There are many strategies towards the minimization of the suffering of nonhuman animals; e.g., raising awareness, pressuring the legislative system into developing protective measures, using economic means to force big food companies into vegan/vegetarian options and propaganda, etc.

One particular strategy I've been pondering about lately is the 'raising awareness' strategy. Even though we have many great vegan advocators (such as Earthling Ed, Alex O'Connor, and Peter Singer), loads of well-educated people won't even bother entering the moral arena to argue for their point of view. Asking people to reconsider their entire diet is a really hard thing to do after all. Thus, I've started considering certification programs as a nice gateway for these people who won't be reached by 'the vegan dialogue' to contribute for the minimization of suffering. The argumentation is far less complicated and the outcomes look great as an intermediate step. That is, I hope they will eventually be brought to think about the ways in which they help protect the animals. If they have some notions of economy and stumble across the right figures, they might naturally develop the wish for being vegans.

However, this all leaves me wandering: are these organizations (specially Certified Humane) requiring enough? Furthermore, are they monitoring their requirements enough so as to guarantee that most of what is being asked is being followed?

If the answer to either of these questions is No, how can we, both as consumers and citizens, pressure them into doing it right?

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    Welcome to the site! This could be an interesting point of discussion, but I think it's too opinion-based and open-ended to be properly answerable in the Stack Exchange format.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Commented Jul 30, 2021 at 10:55
  • @Randal'Thor I read the link and it seems to me that my question is a subjective but constructive question that will eventually be searched for and won't be found if not for here. I'm glad to accept edits so as to polish it and make it more constructive. Commented Jul 30, 2021 at 12:49
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    I've written a blog post on why I don't think it's a good strategy, I think you'll find it interesting: veganconclusion.wordpress.com/2018/01/28/…
    – Alex Hall
    Commented Aug 2, 2021 at 22:18
  • @AlexHall that's awesome... If you would perhaps consider writing a summary of the main points of your argument there in a post here (or just reproduce it all - it's less than the character limit (see section 6 of the Terms of Service for licensing stuff)) I think it would be a great answer.
    – Zanna
    Commented Aug 3, 2021 at 16:32
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    I don't see any need to change the question (but I do think that the huge wall of comments is a bit of an issue and should end up somewhere else - in a post of your own perhaps - comments are meant to be ephemeral) but if you prefer to change it then since nobody has answered it yet I don't think you would be treading on any toes if you do.
    – Zanna
    Commented Aug 4, 2021 at 2:53

1 Answer 1


After discussing in the comments with Alex, I realized that some of the assumptions I had made when writing the question were too strong. Namely, I had assumed that a great majority of the well-educated people who started to eat certified products would stick to it for the sake of the animals or their own well-being (these products tend not to have antibiotics/hormones). However, as Alex points out in his blog post, there is no hard commitment from the part of ethical omnivores, as can be seen by an almost inexistent community built around it. For this reason, they are more likely to only respect their decision from time to time, or worse, to quit it entirely (one driving factor for it may be high prices). This conclusion undermines my question in two ways: first, it is likely (and I am starting to notice it now) that this light weight decision - that is, to exclusively buy certified products - will not bring people to reflect about the conditions of animals; second, as it is probably the case that not many people will become committed to buying certified products, the need for us activists to optimize the hole situation, i.e., to make sure the suffering incurred by these products is minimized as much as possible (requirements and monitoring are the strictest possible), becomes less important. Nevertheless, since these products will still be bought in non neglectable amounts (the amount of research animals that suffer from exploitation is orders of magnitude less than the amount of animals that suffer from the meat industry, but we fight for their well-being nonetheless), I take the time to answer my latter question in the negative: animal liberation activists (mainly vegan/vegetarian) probably can't do much to improve the situation.

In what ways could an animal liberation activist pressure certification programs to do their jobs better? Besides the usual protesting, which I think will go on in a way that is independent of certification programs (the rights we claim such as minimum standing areas and less invasive procedures apply to all farms, not just factory farms), the only other way I can think of is economical pressure. That is, to make pressure by not buying products from weakly certified brands. However, most of us activist wouldn't be buying them anyway (there are those who acknowledge the issues of factory farming but still desire to eat meat, however, as we said, they are either a minority or not as dedicated to the cause as would be necessary to implement change). Thus, I don't see anything unique to certified products that would compel exclusive action/consideration from the part of activists.

Note: I am still curious about my first pair of questions.

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