In a blatant case of the pot calling the kettle black, Tyson Foods recently challenged fellow poultry giant Perdue Farms, Inc., by way of the National Advertising Division (NAD). The advertisement in question — painting all of Perdue’s chickens as organic and “happy” —was found to be misleading.
Perdue recently began broadcasting these ads on YouTube and television, depicting chickens mingling freely in green pastures with CEO Jim Perdue and his two sons.
While the ad was for Perdue’s Harvestland Organic line, that specific logo was only shown for a short time. According to the NAD’s evaluation, this detail led consumers to believe that all of Perdue’s chicken might be organic, when really the organic line comprises a mere 0.7% of production.
Additionally, the advertisement referred to Perdue’s chickens as “happy”….but we know that this pastoral image of the organic, free-range chicken is far removed from reality.
In fact, while many consumers trust in the “organic” label to represent a certain standard of animal welfare, the label has no meaningful standards regarding how broiler chickens are treated.
Even chickens raised for organic meat suffer from health issues from rapid growth and endure cruel body mutilations like debeaking.
The irony is in who actually challenged this idea of “happy” chickens. Perdue competitor Tyson brought the ads to the attention of the NAD, citing misleading information regarding both the organic status as well as humane treatment. NAD recommended that Perdue modify or discontinue these ads. Perdue plans to appeal this decision to the National Advertising Review Board.
Tyson, while correct about the unhappiness of Perdue chickens, doesn’t have much room to squawk. Both of these companies commit cruel atrocities against the chickens they raise for food. This includes breeding for rapid growth, which results in a life of pain for broiler chickens. Many of these chickens, stuffed into warehouses with hardly any space to move, die from health complications even before they can be shipped to slaughter.
In fact, in 2017, a Compassion Over Killing investigator working inside a Virginia factory farm raising chickens for Tyson documented shockingly cruel treatment of chickens…despite Tyson’s public commitment to “animal well-being.”
This was the second COK investigation in a year and a half revealing abuse of birds, including the effects of rapid growth, in Tyson’s supply chain. A 2016 COK investigation revealed egregious violence at multiple Tyson broiler breeder facilities, resulting in unprecedented charges and convictions, and prompted the end of a brutal practice at Tyson and Perdue.
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Featured image from COK investigation of a Tyson contract farm, not Perdue.