(This article is part of my Culture of Fear series, which exposes different businesses, restaurants, and people that choose to spread lies and misconceptions about farmers in order to further their agenda or make a buck.)
Chipotle has been doing a lot lately to use fear in their advertising, but their new “scarecrow” commercial is the end of the line.
After some thought, I’ve decided to go ahead and share the video so you can see it here (and then follow up with my reaction and corrections).
Check out the advertisement:
From what I gather, Chipotle is trying to say three basic things about farming with this advertisement: 1) farmers are now just big corporate, scary entities that don’t give a lick about how they produce food; 2) our animals are mistreated; and 3) our animals are pumped full of antibiotics and hormones.
Unlike most advertising in the Culture of Fear, Chipotle wasn’t quite as subtle. The obvious suggestion here is that you should choose to spend your money at their restaurants because otherwise, you’re going to be eating really bad things.
Luckily, I’ve addressed all of these issues on the blog. So, here’s my response to Chipotle’s nonsense:
1) United States farmers are family farmers…and we care about our food.
As I have explained on this site before (article: Piercing the Corporate Farm Veil):
But according to the EPA, 90% of farms in the United States are family farms. Only 3% of the total farms are “corporate,” and 90% of those are still family farmed. (The other 6% are considered partnerships.)
There are a lot of really good reasons for a farm, family operated or not, to incorporate or form an LLC. Those business entities are given liability protection, have an easier time transferring from one generation to the next, and provides a safety net for the farm family. Further, why is it wrong for individuals who aren’t related to farm together? Certainly, friends enter into business agreements all the time. It is only in farming that we vilify those who want to work together simply for wanting to work together.
Most importantly, farmers care about the food they produce. We eat it too. We feed it to our kids. We want to produce the highest and best quality food so we can eat it too.
2) Farm animals are not mistreated.
If you weren’t aware of this one, you aren’t paying attention. As the people attempting to raise chickens in their urban backyards have realized, it isn’t romantic or sexy to raise animals. Actually, it’s a lot of hard work. Work that our farmers and ranchers are willing to do because, guess what, they actually like doing it.
Farmers make choices about how to care for their animals based on what’s best for the animal, recommendations from veterinarians, and through experience. For example, some people advocate that animals should be allowed to roam outside in the fresh air and without a fence. But we have reasons for keeping animals indoors — to protect them and take care of them. We use gestation crates to take care of and protect the piglets. Animals are treated humanely on farms, including during slaughter.
Anyone that has seen a distorted video from a farm, or believes otherwise needs to spend some time with an animal farmer and you’ll see the compassion, dedication, and persistence.
3) All meat is antibiotic and hormone-added free.
When you purchase meat at the grocery store there will be no traces of antibiotics or added hormones in it. In fact, federal law prohibits the use of hormones in poultry and pork.
As for those antibiotics, we use them when our animals get sick, not just for fun. When your kids get sick, you want to take care of them; we do the same. In fact, people and their pets use 10 times as much antibiotics as our animal industry. You don’t have to be concerned about antibiotics in your meat — it isn’t there.
As one scientist said, “It’s All Antibiotic Free, Baby!”
Shame on Chipotle for using lies and fear to sell food. Instead of thanking the farmers that are supplying their product, they decided to just tell everyone how bad they are.
I hope you’ll join me in not patronizing these sleazy business practices.