Tyson Foods Invests in Plant Protein–But Continues Rampant Chicken Cruelty

by Stuart McDonald

Tyson Food

The world’s largest poultry producer, Tyson Foods, announced another plant-fueled investment, funding a company producing vegan protein from mushroom roots. Though this is a positive step showing that companies are reacting to consumer demand by investing in plant protein, Compassion Over Killing continues to take Tyson to task for its failure to do better by birds.

Pivoting to Plant Protein

Since COK’s gut-wrenching investigation exposed egregious abuse and the devastating effects of rapid growth of birds in Tyson’s supply chain, more than a quarter million people have signed our petition. In response, the poultry giant has taken some promising steps: increasing investment in cruelty-free plant protein maker Beyond Meat, and even announcing its own line of plant-based bowls.

Now, the company has stepped up again by joining Kellogg and other food giants in funding MycoTechnology’s PureTaste, a new “clean label plant-based protein” produced through the fermentation of shiitake mycelium.

Still, Tyson has failed to address a major source of suffering in the hundreds of millions of birds it breeds every year: rapid growth. These birds have been genetically manipulated to grow so unnaturally large, so quickly that they can suffer heart attacks and their fragile legs often collapse under their own morbidly obese bodies — all before they’re even 2 months old!

…But Still Expanding Chicken Production

Although Tyson is investing in non-animal protein companies, the poultry giant continues to expand, putting communities at risk. Despite hearing powerful citizen testimony about the company’s dismal environmental, animal welfare, and workers’ rights records, this week the City of Denton, Texas, voted to grant Tyson Foods an incentives package for a new warehouse.

In an attempt to fight this dangerous decision, local resident Aminat Abiola spoke on behalf of petition signers and Compassion Over Killing, describing the horrors documented by COK’s back-to-back investigations of the poultry giant and then concluded, “If Denton cares about its citizens and the livelihood and freedom of animals, it should not use public money to support a company that treats its workers as scapegoats while turning billions in profits from extreme cruelty.”

Others also spoke out against Tyson’s environmental and workers’ rights abuses, with one citizen asking, “What message are we sending when we give tax incentives to companies who have a history of taking advantage of blue-collar workers, minorities, and poor folk?”

But these concerns went unheard, with the mayor asserting that he would support the Tyson proposal from a business perspective rather than being swayed by  “emotional” arguments–immediately prompting criticism from City Councilmember Deb Armintor (who had stated a moral opposition to the Tyson incentive package) that he had dismissed women as “emotional.”

Ultimately, the city failed to hold Tyson accountable, voting 4-3 to grant the incentives package.

You can stand up against this rampant cruelty and demand that Tyson be held accountable and stop torturing young birds. Start by signing and sharing our petition, then make your next meal a vegan one. For help getting started, check out TryVeg.com for compassionate vegan recipes.

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