"Humane" Farming is a Sham

“Humane” Farming is a Sham

By Almira Tanner

"Humane" farming is a sham, and now I’ve seen it with my own eyes. All animals want to live, but each one bred by industry ultimately meets a violent death – except the little one we rescued.

I entered Diestel’s farm – the most celebrated turkey farm on Whole Foods’ roster – as part of Direct Action Everywhere’s (DxE) investigatory team. When I arrived, the barns were empty. At first I was relieved that I wouldn’t have to witness the suffering first hand. Like so many of us, I love animals, but I had never been to one of these places before, and I wasn’t sure if I would be able to keep my composure if I saw the turkeys. Then, the crushing realization set in: each of the missing 16-week old juvenile birds was actually on her way to a brutal end to a miserable life.

I noticed the lost feathers covering the barn floor and the stench of disease and filth still lingering in the air. Next came a horrifying noise that pierced the silence from across the road. I saw men working, grabbing turkeys destined for slaughter and shoving them in a transport truck. The shrieks were calls of pain and despair and they were calls for help.  As some of us went to check things out, we almost stepped right on a young turkey who had somehow managed to make it out of the barn. She was lying there in the pitch black and she was literally going to die – either from the elements, a predator, dehydration, or from human violence if the men found her. We couldn’t just leave her there. We brought her back to the car where her breathing was shallow and rapid. We wrapped her in a blanket and tried to give her water. She made it through the night and in the morning we brought her to a safe place where she received veterinary care and love for the first time in her life.

Whole Foods claims to care about animals and treat them with compassion. In fact, their own reports acknowledge that this is what brings many of its customers through the door. Diestel Farms is rated the best of the best by Global Animal Partnership, a purported third-party certifier which, in fact, receives over 90% of its funding from – you guessed it – Whole Foods. Every time our team of investigators visited the facilities, we found crowding, disease, mutilation, and death. We have now released the full expose of this Whole Foods’ supplier, demonstrating that claims of “humane” animal agriculture will, inevitably, always fall short.

This narrative is not unique. We’ve seen it on farm after farm, from factory to organic to certified humane. Diestel’s claims are false. Whole Foods’ claims are bogus. And the whole concept of humane exploitation, of humane murder, is a lie. A dangerous lie, one that corporations like Whole Foods have sold us in order to pad their profits.

All animals want to live. All animals want freedom. This is as true for the dogs and cats in our homes as it is for cows, fish, chickens, and pigs. We all know it in our hearts, so I invite you to join us in leaving their bodies off our plates and speaking strongly for a more just world where every animal is safe, happy, and free.