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The Humane Hoax: New Book Exposes the “Happy Meat” Myth

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The Humane Hoax: New Book Exposes the “Happy Meat” Myth

Open pasture, happy cows. By JonathanHLee and Humane Hoax book by Lantern Publishing

The new book Humane Hoax exposes the myth of Happy Meat, Humane Dairy, Ethical Eggs, and other forms of modern propaganda from the animal agriculture industry.

 

Jane Velez-Mitchell showing the Humane Hoax book
Jane Velez-Mitchell showing the Humane Hoax book

Los Angeles, May 7th, 2023 — Lantern Publishing & Media has a new book titled “The Humane Hoax: Essays Exposing the Myth of Happy Meat, Humane Dairy, and Ethical Eggs.” It features a range of thought-provoking essays from 18 experts who lay out every aspect of animal agriculture’s modern propaganda machine. It’s a must-read for anyone who wants to learn how powerful forces are working furiously to program consumers to continue eating meat and dairy, even in the face of that industry’s crippling impact on the climate, wildlife, farmed animals and human health.

Putting the Lies into Sharp Focus

As people become increasingly aware of the animal agriculture industry’s cruelty and environmental destruction, its marketers, PR agents and lobbyists are reacting by doubling down on “humane” and “sustainable” labeling and humanewashing marketing campaigns. Given the news media’s dependence on this very industry for advertising dollars and the paucity of government oversight, it’s crucial that people get educated on how to see through this duplicitous marketing. This book is like a pair of binoculars, putting the lies into sharp focus.

With contributions from Robert Grillo of Free From Harm, Dr. Sailesh Rao of Climate Healers, Dr Lisa Barca, Eugene Soul Eubanks of Apex Advocacy, noted feminist Carol J. Adams, and others, this book is a game-changer. UnchainedTV’s Jane Velez-Mitchell interviewed Hope Bohanec, Executive Director of Compassionate Living and the editor of the book, as well as Robert Grillo, one of its authors. You can watch the entire conversation here:

What is Humanewashing?

Hope Bohanec, Compassionate Living
Hope Bohanec, Compassionate Living

Hope Bohanec has been active in animal protection and environmental activism for 30 years. She previously authored the book “The Ultimate Betrayal: Is There Happy Meat?” She is the Executive Director of Compassionate Living (where the proceeds from the new book will go) and the host of the Hope for the Animals Podcast. Hope co-founded the Humane Hoax Project and the Ahimsa Living Project, and has organized hundreds of online and in-person events, including the Humane Hoax Online Conference, the Humane Hoax Chicken Webinar, and the Sonoma County VegFest.  She explains and defines for us the meaning of a humane hoax:

“A quick definition is that new labeling and marketing of animal products that we’re seeing now convey a false sense of some kind of improvement in the industry, either ethically or environmentally. Humanewashing, greenwashing, that’s the Humane Hoax. And it can be labels, language, websites, all those stories that they’re telling consumers trying to ease their concerns.”

Part of the humane hoax involve lies claiming improvements in the conditions of the animals bred for slaughter.  Another part of the hoax has to do with greenwashing, lies that downplay the horrific environmental impact of meat and dairy. Bohanec notes, “Greenwashing is the environment aspect where we’re seeing labels like ‘sustainable’ and ‘regenerative grazing’ and ‘grass-fed.’ All these things that, once again, are trying to kind of ease consumer concerns about the detrimental environmental impact of animal agriculture.”

“The humane hoax is a reaction by the industry to our success…back in the 90s and the 2000s, you didn’t see any of these ‘humane’ labels.” — Hope Bohanec, Compassionate Living

Robert Grillo, Free from Harm
Robert Grillo, Free from Harm

Robert Grillo has 20 years of experience in the field of branding, design and communications. He is the founder and director of Free from Harm, an animal protection organization based in Chicago. Grillo wrote one of the chapters in the Humane Hoax, and he explains what his focus was:

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I focused on a new documentary film, but basically, I wanted to look at popular culture… advertising and different examples of humanewashing in popular culture.  I try to shine a light on it and offer maybe a different way of interpreting it, and how it’s manipulating consumers and the public in general.”

Through his work, he has firsthand experience of what the humane hoax is. He said the following:

“We have looked at some of the highest welfare producers in the country and looked at the conditions of some of the animals. We have gone to producers that we know, and they tell us they could never guarantee that they could avoid these conditions. So, we’re hearing it from the animal producers themselves. What more do we need to be convinced that humanewashing is just a façade?”

The Desire for Plausible Deniability

The book suggests that the whole intention behind the humane hoax is to intercept the vegan narrative so that people, who  are feeling guilty about their consumer choices and leaning towards a plant-based lifestyle, can backtrack and assure themselves that eating meat and dairy is morally alright. However, numerous undercover investigations into factory farms  and slaughterhouses in recent years have revealed overt, gut-wrenching cruelties caught on tape. The videotape speaks for itself, providing the best antidote to fanciful marketing…. if consumers can bring themselves to watch.  We invite anyone from the animal agriculture industry on to comment.

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