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Articles by Michelle Venetucci Harvey

Michelle Venetucci Harvey is a marketing and communications intern at the Sightline Institute. She also doubles as a senior at the University of Washington, where she focuses on urban food systems and spends her free time at the UW Farm.

Featured Article

Humane touch: Which of these sows is being treated “humane”-ly? According to the National Pork Board, which permits use of the gestation crates in the lefthand photo, they both are.Photos: Humane Society (left), Clark Summit Farm (right)

Americans face a dizzying array of food labels. There’s organic, all-natural, sustainable, cage-free, whole grain, and heart-healthy, to name a few.

Pop quiz: Which of these is backed by legally enforceable guidelines? Answer: Only organic. (And even that one has loopholes, such as the practice of giving chickens access to outdoor spaces but not requiring that the birds actually spend any time outside.)

The rest of these labels can be interpreted by food producers in many different ways. That’s also true for “humane,” which you may have noticed is cropping up more and more.

Whole Foods recently rolled out a humane labeling system and both Safeway and Supervalu have made animal welfare pledges. Meanwhile, even Big Meat is getting in on the act — and we do mean acting. The Humane Society has filed a class-action lawsuit against Perdue for the company’s “alleged false... Read more

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