Chipotle You Are Serving More Than Burritos

Oh Chipotle,

I thought you had topped it with your 2011 Super Bowl advertisement featuring Willie Nelson’s “Back to the Start” song, but I was wrong. This morning between classes I watched your new Scarecrow Video.

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After painfully watching your three minute video I felt a range of emotions. The feeling that hit me the most wasn’t anger, but sadness.  Erica who must work doing social media for @ChipotleTweets didn’t get it. It appears that she assumed I was sad because of the “bad food” found in the barren grassless, cropless, treeless land the video portrayed, I was sad because this is not at all the way we treat and raise our animals and produce our nation’s food supply. I was also sad because people out there will watch this video and assume that is the way things are.

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The ways food production was portrayed in the video is what made me sad, sad because myself and 2.2 million other Americans work so hard grow food for our families and yours and it looks NOTHING like what Chiptole says farming today looks like. I have NEVER seen anyone raise cattle in a metal box with flashing lights.

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All the dairy farms I have ever been to do not use such housing for their cattle. I always enjoy seeing Will Gilmer (@GilmerDairy on Twitter) of Sulligent, Alabama’s pictures on Twitter, Instagram, Vine etc. of his Holsteins enjoying green fields and sunshine. Chiptole if you have visited a dairy farm where cows are raised in such a container please share with me, I’d like to see it.

dairy cow Holstein Alabama pastures

Gilmer Dairy: Follow Will on Twitter to see what he does on a daily basis on his farm in North Alabama

I’m also not sure why you show chickens being “pumped” with hormones.

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Don’t you know that giving chickens hormones is illegal? It doesn’t happen. According to my poultry science professor Dr. Wallace Berry hormones do not even benefit chickens not to mention it would be too labor intensive. Don’t believe me? The University of Georgia has a great article on 7 Reasons Why Chickens are not Fed Hormones https://www.poultryventilation.com/tips/vol24/n4.

Chiptole if you believe in “honesty” and “integrity” why on earth would you make a video and a game filled with such false and misleading information. To be honest if I didn’t know any better I would probably jump on the band wagon with you. However, I am smarter than that, I am not going to fall for a marketing stunt and I would hope the American public wouldn’t, but in today’s society that would be very wishful thinking.

I have never and will NEVER eat at one of your restaurants. What a wonderful opportunity as a seller of food  you could have to give people a glimpse of how their food is raised, people are curious, more and more people are living off the farm today than ever before. You could make advertising campaign into a positive one instead of one using fear. Considering you sell food I would hope you have been to a farm, but from your video I would guess you haven’t. Myself and many others would love for you to visit a farm (I can find you one anywhere in the country to visit you just let me know). If you were to see what REAL agriculture is like, I think you would agree it looks nothing like your video or your app.

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22 thoughts on “Chipotle You Are Serving More Than Burritos

  1. Anna, I agree that the video was sensationalized, as much propaganda is; but it seems you are either unaware that, while Chipotle took creative license in making this video, in industrial agriculture (and other industries), many animals are inhumanely imprisoned, mutilated, tortured, and slaughtered- or you are aware but content to let it remain unknown to your readers. I hope it is the former. Have you not seen any of the videos of industrial animal abuse online? I daresay that it is not uncommon in today’s world, and at least Chipotle attempted to stir up some degree compassion for the animals through their commercial, which I consider a good thing.

    • Okay Conor, if all you have seen are “videos online” are you now an expert on animal agriculture? If you found it online then it must be true right? Has it crossed your mind that people might actually be posting misleading information? It seems that either you are unaware that when raising livestock it works against the farmer to “mutilate” and “torture” the very creatures that he has to raise to feed his own family (we actually take very good care of our animals)- or you just don’t care to look at the actual facts by visiting these “inhumane” farms and want to jump on the bandwagon to gripe about something that you actually know nothing about. I truly hope it is the former. Did you know there are actually regulations about how livestock is raised and there are programs such as the Beef Quality Assurance and Pork Quality Assurance to make sure such events that you have described do not occur? It is deeply saddening to me that so many people think that farmers treat their animals like that and its commercials like this that give farmers a bad reputation unduly. Please consider actually going to visit a farm before you slam them.

