Thursday, February 23, 2012

Chipotle's Fairy Tale

There's something about this advertisement for the Chipotle fast food chain that's as fairy-tale as the fairy tale the factory farms would have us believe:

I mean, can we ever return to this? Completely free-range, not even fences? No coops? (No foxes?) No animal waste or pollution? No industrial means of fortifying soil for pasture? No industrial feed? And increase "output?" (Ugh, "output" is such a derogatory word to use to reference life.)

I don't purport to know from whence Chipotle acquires its pork. But I have a feeling some pork suppliers are businesspeople with a eye for the black line at the bottom, and a willingness to, as former hog farmer Blake Hurst says, "join the entertainment industry, selling expensive pork chops with heaping sides of nostalgia," if it serves them.

5 comments: said...

Bix, I'm getting very confused by this whole Chipotle's back-and-forth.

1. First, I saw the Chipotle's video recently.
CONCLUSION: I decided to start eating at Chipotle's again.

2. But then I read your blog post, with the reference to the Chipotle's criticisms from "former hog farmer Blake Hurst," and I had second thoughts.
CONCLUSION: Maybe I won't eat at Chipotle's after all.

3. So then I did a little Google search, and I found that the "former hog farmer Blake Hurst" you mentioned is the Missouri Farm Bureau President. Just an industry hack? Maybe Chipotle's is okay after all.
CONCLUSION: I think I will eat at Chipotle's.

4. But then I found something that really made me decide to support Chipotle's: The other side told a big fat lie. The original Hurst article said, reasonably, "... for all we know, pigs are “happier” in warm, dry buildings than they are outside." But then things changed. An industry website, said

“We know pigs are ‘happier’ in warm, dry buildings,” writes Missouri hog farmer Blake Hurst in his Feb. 19 editorial to the New York Times.

Do you see the difference? The industry version changed "for all we know" to "We know".

Bix, I don't like fairy tales any more than you do. But I despise sleazy liars. If industry groups are going to lie about Chipotle's, I'm back to eating at Chipotle's.

Bix said...

How about that. It's so hard to know what to believe. Love the detective work.

I don't know what Chipotle's does. What ruffles my feathers is the insinuation that food from animals can be procured, in mass quantities, in the manner depicted in this cartoon.

I read that ... Most eggs come from chickens whose beaks have been mutilated. Even "humanely raised", organic, free-range chickens are debeaked. Male chicks are routinely discarded since they don't lay eggs. Male pigs are castrated, even in free-range operations like Niman's. Dairy cows are kept unnaturally pregnant so they can keep producing milk, which causes mastitis. Their offspring are weened too early so humans can take the milk.

In the case of the eggs, I even contacted several organic producers and found not one who didn't debeak.

I'm sure there are exceptions to the above. Maybe Chipotle's buys from those exceptions.

There could be a better way to raise livestock. You could develop standards to eliminate the most egregious practices. But I find it hard to believe we will ever return to the fairy tale of this video.

Leo said...

I love the animation of that commercial. Haha, I know it seems I always miss the point of your posts, but I'm easily distracted, lol. I try not to think about where my food comes from, I know that's probably not the best way to think about it. Was a very serene commercial, very much like a fairy tale.

Dr. Mel said...

I don't understand this at all. I don't eat at such places, but does Chipotles state, right out, that it sources its pork and other meat from humanely raised & slaughtered sources? If so, how can they maintain their low prices? Did you have another post on Chipotles?

Bix said...

No other post, Melinda. I don't know where Chipotle's gets their food. But this video sure does imply an ethical source.