Industry News - PM

PETA, Certified Humane spar over Tasty Burger marketing

By Lisa M. Keefe on 12/28/2015

The Tasty Burger chain, with five locations in the Boston area, is at the center of a holiday tiff over humane handling between People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and Humane Farm Animal Care (HFAC), which audits operations and allows qualified companies to use the “Certified Humane” designation in their marketing.

Just before Christmas, PETA announced that Tasty Burger had “agreed to stop marketing its beef burgers as ‘certified humane’ and removed all references to ‘humane’ meat from its menus, website, and signage,” following discussions with the animal rights group.

 “[W]hile this meat may be marginally less cruel to produce, it can never be humane,” PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman said in a news release. “The only humane meal is a vegan one ….”

HFAC shot back, saying in its own release, “Ninety-five percent of Americans obviously must disagree with PETA's statement that the only humane meal is a vegan one, since they are not vegans.”

The organization went on to point out that HFAC’s standards for humane handling and slaughter for livestock and poultry were written by its 37-member Scientific Committee, which includes Temple Grandin.

“Meanwhile, describing the Certified Humane’s program as ‘animals crammed into sheds, jabbed with electric prods and subjected to other horrors’ is completely inaccurate,” HFAC’s release said.

And, HFAC pointed out, “Although PETA may have intimidated Tasty Burger into removing the Certified Humane logo from its menu, the Tasty Burger folks understand the importance and value of the Certified Humane program." The company's menu still says, “Our all natural beef meets HFAC third party review standards at all stages  … which include nutritious diet without antibiotics, or hormones, animals raised with shelter, resting areas, sufficient space and the ability to engage in natural behaviors."

It isn’t the first time that activists have taken aim at the very third-party auditors that are meant to provide an objective evaluation of a company’s operations. In June, Mercy For Animals (MFA) criticized the American Humane Certified program, offered by the American Humane Association, for licensing Foster Farms to use its seal in marketing when MFA had captured Foster Farms’ employees on undercover video violating humane practices. MFA called the American Humane Certified program a “scam.”

Loading Comments