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The advertising industry resorts to a multitude of misleading tactics to encourage consumers to buy their products. Sometimes this takes the form of using attractive people that consumers may want to look like, and other times it includes making the packaging look more eco-friendly so consumers feel better about their purchase. Walking through the supermarket, it’s also quite common to see egg cartons with a picture of happy hens in a field, milk with pastoral scenes of grazing cows, and meat stamped with labels such as “pasture-raised” or “grass-fed.” Sadly, these labels and pictures are all just marketing; they are not the reality for the animals from which these products are derived. However, through their new campaign #EndHumaneWashing, Animal Outlook, Factory Farming Awareness Coalition, and Farm Forward are shining a light on this manipulative marketing tactic.

On July 13th, this year’s Cow Appreciation Day, the groups launched a campaign to educate people about humanewashing and help them become more conscious consumers. The campaign defines humanewashing as “a collection of widespread marketing tactics designed to deceive us into believing that most meat, egg, and dairy companies care about the welfare of farmed animals far more than they actually do” in order to promote “the illusion of farmed animal well-being while hiding the extent of farmed animals’ illness, horrific suffering, and very early deaths.”

The campaign centers around a satirical short film, narrated by comedian Myq Kaplan. He takes on the role of an advertiser for various animal products, encouraging the audience to ignore the interspersed clips of animal suffering and instead focus on the positive images, such as a happy family, baby chicks, and cows in a field. The stark contrast between what the advertiser wants viewers to focus on and the real factory farm footage is incredibly effective at highlighting the heartbreaking reality of humanewashing.

Cheryl Leahy, Animal Outlook’s Executive Director, commented, “Corporations know that people really do care about animals and don’t want them to be mistreated, so they often choose to tell consumers what they want to hear, rather than allowing them to know the truth.” She continued, “Currently, almost 99% of farmed animals in the U.S. live on factory farms, and we hope this video gives people a glimpse into what we find time and again when we bring our hidden cameras into these places: cruelty is standard practice.”

“Consumers are being deceived at an unprecedented scale,” described, Andrew deCoriolis, Executive Director of Farm Forward. “While the most basic humanewashing tactics take the form of ‘all-natural’ or ‘free-range’ labels, even independent welfare certifications have become embroiled in the dirty business of humanewashing. The reality is that the certified ‘better’ meat dominating grocery shelves is still cruel and overwhelmingly derived from genetically modified, unhealthy animals.”

To learn more about humanewashing, read more on the #EndHumaneWashing page.

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