Normally, even for a plant-based eater, I cringe when I see PETA commercials because they usually go too far with the condemnation and gore. It doesn’t help the image of the vegan movement.
However, PETA is learning, and they created this commercial called, “Redemption” featuring Oscar nominated and Emmy winning actor James Cromwell as a priest giving confession to a meat industry marketing executive.
This one is worth watching because there are many truths about the marketing of meat, and the casting of Cromwell as the priest is brilliant! I would view this commercial as one of those “If priests said what they really want to,” or “if the meat industry really was honest.”
Most know James as an animal rights activist, and as an actor from the movie Babe where he played farmer Arthur Hoggett and was nominated for an Oscar. Doing Babe motivated James to go vegan. He won the Emmy for his role as Dr. Arthur Arden in American Horror Story. James has even played the Pope twice in the movies, “Pope Pius XII” and “Pope John Paul II.”
I think it’s also good to have some data to backup this Redemption commercial so consumers can have a better understanding with really how much they are being spun about the meat they buy.
Here are some of the facts:
The phrase “Humanely raised” is a marketing term. It’s subjective. There is no legal or federal definition of “humanely raised.” If you go to the USDA site’s section on food definitions, you will not find “humanely raised.” There are third party labels like “Certified Humane” but the standards for third party labeling are not federally determined or regulated.
There is not ONE federal law that protects farm animals during their life. Some states have their own laws. In fact, there are only four Animal Welfare laws at the federal level. Two of those four laws protect farm animals at the end of their life: the first one is called the 28-Hour Law which covers the animals during transport from farm to slaughter, and the second is the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act which surprisingly only covers cows, pigs, veal, and lamb but does not cover chickens, turkeys, ducks, or any other birds.
Broiler chickens raised in factory farms, the “healthy meat,” on average only live 6 weeks and are fed primarily a GMO corn and soy diet because it’s the cheapest protein along with synthetic amino acids that can help them grow the fastest in a short period of time. In human terms, that rotisserie chicken from the grocery store you are eating is a newborn. A regular chicken can live 20 years.
99% of farm animals in the US are raised in factory farms. In 2017, over 9 BILLION animals were slaughtered for food. That image of happy cows, chickens and pigs roaming in lush green open fields represents only 1% of meat which primarily comes from small family owned farms which are sadly struggling, going under or being bought out by the large meatpacking corporations.
Just FOUR corporations control the bulk of the US meatpacking industry: Tyson, JBS USA, Cargill, and Smithfield. Tyson on average slaughters 125,000 cows per week. This is the human population equivalent of the city of Berkeley, CA. Tyson has the capacity to slaughter 175,000 cows per week.
Our government is funding most commercials and marketing campaigns you see that feature beef, pork, dairy, and eggs through Commodity Check-off programs. There is not one Check-off program for vegetables, whole grains, or legumes (other than soy mostly for livestock feed). There is a check-off program for Christmas trees.
And lastly, when you hear someone go on about the “vegan agenda” remember there is no Big Kale, United Council of Veggie Burger Manufacturers, or the Concerned Scientists for Beans where meat, dairy, and eggs special interest groups spend millions of dollars on lobbying and contribute millions to political campaigns.