Humanely Raised Widgets

On the road today, a billboard advertisement for Chipotle’s, a company owned (rather than a franchise operation) chain of restaurants, proclaimed colorfully: “Serving Humanely Raised Shredded Carnitas,” and noted, too, above this enterprising slogan that the meat used in their products is, “Responsibly Raised.”

Chipotle’s, which has suffered in some circles for its prior association with McDonald’s, sells what many feel to be delicious Mexican and Mexican-American dishes.  I imagine that’s true, though I haven’t been to one yet, and this isn’t about the quality of their food.

As a side note: McDonald’s invested in the company and in no time at all was its major investor, which enabled Chipotle’s to have the necessary capital for national expansion.  In 2006, McDonald’s divested itself completely from the company–along with its investments in other restaurant chains–in order to focus on its enterprise.

Back to the story.

What I found interesting were the “humanely raised” and “responsibly raised” phrases.  The implication is that there is an agreed upon, or standard understanding of, or some scientific basis for, or some set of government guidelines, or a series of farming methods that are used to raise animals humanely to be slaughtered.  And that some farmers are responsible while others?  Irresponsible!

In fact, “humanely raised” and “responsibly raised” mean absolutely nothing.  They are marketing terms.  They distract consumers from two far more important issues–namely, the taste of the food and labor practices.


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