    • In using your analogy, we should also assume parents abuse their children. Did you read the obituary that is making the news about an abusive mother? Her kids wanted the real story in her obituary told. So it must be completely true all parents abuse their children. Children are inhumanely being treated and tortured mentally and physically by those that brought them into this world.
      Yes, I have seen the heavily edited, spliced together videos of animal abuse. Everyone assumes from the few bad farmers that all do it. So from the few bad parents who do abuse their kids, we should put everyone into the same category? By the way, why so much editing, music and sound added to those videos? To purely exploit the few bad ones to make it look like all do it which is wrong. Why not report it quickly instead of hanging on to video for weeks or months purely for selfish media attention? To bring money to their cause which has very little given to actual animal care.
      Chipotle took more than creative license (exploitation). They are in it for the money and will be “creative” in making people believe you should spend your money on their food. I’ve tried them once and the food was not all that good, full of salt and fat. Not good at all and spent the better part of later that day in the bathroom many times.

    • There are a lot of videos out there that show cruel and inhumane living areas for farm animals. Mainly huge commercial farms. Have you ever seen any movies on the slaughter house treatments? Netflixs has quite a few.

      • Kari, thanks for reading! There are quite a few videos out there depicting farm animal abuse. These are typically not a true representation of typical animal welfare on farms, they are usually staged. This is why laws have been passed in several states to protect farmers from people videoing on their farms. It is not because we have anything to hide, we want people to be interested in how their food is raised. Temple Grandin has an excellent video showing the inside of a cattle slaughter facility I highly recommend it https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VMqYYXswono. I have personally worked in a poultry processing facility and I was amazed at the extra steps they took to ensure that the chicken was not suffering.

    • As an educated agriculturalist Conor, I dare you to imagine a world where a business could mistreat its product and still thrive. I challenge you to further investigate the videos you mention in your response that are online. Do you not realize that anything can be posted online? Have you, as Anna Leigh requested, visited a large corporate farm? Have you seen this inhumane behavior, on a farm, firsthand? Or is is that you must resort to the “videos” posted online? Corporate farms, most of which are actually family farms and set up as a corporation for tax and business purposes, would not be able to function and be profitable if they mistreated their livestock as you say. If they did, how could they survive? Almost every farmers I have met, which is many since I am a leader in my county in an agricultural organization, treats his business with the utmost respect and care. While we have dominion over our livestock, we still care for them to completely. Our livelihood depends on it.

    • Conor, I would say that actually animal abuse cases are pretty rare. From time to time videos do surface of animal abuse and it is very unusual and untypical. Farmers are some of the most compassionate and caring members of our workforce. I do not know a single farmer who abuses his animals (and I know plenty in all regions of the country). I will say just like there are a few bad cops, teachers, etc. there are a few bad farmers out there who do not take good care of their animals, but it is not common. Most animal abuse videos that surface are footage taken months or even years before, they are often pieced together using clips from different farms and are often staged by trespassers. Anytime animal abuse is documented, proof should not be held for months after it occurs like many of the animal activists do. If you would be interested I would suggest that you take a look at 2 videos one visits a cattle slaughter facility and one a swine facility.
      Cattle: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VMqYYXswono
      Swine: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LsEbvwMipJI

      • Can we please just agree there there is a broad spectrum of animal welfare treatment between farms. Not all are good, and not all are bad! The ones that are cruel, however, do exist because they have slipped through FDA loopholes for decades. People don’t care to find out about the worst of what the industry has to offer, but it is real and must be stopped.

