This week, the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s Animal Book Club is considering the question of “happy meat” or humane farming.
As consumers grow more conscious of the animal cruelty and the environmental degradation caused by industrial agriculture—known as factory farming—they pay more attention to labeling. Authors Hope and Cogen Bohanec, two local activists residing in ALDF’s own backyard of Sonoma County, California, have long dedicated their lives to animal advocacy and environmental protection. Labelling of food is necessary but is not sufficient to really inform consumers about the treatment of the animals they eat or of which they consume products. Total transparency must be demanded so that people will make the right (compassionate) choices. I would love to see research done on how antibiotics given to animals affects people who consume them. The raw truth is: if slaughterhouses had windows, and people dared look, very few would eat meat. ALDF is rated four-stars by Charity Navigator,, is a Gold Level GuideStar Exchange participant, a Better Business Bureau Accredited Charity , and an Independent Charity Seal of Excellenceawardee, ensuring that we meet the highest standards of accountability, efficiency, and impact. Prisoned Chickens, Poisoned Eggs looks at a world in which avian influenza, food poisoning, global warming, genetic engineering, and the expansion of poultry production and consumption are careening to an unsustainable point. Davis takes us back to European folklore about turkeys, the myths, fairytales, and downright lies told about turkeys and their habits and habitats. If it weren't for women like those contributing to this book, the voices of those who can't fight for themselves would only be heard in slaughterhouses and experimental laboratories. UPC is pleased to announce that We Are Now Carrying this amazing anthology of writings by women who advocate for animals. With superb artworks and writings both past and present, Uncooped: Deconstructing the Domesticated Chicken traces the complexities of chicken-human relations to confront the ethical implications arising from a paradigm that views chickens as mere means to an end. The Ultimate Betrayal lifts the veil of secrecy surrounding animal farming, offering a rare look inside the world of alternative animal agriculture.

Minny’s Dream dramatizes the story of the plight of chickens from the tropical forest to the battery cage and the moral issues involved in whether to rescue or not to rescue. Can the concept of humane slaughter be implemented realistically, or does the label merely make us feel better about the consumption of sentient beings?
For example, the Animal Legal Defense Fund has petitioned the USDA to regulate labels on meat and poultry containing antibiotics. As the authors of The Ultimate Betrayal write, cage-free can mean “a large, windowless warehouse where tens of thousands of birds are confined inside on the floor… with just about one square foot of floor space per bird….” Furthermore, many cage-free warehouses are on the same factory farms as the controversial battery-cage operations. Californians passed “Prop 2,” which banned (as other states have) the use of “gestation crates” that prevent pregnant pigs from standing, turning around, or moving comfortably. Read the compelling argument for adopting a compassionate, plant-based cuisine as an alternative to the warfare waged on defenseless chickens.
She shows how turkeys in the wild have complex lives and family units, and how they were an integral part of Native American and continental cultures and landscape before the Europeans arrived.
Charting the changing consciousness toward chickens that is now happening in contemporary art, academia, and animal rights advocacy, this fascinating, beautifully designed book is a treasure trove of images and writings about chickens, their friends and foes, for everyone who cares about chickens and seeks to enlighten others.
Drawing on research, worker and rescuer testimony and meeting the farmed animals themselves, The Ultimate Betrayal explores the recent shift in raising and labeling animals for food and the misinformation around this "new way" of farming. What does the law say, and how do animal protection laws, food safety laws, and trends in consumption reflect the contradictions in these concepts? That legal petition is bolstered by a petition signed by more than 100,000 people and counting, asking the USDA to require labels on meat derived from animals given antibiotics.
Truth-in-advertising is critical in order to ensure consumers are not deceived, and ALDF recently settled a lawsuit on this very issue with a Bay Area egg producer. Studies have shown that consumers are willing to pay a premium for animal products they perceive to have been produced “humanely.” Yet with anti-cruelty laws that are hard to enforce, and conditions at factory farms or even small farms that are difficult for the severely understaffed federal agencies like the USDA and FDA to regulate, how do we determine what is “humane” about consuming animal products? The Ultimate Betrayal is now available in soft cover and e-book on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Small-scale farms are the latest craze and various methods of alternative animal agriculture carry feel-good labels.
Enchanting events and intriguing facts, chronicled and photographed over the course of one year, convey deep insights into daily chicken life. These are issues considered in a recent book by Hope and Cogen Bohanec called The Ultimate Betrayal: Is There Happy Meat? Most antibiotics sold in this country are fed to farmed animals (rather than humans) who are not even sick. We resolved a similar issue with the largest producer of force-fed “foie gras” (the diseased livers of young ducks and geese) in the nation, when they marketed themselves as “humane” producers. From warehouses and sheds to the hooks at the slaughterhouse, from environmental concerns to animal cruelty… just how humane can animal agriculture be? Antibiotics are given to animals preventatively—prior to the outbreak of illnesses derived from living in unimaginably close quarters on factory farms. The authors conclude their study by writing “we are now convinced that the state of alternative agriculture is actually worse than we thought when we started this project.
This overuse of antibiotics is helping to breed resistance in bacteria, or “superbugs,” who are immune to antibiotics. We found time and again that the conditions for the animals are only marginally improved by alternative farming methods and inherent cruelties abound.” For more information about alternative practices and the problem with “humane” meat, read The Ultimate Betrayal. And consumers who want to avoid meat produced with antibiotics have no reliable way to identify such products without proper labels.

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