What constitutes humane treatment?

In Its Busy Season, Foie Gras Battles Its Image Problem. From the New York Times, another article about bans on foie gras production, though not necessarily any more information about the issue. Some producers are humane, some are less so, but this we already know. I admit some bias towards the issue as I adore foie gras, but honestly, banning its production on humanitarian (animalitarian?) grounds? That's a slippery slope for legislatures to proceed down, and one that I'm not entirely opposed to. But I'd hope for some consistency, what about more regulations for humane treatment of chickens and cows? American factory farming is hardly more humane than family-farm foie gras production.

It's a difficult issue on many fronts. My feeling is that it's important to be informed about the process, from how an animal is raised and treated during its life, to how its life is ended and it arrives in your market. When I returned to meat-eating after years of vegetarianism, I promised myself two things: to eat meat only when I really wanted it (as opposed to eating it out of laziness, not wanting to make a choice, etc.) and to be conscious of what meat entailed as I did so.

That sounds heavy and almost new-agey and annoying, but it's not. I find I'm now more in to eating meat and preparing it than ever, but I have a total different approach to the process (than my pre-vegetarian days). Now when I roast a whole chicken, I save the neck and livers for stock and pâtés. I buy local meat from the greenmarket and talk to the farmers and producers. Most importantly, when I eat any meat or animal product, including foie gras, I savor it.