Last week, British television aired a film showing neglect and abuse of pigs, turkeys and ducks sold under the ethical label, Freedom Food, which is a program of the The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA). Freedom Food is similar in substance to Whole Foods’ upcoming Animal Compassionate label and the Certified Humane Raised and Handled label here in the US. Essentially, the labels claim to certify that the meat was in some way “ethically produced.” And they come with a price tag significantly higher than non-ethically produced meat. The farms involved have been suspended from Freedom Food, according the RSPCA’s official response to the footage. An RSPCA spokesperson said that the ideals of Freedom Food are just that: they’re “aspirations” rather than guarantees.
The pressing question in light of the Freedom Food scandal is: Will the US have similar monitoring and enforcement problems? And the pressing question in general is: Will the labels lead to an increase or decrease in meat-eating?
Update: Gary Francione explains how the scandal is viewed by abolitionists (people who consider veganism the moral baseline and consider any use of animals unethical). He also gets into why welfarist campaigns contradict the goal of abolition, and why the status of animals as property is such an important issue. He just might change the way you think about veganism and where you should put your activist dollars and time.