The way I would define “humanely raised” in the animal agriculture sense is:
Treating animals with care and respect, keeping animals healthy, and allowing animals to live comfortable lives.
I believe that the vast majority of farmers, both conventional and organic, are doing just that. Any true livestock farmer will tell you that in order to make a profit in the livestock industry, you must treat your animals well. This is especially important in today’s livestock economy, as higher buying costs and higher feed costs have allowed for a very thin margin of profit. One of Chipotle’s prevalent claims in their videos is that animal agriculture abuses animals because we are motivated only by greed and money. I would argue that it wouldn’t make any financial sense to abuse our animals or raise them incorrectly. If we did then we would fail miserably, and in turn we would lose money. If our animals are not treated with care, not kept healthy, and not kept comfortable, our slim, marginal chance of being a successful livestock farmer is absolutely destroyed!
Based on my years of experience in the agricultural community, I believe that nearly every animal in this country is treated ethically, with care and respect. I do agree that there are a few exceptions, many of which can be found on YouTube and animal activist websites, where animals are being abused on farms. These videos make me sick to my stomach because I as a farmer love animals just as much as anyone, and everyone in the agricultural community is ashamed of these videos as well. It is a horrible misrepresentation of the way that the vast majority of the livestock community actually raises their animals.