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If I care about animals, but still eat animal products, isn‘t it better to buy "humane" animal products?

It is admirable and important to investigate the impact our actions have on others, and when we find that there is a change we can make that will do less harm to others, it is right to pursue it. However, it is equally important to be realistic and well informed, and not to take actions in the name of compassion that soothe our conscience while not necessarily addressing the violence and injustice being experienced by others.

The animal-using industry has a decades-long track record of misleading the public, on everything from the health benefits of consuming their products to the living conditions and mode of death of the animals who are killed to create those products. The statements of former farmers, animal rescuers, humane police officers and investigators raise troubling questions to this effect. Positive-sounding labels are guaranteed to increase sales of more expensive "humane" products, but the evidence suggests that this is where the guarantees end.

The association of an animal organization with a given labeling scheme doesn't change this reality. Just think about it. Presently, over 50 BILLION animals are killed annually worldwide. Is it even remotely plausible that an orderly, trustworthy, and reliable system will ever be devised to insure a given standard of treatment for any but a miniscule fraction of those individuals, most of which are "worth" just a few dollars?

What the animal-using industry does not want the public to know is that the creation of all animal products unavoidably involves injustice. (To get a better idea of how true this really is, view as examples the Behind the Myth slide shows about "Happy Cows" and "Cage Free Eggs.")

So, even if the claims being made about how a given animal was treated were credible and completely trustworthy, would they actually address the basic moral problem that arises when animals' lives are taken against their will in order to satisfy our palate? Do the claims being made address the confinement, social deprivation, mutilation, reproductive manipulation, indignity and premature death endured by animals being exploited? If not, then buying these products may well be a rather poor expression of your respect and care for animals.

In fact, the only way you can truly be sure that your dietary choices are not harming animals is to stop eating animal products. Each time you make the decision to use or consume a non-animal alternative, you can be confident you are making a real difference, that you are no longer contributing to a grievous injustice done to animals on farms as well as wildlife--animal agriculture is the number one cause of habitat destruction worldwide. And since healthy, tasty, environmentally-friendly vegan alternatives exist, why not do what is good for your health, good for the animals and good for our planet?