In this months Harper’s Magazine James McWilliams does a wonderful job at tearing away the veil of comfort that concerned consumers may get from the so-called “humane” labels that now come with so much of the meat and poultry we by.
The sub-title to the article is: labeling our way to a clear conscience.
When Whole Foods took on the Global Animal Partnership as their labeling method of choose I thought it was a good thing, even though I found it frustrating that the higher (most human) numbers where very poorly represented – it was easy to buy level 2 chicken but level 5 chicken was nowhere to be found. In all the time since they started using this labeling system the highest level poultry I have seen is 4.
What really surprised me is that Organic chicken only rates a level 2 rating.
This article explains this and many more things about the various rating systems, what they mean and why we shouldn’t be lulled into any sense of comfort by them.
Again, the conclusion I draw from this is you are always better to buy from a farmer, when you can, because at the very least with a farmer you can ask questions directly to her/him and voice any concerns you might have which in turn can be answered directly.