  2. Conor David Fagundes,

    I would like to comment briefly on your statement, “Have you not seen any of the videos of industrial animal abuse online?” I will agree with you that animals are abused in commercial settings, just like pets are abused, and helpless children with actual souls are abused. My question though to you is, how many FARMS have YOU been to on a daily, weekly, or we’ll even say monthly basis? I visit about 5 different farms daily. That is my job, most of which deals with preventing things like whichever videos you are speaking of from happening. Why? Because yes, a lot of people in this world neglect specific things without a second thought, just like I’m sure yourself and myself neglect certain things. Whether it is neglecting animals, our health, or even our families. Also, I would be curious to know how many farms the producers of those videos went to! My guess (yes an assumption, so shoot me) would be that they have more than likely only visited what we call “problem farms.” What is that? Standard protocol states that if someone observes animal abuse they are to report it to whichever company the farmer works for, and it will be handled as needed. These film producers probably hear f the calls, and finally decide to get out of their office because they have found something to support the assumptions they have and back up their targeted attacks. However, certain groups like to target only the problem areas! Not highlighting that companies are aware there is a problem, and they do EVERYTHING in their power to prevent them. All that these film producers and other groups/restaurants are concerned with is turning the public against farmers, making them ALL look like they have no concern for the welfare of the animal. If that’s the case, we should get together and turn the general population also against parents in general because they all abuse their children! Why not?! It’s the same concept isn’t it? And for one last thing, when companies like Chipotle succeed in putting farmers out of business, or other companies who only promote “organic” crops which are outrageously expensive to produce, what do you suppose those people will eat? Where will their food come from? I’m with Anna Leigh, they need to get out of their “creative” offices, and stop waiting for calls reporting abuse just so they can make a little money off of probably 1% of growers shortcomings while neglecting to show how well the other 99% treat their animals, and they need to take a field trip to some farms! Not just to see the bad, but actually spend the day there. Take the time to learn what it’s really all about! Thank you for your concern for the animals, as yes I will admit there is a problem. However, we do our best to prevent it, even to the point of that grower losing their job if they are on a contract. I hope you also take the time to truly research this topic by visiting all types of farms, and not just believing everything you see on the Internet. But then again like the State Farm commercial says, “They can’t put anything on the Internet that isn’t true.” Right?!

    • Thanks for your comments Terri, it sounds like you spend a lot of time on farms around animals. Your perspective is very helpful in this situation, it just helps to reiterate the lengths agriculturalist take to ensure animal welfare.

  3. I actually loved the advertisement. This is the first semi-fastfood place that’s even attempting to expose the meat industry for its animal cruelty. If you think that the animals are being treated well in the farms across America that are mass-producing meat, then you must not have done all your research. After being vegan for nearly 7 years, I’ve done just about all the research that I could possibly do and I promise you it’s not as pretty as you’re making it sound. While some farms may treat their animals humanely, most do not. Companies like Tyson force their chickens to live their lives in dark and crowded rooms; I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t sound humane. I understand where you’re coming from, truly I do. But perhaps you should try to look at the other side as well.
    You are an excellent writer, though. I’m happy to have come across your blog.

    • Hi, Debra.
      I’m not sure how you’ve conducted your research on the meat industry, but Anna Leigh’s hands-on experience working within the industry across the entire nation goes a bit beyond research and firmly establishes her credibility as an agricultural communications specialist. As a writer myself, I know that it’s important to critically examine your sources to determine their amount of credibility because there are some pretty great writers and media specialists out there who don’t exactly present the truth because of underlying motives (like making money). Anna Leigh is not simply a person with an opinion, but someone with the experience, knowledge, and resources to validate the information she presents. She is a professional. Please just be aware that a lot of unprofessional people will present false information in clever ways that often nip at the public’s heart strings because it is the easiest and cheapest way to make bank. Anna Leigh is not saying that animal cruelty doesn’t happen or that there are no bad farmers. She is saying that American agriculture is being generalized and misrepresented through this particular Chipotle video advertisement, and it is not fair to the people who are being misrepresented, as they work very hard to do the right things and provide for their families.

