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This letter is the third in a 3-part message from our founder, Aaron Gross. Please click here to read the first or second letter in the series.
Today industrial farms know that they have two possible futures: oblivion or deception.
Unsurprisingly, the factory farm machine is investing in deception like never before, coopting efforts to educate consumers, and—increasingly—using brands and charities we trust to prolong the fairy tale that factory farming requires only minor adjustments. This is why Farm Forward has increasingly energized our efforts at exposing deception in animal welfare certifications.
The most powerful thing we can do to support a future where certifications have integrity is to highlight where certifications have failed us, creating the necessary energies to do better.
Farm Forward has always supported and continues to support any efforts that reduce farmed animal suffering, however dramatically or modestly. However, we must keep our eyes on the prize. Regulations that reduce the negative impacts of industrial farms along the way are welcome, but we will never allow our crucial and ongoing efforts at incremental improvement to weaken the clarity of our message: the factory farm was a mistake, it’s recent, and we can end it. Incremental improvement isn’t the goal, but the first step toward system transformation.
Humanewashing—the use of labels and imagery to make consumers think animal welfare is higher than it is—constitutes the single biggest menace to the growing global movement to end factory farming. Humanewashing threatens to balm the conscience of the very public that is now waking up and demanding change. Our recent consumer survey revealed that Americans are widely deceived by animal welfare labels—even the most trustworthy ones. The factory farm industry is investing in humanewashing as never before as documented in our Dirt on Humanewashing report, and we can’t let them succeed.
2021 saw important victories in the battle to turn back the tide of deception: after the release of our Dirt on Humanewashing report and its coverage in the media, we’ve seen the emergence of a first-ever public movement to condemn humanewashing—with everyone from consumer protection advocates to religious leaders weighing in. We’ve had important campaign victories like the 500-store strong grocery chain Giant Eagle dropping the deceptive “One Health Certified” label from its shelves. We’ve also commissioned and publicized important new studies documenting the full extent of meat industry deception and motivating change.
This work to end humanewashing has only just begun, but where it leads is up to all of us. Do we want a food system that makes us feel good about what we purchase, or do we want a food system that is actually better for animals, workers, consumers and the environment?
Onward and forward,
Aaron S. Gross
Founder and CEO / / Farm Forward
P.S. – Please consider supporting our efforts with a donation of $10 or more! Every donation in any amount helps demonstrate the public will to end factory farming and helps our efforts to secure funds from foundations and large donors.
Thank you for reading the third letter from Farm Forward’s founder, Aaron Gross. Please click the following links to read the first and second letters in the series.