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According to AWI, Boar’s Head does not meet animal care standards high enough to justify “human” claims, but the sliced meat supplier follows industry guidelines.
The Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) challenged Boar’s Head, a US-based delicatessen supplier, before the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The AWI claims that the sliced meat supplier uses „deceptive” advertising practices to promote what Boar Head describes as „human-raised” chicken sausage and Simplicity All Natural turkey products.
According to the AWI, there is no evidence that Boar’s Head is raising its chickens and turkeys in accordance with animal welfare standards that go beyond industry practice.
However, Boar’s Head complies with industry standard animal care standards DEEDS (Farm Animal Care Training and Auditing) for its chicken products and those National Turkish Federation (NTF) for its turkey products, but the AWI is of the opinion that this should not allow the company to make humane rearing claims on its product.
The AWI urges the FTC to stop Boar’s Head from doing any marketing, which is intended to create the false impression that his chickens and turkeys are treated better than birds on any other factory farm.
„Industry audits do not meet scientifically established standards for the humane treatment of animals,” said Dena Jones, director of the livestock program at AWI.
“Such audits only confirm compliance with basic animal care standards and do not guarantee humane treatment of chickens or turkeys. It is deceptive to say that an animal product is “humanly raised” based on these standards. „
The national advertising department of the Better Business Bureau (BBB) warned against it Rely on industry audits to support similar animal husbandry claims as consumers misinterpret these labels to mean a higher standard of care.
In 2019, following an AWI challenge, the BBB department recommended Hatfield Quality Meats and its parent company, Clemens Food Group, to discontinue the claim „Ethically raised by family farmers who commit to higher standards of care guided by third-party animal testing” of product packaging for Hatfield -Pork products. It was the first time the BBB department recommended a company remove an animal welfare claim from a meat product.
AWI research Consumers generally assume that the claim “human raised” means that animals are not raised using some of the more controversial techniques found on factory farms, although these practices are allowed under FACTA and NTF test guidelines.
The NTF and FACTA audits (based on the animal care guidelines of the National Chicken Council) should certify manufacturers who adhere to minimum industry standards based on an AWI analysis.
In contrast, independent animal welfare certification programs generally require adherence to higher standards of care to justify humane entitlements that may deserve premium pricing. The AWI says processors who are allowed to base such claims on „bare minimum” industry reviews undercut farmers with higher wealth.
„Consumers are constantly bombarded with false welfare claims for meat products, but there are better options that offer legitimately higher welfare,” said Erin Sutherland, attorney for the farm animal program at AWI.
„We hope the FTC will stand by the consumer and deter Boar’s Head from making misleading claims about their chicken and turkey products.”
Boar’s Head has been asked to comment but has yet to respond.