind

It's Picnic Season! Packing Your Picnic Basket with Welfare in Mind

It’s been a long winter and we’re ready to dig into summer foods. For those who eat meat, eggs or dairy, avoiding the worst factory-farmed products can be tricky. We have some easy tips to help you make informed choices for a welfare-conscious summer spread.

What to Look For
Look for packages that include certification stamps from Animal Welfare Approved, Certified Humane or Global Animal Partnership 5 Step Program (steps 2 and above).

These independent certifications offer consumers assurance of higher welfare practices on farms through publicly available standards and regular, on-farm audits to ensure these standards are met. These programs all prohibit cage confinement, subtherapeutic antibiotics and hormone use. Minimum quantity and quality of space is also defined for animals (either indoor enriched, outdoor access or pasture access).

You can find more information about these three certifications and brush up on what’s behind other claims on packages by downloading our label guide. Take it with you to the supermarket or share it with friends to make the most informed decisions when it comes to meat, eggs and dairy.

What to Avoid
Don’t be fooled! While looking for more humane animal products this season, steer clear of these undefined, unregulated or misleading claims:

Humanely Raised: An unregulated and subjective term without standards

Natural: Does not impact animal welfare in any way

Cage Free: Meaningless on poultry meat since those birds are not raised in cages

Free Range: Meaningless since there is no legal definition for use on eggs, pork, beef or dairy

Hormone Free: Not approved by the USDA since all animals produce hormones naturally

No Hormones Added: Meaningless on pork or poultry products since hormone use is not allowed on chickens, turkeys or pigs

Antibiotic Free: Meaningless because antibiotic residue testing technology can’t verify an animal ever received antibiotics

To learn the truth about other terms found on packaging, download our label guide.