  4. I think you are all misunderstanding me. I took issue with this single statement: “I was sad because this is not at all the way we treat and raise our animals and produce our nation’s food supply.” You are essentially saying that “not at all”, not a single company in America abuses their livestock. I’ve been to several farms- I admit not many- and I have never been to a corporate farm, but have you been to every farm in America, any of you? Clearly, industrial animal abuse happens, because these videos do exist. I never made a definitive comment about how common the abuse is, simply that it does happen; while you, Anna, chose to ignore that fact completely in your post. That was my only issue.

    And Katie, in response to your “dare [that I] imagine a world where a business could mistreat its product and still thrive.” We live in that world. Those videos exist, and therefore, some company was mistreating its animals yet still was in business. And then there are the companies that mistreat their customers and their workers, and those companies exist, too. They will always exist as long as they can cut-corners and commit injustices yet till deceive people into thinking it doesn’t happen, or make them careless about whether or not it does.

    • It is difficult for a company to “thrive” while allowing animal abuse. Yes, the company may SURVIVE and not go out of business completely, but I guarantee you that it will not be in the top ranks of the same genre of company and will be struggling. I’ll speak for poultry because that’s what I do. ANY type of stress, which can be heat, cold, sudden noise, etc, negatively effects performance and can cost the company and farm owner money. If a bird that comes through the plant with even a bruise, that part of the bird is condemned (thrown away). No one wants to buy a chicken breast or wing that has a bruise on it. Those pounds can add up to Millions of dollars WEEKLY! We have regulations to give birds ample space depending on the size of bird grown, regulations for the amount of air that can be moved through the house per minute to keep the birds cool, even regulations for things like litter moisture. ALL of these things, even something like pest control, is all related to the welfare of the animal and its overall health. These regulations are in place for a reason, obviously. The industry recognizes the problem of animal abuse is there, and almost every move the industry makes is based on trying to prevent it.

      • Well, I think that is a great thing. And I cannot say whether or not a industrial agricultural company (IAC) is currently thriving in America while committing injustices against its animals. That is true. On another but similar note, I know of many companies that have thrived while committing great injustices against the world, including but not limited to Monsanto, PepsiCo., and Coca-cola. They are simply the ones that come most quickly to mind. So I don’t think it is impossible that an IAC could do the same. If our government were a truly just one, that would be impossible to take place without remedy, but our government is corrupt; so whether the top officials simply look the other way, or are paid off to allow the injustices, or are part of the injustices, I cannot deny the possibility that there exists at least one IAC that does commit injustices against its animals and not only survive but thrive.

  5. Although your blog was a wonderful read about your farm, I think it’s disingenuous of you to assume every farm is ethical. There are large corporate farms where the business of debeaking, massive and routine antibiotic use, over-milking cows whose udders are swollen, sore and full of pus, animals walking around in their own feces and the smell of death in the air on line at a slaughterhouse. For you to assume that ALL farms are small family farms where animal husbandry is fair and ethical only shows your lack of worldly knowledge. If everything was hunky-dory then filming on these farms would not now be an act of terrorism. Wake up and find out what really happens in your line of work and you will see why meat that is treated humanely (animal rating of 4) is expensive and the torture farms meats are on sale for 69¢/lb.

  6. Sorry but watch the making of video – Moonbot Studios set this in a dystopian future, an imagined future – not claiming that this is exactly how food production is today. I can’t believe you even thought the images were literal representations? You need to actually think critically and use your head. Your quote: “I have NEVER seen anyone raise cattle in a metal box with flashing lights.” HAHAHAHAHA an example of how stupid you are.

    • Sara: That may be what they say, but most people who watch this video are not going to realize that it is a “imagined future”. Chipotle is attempting to sell their brand/food today, not telling people their products will “be the best” in the future.

    • Sara, I’m sorry you chose to argue your point by attacking Anna Leigh’s intelligence. Spend a few minutes on her blog and you’ll soon see that she is a very intelligent, educated, and reliable young woman. Spend a few minutes on Google and you’ll find several blogs praising Chipotle for their genius new ad campaign and 100% buying into what they’re trying to sell, even if it is a lie.

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