What is the Watch List?
All of the issues described at the Humane Eating Project cause intense suffering to animals. Some of these issues are particularly egregious and easy to find on a menu. Many people are so offended by the production of these foods that they don’t even want to step foot in a restaurant that serves them. The Watch List helps people avoid these restaurants altogether.
Items on the Watch List cannot currently be done in a humane way, whereas many of the other issues have the ability to be done humanely. For example, many factory-farmed pigs are kept in gestation crates, but this is not necessary and is banned on humanely raised farms. When you buy humanely raised pork, you know that no gestation crates were used. Contrastingly, a Watch List issue like veal cannot be done in a humane way, and there is no third party organization that certifies veal as humanely raised.
Why is it Needed?
Creating a watch list allows our users to easily see which restaurants serve Watch List items so they can be avoided. This makes it simple for people to avoid restaurants that serve Watch List items and encourage them to stop serving those items.
Watch List Items: (Warning: Graphic and emotional information. No images)
Foi Gras: Foie gras is the fattened liver of a duck or goose that has been fattened by force-feeding. This causes the liver to become 6-10 times the normal size. A worker uses a metal feeding tube to force the birds to eat several times more than they would voluntarily. The feeding tubes harms the birds’ throats and can severely injure or kill them if not used properly. The birds have impaired liver functions because of the swollen size. The liver’s size can be so big that it expands to other parts of the abdomen and makes it difficult to breathe.
How to spot on the menu: Often served at French restaurants as foie gras or pate de foie gras. Not all pate is foie gras (although that does not mean it is humane).
Veal: (Warning: Very Sad) Calves used for veal come from the dairy industry. Dairy calves are taken from their mothers within a day of being born. The male calves and half of the females are used for veal. * A majority of veal comes from veal crates, where the calves are kept in small, dark crates to keep them immobile. This limits muscle development so that the meat is more tender. While we applaud farms that do not use veal crates, all veal remains on the Watch List because of the cruel procedures of separation and short lives.
How to spot on the menu: Very simple – it will be clearly labeled as veal on the menu. It is most often served at Italian restaurants.
Shark Fin Soup: Shark fin soup is Chinese dish served on special occasions. Culturally, it is a luxury item and a symbol of wealth. Fishermen obtain the fins by catching a shark, removing its fin, and then returning it to the ocean – all while the shark is still alive. Without its fin, the shark is unable to swim properly. They sink to the bottom of the ocean or are eaten by other predators.
Shark fin soup has been banned in some countries and a handful of states. Demand for the dish has decreased significantly in recent years thanks to awareness campaigns.
How to spot on the menu: Served in Chinese restaurants as Shark Fin soup.
What can you do?
Now: Think twice before patronizing restaurants on the Watch List. If you find a restaurant that is serving a watch list item, add it to our database.
In the Future: We hope to add a petition feature in a future release that would allow users to better communicate with Watch List restaurants. For every 50 users who sign a petition, a letter will be sent to the restaurant with information on humane eating and how serving humane options can improve their bottom line. This will help restaurants quantify the impact of their menu choices and give them concrete, actionable data. Personal information will never be shared.