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Writing about humane farming issues by Caroline Abels, founder of Humaneitarian. Your comments and feedback welcome. (All replies are screened and posted, if thoughtful and respectful.)

Humane restaurants open in NY, CT

January 5, 2012

What’s a “humane restaurant”?  Like the phrase “humanely raised,” that’s open to interpretation.  It could be a restaurant that serves any kind of alternative meat, or only grass-fed beef or cage-free eggs — or one that gives decent breaks to the waiters.

But here’s another definition:  a restaurant where all or some of the meat comes from farms that are humane certified — audited annually by one of the four organizations in the U.S. that offer animal welfare certification.

Recently, two restaurants that are “humane certified” through different certification programs opened in the Northeast. Grazin’, a diner in Hudson, N.Y., is the first restaurant to be approved by the Animal Welfare Approved (AWA) program. All of its meat, eggs and dairy products come from AWA-certified farms. Meanwhile, Connecticut’s Plan B Burger Bar, which is Certified Humane, opened a fourth location in Milford. All of its restaurants serve Certified Humane beef.

At Grazin’, housed in a 1950’s style diner, the fare is diner-esque: grilled cheese, chili, burgers, homemade ice cream. Nearly all the food comes from within 11 miles of the restaurant, and they serve eight different kinds of burgers using 100% grass-fed beef sourced from a farm that’s run by the restaurant’s owner, Dan Gibson. Grazin’s basic burger is $9.95 with fries. (Hudson Valley blogger Sam Pratt has posted a price comparison chart showing that this price in in keeping with other high-quality burgers in the area.) To be an AWA-approved restaurant, all of the meat, eggs and dairy served in a restaurant must be AWA certified.

At Plan B Burger Bar, the beef isn’t 100% grass-fed but it is Certified Humane. (Their basic burger, one of many items on the enormous menu, is $9.99, on par with the Grazin’ burger.) To become Certified Humane, a restaurant must buy at least 100% of one major ingredient from a Certified Humane farm or farms. In addition to Plan B, there are four other Certified Humane restaurants, with several currently in the application process. [Note: As of 2013, Plan B is no longer certified by Certified Humane.]

We’ll keep you posted on other eateries that serve reasonably-priced, down-home grub from humane certified animals.

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