October 14 2008, 12:12 PM
Last week, when the Denver-based nonprofit American Humane turned 131, its president and CEO, Marie Belew Wheatley, raised her glass in her organization's honor, reminding her guests that Chipotle and Marczyk Fine Foods prioritize humanely raised proteins over organic ones. And for good reason: Responsible ranchers and farmers give their cows antibiotics, though only when they are sick (to help nurse them back to health) and let their chickens run completely fence free. Organic products never benefit from the positive influences of antibiotics--a farmer cannot receive a USDA organic certification if his animals are subject to such medication--and they are not necessarily raised on a truly free range. Over the years, American Humane has developed a seal for its certified products (look for the red farmhouse and blazing sun, wrapped in a yellow circle), which ensures the tagged products are ethically produced--a reason in and of itself to raise a glass.