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Chipotle Jumps on Animal Rights Bandwagon to Revive Image

Sigh. Some people will never learn from their mistakes.

Chipotle, the chain Mexican restaurant, recently announced that it would ask its chicken producers to transition away from certain strains of the birds, specifically moving away from faster growing breeds. The company, which uses 140 million pounds of chicken each year, cites animal welfare as the reason.

Of course animal rights activist groups were thrilled by the announcement, because they have tried to create a narrative that such breeds are unhealthy and poorly treated. As reported on MSN:

Josh Balk, vice president of farm animal protection for the Humane Society of the U.S., told Fortune that the momentum building around fast-growing chickens mirrors the surge that led to industry-wide changes on other animal-welfare issues including gestation crates and cage-free eggs.

The reality is that these fast growing chickens were bred to grow so quickly, not stuffed with growth hormones or steroids. Life on the farm for chickens is improving, even over the last 25 years of increased growth has taken place, with better housing, better disease protection, and healthier nutrition plans. Since the widespread adoption of these larger breeds the chicken industry has seen indicators of better overall health in the animals.

As Chicken Check In explains:

All poultry meat is carefully inspected for quality, signs of disease, limb and leg problems and bruising – all good indicators of the bird’s health before it was processed. Chicken meat that does not pass this inspection is removed from the food supply. Even as chickens have increased in size, there has been major decline in the amount of poultry meat that has been rejected during this phase of inspection (the technical term for which is “condemnation”) – showing that bird health has been consistently improving over time.

The life of the average chicken is definitely better than it has ever been!

But back to Chipotle. The company has been in a little bit of trouble lately. Following a rash of foodborne illness outbreaks linked to the restaurant, there was a sharp decline in profits. Further scandals, such as drug charges against one if its executives, has left the restaurant scrambling to clean up its image. Of course, instead of just focusing on making good food, Chipotle has resorted to its old tried and true tactic – beating up on family farmers.

At this point, the long history the company has criticizing agriculture seems well known. The company’s campaign “Food with Integrity.” The advertisement “The Scarecrow.” Its online mini-series mocking farmers. So on and so forth. Let me clue you guys in: it isn’t working. Using American farmers as your punching bag isn’t raising your ratings or endearing anyone to your food. Instead of continuing on this same course of action, the more prudent thing is probably just to sell people on your product.

Instead of bashing us all of the time, convince people they actually want to eat your food.

What a crazy, ground-breaking idea!


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