What about Free Range and Organic?

In the United States, the only thing the term "free range" means is that the animals have some access to the outdoors. As a result, free-range conditions typically amount to 20,000 birds crowded inside an enclosed shed containing a single exit leading to a small outdoor area, which only a tiny fraction of the birds can access at any given time, and which most of them will never realistically be able to make it to.

Therefore, "free range" animals typically still go through debeaking, dehorning, tail docking, castration, etc. And they are still crowded together, and they still go to the exact same slaughterhouse as non-free range animals.

And the only thing "organic" means is that the animals are not given hormones or antibiotics. Everything else is typically the same as the video. Also, there are many "free range" and "organic" companies that claim that they treat their animals extremely well, but then when undercover videos are taken, it is shown just how horrible the conditions really are. For example, the male chicks are still thrown into a grinder, even at the "cage-free" egg farms which claim to care about animals. For most people in the United States, trying to find meat, eggs, or dairy from a place that does not treat their animals this way would require more effort than going vegan. In any case, no animal wants to go to the slaughterhouse, no matter how well they are treated.

Why does the government continue to allow this?

In most states, standard practices in animal agriculture are exempt from animal anti-cruelty laws. For the past several decades, a number of animal welfare organizations have been trying to change the law on this matter. Recently, they have helped pass ballot initiatives in a few states requiring that the cages for the animals be made slightly larger. However, even with these laws in place, most of what is shown in the video is still legal and standard practice. The problem is that if more significant changes are demanded, the law is unlikely to pass, due to the fact that the industry will point out that this will significantly increase meat prices. Also, the few laws that already do exist are rarely enforced.

There is considerable debate among animal advocates about how to best approach this problem. Many organizations are trying to pass additional legislation, while some others are concerned that these laws aren't really accomplishing anything. But, we do know that getting the public to reduce its consumption of animal products will result in fewer animals having to suffer. The number of animals which the industry breeds is directly proportional to how much meat and other animal products the public buys. It does not profit any industry to produce more products than they can sell. Considering the number of animals the average American eats each year, every new vegan saves hundreds of animals from these conditions. The people in the video are only doing what we are paying them to do on our behalf.

More information

Details about how farm animals are treated

Vegan Nutrition

Animal Rights FAQ


Details about how farm animals are treated in the United States today is available by clicking here. References for the information in this link are given below. All these references are from the animal agriculture industry itself. Their own journals recommend that farm animals be treated as is shown in the video, so as to save on operating costs.

1.Robert W. Taylor & Tom G. Field, textbook Scientific Farm Animal Production, 8th ed. (Prentice Hall, 2004).

2.Bernard E. Rollin, PhD, Farm Animal Welfare (Iowa State University Press, 2003).

3.National Hog Farmer, 15 November 1993.

4.Peter Cheeke, PhD, textbook Contemporary Issues in Animal Agriculture, 2004.

5.Inma Estevez, "Ammonia and Poultry Welfare," Poultry Perspectives (MD Cooperative Extension), 2002;4(1).

6.United Egg Producers, Animal Husbandry Guidelines 2010 Edition.

7.USDA NASS, Poultry Slaughter 2010 Summary, February 2011.

8.G. John Benson, DVM, MS, and Bernard E. Rollin, PhD, eds., The Well-Being of Farm Animals: Challenges and Solutions (Blackwell Publishing, 2004).

9.Joy A. Mench, PhD, in "Scientist Discusses Hen Housing" by Rod Smith, FeedstuffsFoodLink.com, 28 September 2007.

10.Temple Grandin, PhD, Recommended Animal Handling Guidelines & Audit Guide 2010 Edition (American Meat Institute Foundation).

11.American Veterinary Medical Association, Welfare Implications of the Veal Calf Husbandry, 13 October 2008.

12."Current issues in fish welfare," J Fish Biol, 2006; 68: 332-72.

13.Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2010 (Rome, 2010).

14.Udy Bell, "Overfishing," UN Chronicle, 2004; 41(2): 17.

15.USDA APHIS Wildlife Services, Program Data Reports, Table G: Animals Taken by Fate Type - FY 2008, http://www.aphis.usda.gov/wildlife_damage/prog_data/2008_pdr/content/ wp_c_ws_PDR_G_Piechart_08.shtml, updated 9 June 2009; accessed 21 April 2010.

16.Rev Sci Tech Off Int Epiz, 2006;25(2):675-84.

17.Professor John Webster quoted in The Guardian, 14 October 1991.

18.Temple Grandin, "Kosher Box Operation, Design, and Cutting Technique will Affect the Time Required for Cattle to Lose Sensibility (Updated December 2010)," http://www.grandin.com/ritual/kosher.box.variables.time.lose.sensibility.html; accessed 21 December 2010.

19.Temple Grandin, "Welfare During Slaughter without stunning (Kosher or Halal) differences between Sheep and Cattle," http://www.grandin.com/ritual/welfare.diffs.sheep.cattle.html; accessed 21 December 2010.

20.Joby Warrick, "Modern Meat: A Brutal Harvest, 'They Die Piece by Piece,'" Washington Post, 10 April 2001, http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=article&node=&contentId=A60798-2001Apr9¬Found=true; accessed 23 July 2002.

21.European Food Safety Authority, Scientific Report AHAW/04-027, 15 June 2004.

22.USDA FSIS Inspection Training, "Poultry Postmortem Inspection," 17 March 2009.

23.Conserv Biol, 2006 Feb;20(1):163-69.

24.R.J. Buhr, "Why poultry should be stunned at slaughter and the welfare advantages and challenges of electrical and gas stunning," 2009; in Proceedings XIX European Poultry Symposium on Quality of Poultry Meat and XIII European Symposium on the Quality of Eggs and Egg Products, 21-25 June 2009 (Turku, Finland: World's Poultry Science Association).

25.U.S. GAO, "Humane Methods of Slaughter Act: Actions Are Needed to Strengthen Enforcement," Report to Congressional Requesters GAO-10-203, February 2010.

26.U.S. GAO, "Humane Methods of Slaughter Act: USDA Inspectors' Views on Enforcement," GAO-10-244SP, an E-supplement to GAO-10-203, February 2010.

27.Agricultural Research (USDA ARS), "Settling Doubts About Livestock Stress," 2005 Mar;53(3):4-7.

28.Gail A. Eisnitz, Slaughterhouse: The Shocking Story of Greed, Neglect, and Inhumane Treatment Inside the U.S. Meat Industry (New York: Prometheus Books, 2006).

29."Corporate Welfare: The Empire Of The Pigs," Time, 30 November 1998.

30."The Lurking Perils of 'Pfiesteria,'" Scientific American, August 1999.

31.Animal Waste Pollution in America: An Emerging National Problem, Minority Staff of Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry, 104th Congress, December 1997.

32.Appl Anim Behav Sci, 2007 May;104(3):199-235.

33.Eric Litke, "Waldo dairy cow sets national milk production record," Sheboygan Press, 19 February 2010.

34.USDA FSIS FSRE, "Humane Handling of Livestock/GCP in Poultry," 2 February 2009.

35.Prof Anim Sci, 2009 Aug;25(4):404-14.

36.Poult Sci, 2004; 83: 184-92.

37.USDA ERS, Outlook Report No. LDP-M-150-01, December 2006.

38.USDA NASS, Quick Stats: Agricultural Statistics Data Base, http://www.nass.usda.gov/QuickStats; accessed 17 March 2011.

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