Saturday, October 8, 2011

Animal Welfare Approved vs. Certified Humane. The new McDonald’s vs. Burger King.

The humane certification market is exploding.  In co-ops and natural food stores across the country, compassionate carnivores are searching for the tastiest conscience-easing meats. This means big opportunity for humane certification labels but also fierce competition.

So who are the big players best poised to reap the bounty of the compassionate carnivores? An analogy is helpful. Animal Welfare Approved is McDonald’s. Certified Humane is Burger King. There’s also the Global Animal Partnership, though they don’t yet have the cachet of the big boys.  They’re more of a Jack in the Box or Sonic – a regional upstart but not one to take to take lightly.

Certified Humane has come out swinging. “Don’t be fooled by similar sounding programs,” they say on their site.  “Certified Humane is the best way you can help animals.”  Animal Welfare Approved plays it more like McDonald’s -- above the fray.  They don’t deign to acknowledge, and thereby legitimize, the competition.  They stick to more quietly confident statements like, “Continuously ranked as the most stringent of all third party certifiers.”

This calm arrogance must drive Certified Humane nuts.  They want to attack!
They should heed the examples of their compatriots in other highly competitive industries. There’s a long history of commercials slamming the Other Guy. 

They could try a side-by-side compassion test, similar to the Pepsi Challenge.  Stop progressive carnivores in the compassionately killed meat section.  Hide the label.  Ask the progressive to sample the meat and guess which one has more compassionate pre-slaughter standards.

Or they could copy the classic Folger’s coffee commercials.
We’ve secretly replaced this Animal Welfare Approved steak with a Certified Humane steak.  Let’s see if people notice.
Hi, Sir, how’s the steak?
Delicious.  And best of all it was slaughtered with compassion.
Did the steer suffer?
No.  Animal Welfare Approved means animals get to “perform natural and instinctive behaviors.”
Surprise!  You’re really eating a Certified Humane steak.
You’re kidding.
Can you sense that extra pre-slaughter compassion? See, only Certified Humane guarantees that all animals are “kept in conditions that allow for freedom of movement” before they’re shackle hoisted and stun bolted.
I had no idea
So what humane label are you going to buy from now on, Sir?
I’m going to buy Certified Humane!