A Chicken Leaping Into Every Pot

There's nothing unusual about dumb TV commercials but I am especially annoyed by a recent spot which brings us a combined message from Foster Farms and the American Humane Association in which we watch human-size talking chickens, raised in less ideal conditions than what is available at Foster Farms' factories, attempt to fool us into believing that they too deserve the American Humane Association (AHA) Certified label.

According to AHA's website, "American Humane Association created the first welfare certification program in the United States to ensure the humane treatment of farm animals. The American Humane Certified program (formerly known as the Free Farmed program) provides third-party, independent verification that certified producers' care and handling of farm animals meets the science-based animal welfare standards of American Humane Association."

I completely support the notion that people who wish to eat meat can and should want the animals to be well cared for while still alive and in their pre-meat condition, and should want them to be more rather than less humanely killed as they go from manufacturer to table. My issue here is about messaging which reduces live animals to talking fools so desperate to be eaten that they adopt slapstick antics to fool us into thinking they were raised by this manufacturer rather than that manufacturer. And I am offended that an organization with the word humane in its name would lend that name to this effort.

Foster Farms is in the business of selling chickens, I don't expect much from them in terms of promoting a broad ethical view of animals. AHA, however, was founded 150 years ago as a voice of advocacy for children and animals. I do expect better of them. Lending their name in a way that trivializes the suffering of the millions of animals raised as food is not an example of what they brag about on their website: "the historic American Humane Association has been at the forefront of virtually every major advance in protecting children, pets and farm animals from abuse and neglect." Sadly, it is an example of quite the opposite.

P.S.: American Humane Association, Humane Society of the U.S., and ASPCA (American SPCA) are not the "mothership" organizations for Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA or any of the thousands of local Humane Societies and SPCAs around the nation. Contributions sent to those organizations do not trickle down to help homeless dogs, cats and other animals in your community. If you'd like to know who is in fact helping the homeless animals near you, send me an email (kwhite@PHS-SPCA.org) and I'll be happy to do the research for you.