Craig Watts and Compassion in World Farming
Working in partnership to create a more fair, humane, and sustainable food and farming system.
Started 1 petition
USDA: Stop labeling factory farm chicken as “humanely raised”
My name is Craig Watts, and I’m a farmer for one of the biggest chicken companies in the United States -- Perdue. After 22 years under contract, I couldn’t stay silent any longer about the so-called “humanely raised” and “cage free” chicken consumers often pay a premium for at the supermarket. Consumers were being hoodwinked, so I joined forces with Compassion in World Farming to open the doors of my chicken houses to the world. Consumers were right to be outraged, and this is a chance to take action. Please sign our petition asking the USDA to stop putting their stamp of approval on factory farmed meat. When the USDA Process Verified label appears on chicken, we should feel good about buying it for our families, right? These chickens are verified by the USDA to be “humanely raised” and “cage free,” but that does not have any real meaning. If you want proof, look no further than this video The Washington Post says “flies in the face of Perdue's marketing, and … undermines the credibility of labeling that has been vetted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.” Nearly all chickens raised for meat, including those in the USDA’s Process Verified Program, live in dimly lit barns with no access to natural light. With 30,000 birds crowded into one house, each chicken has less than a single square foot of space. The chickens are genetically bred to grow so big, so quickly their legs often cannot support their own unnaturally large weight. Last year, Perdue was sued for false labeling and agreed to remove the word “humane” from its chicken packaging. So why is the USDA still verifying these chickens, and others raised in similar conditions, as humane? The cage free claim is also misleading because no meat chicken in America is ever raised in a cage. There is nothing humane about factory farming. The solution lies in consumers demanding transparency and accountability from the industry and the government. Compassion in World Farming has attempted to work with the USDA on this issue, and two prominent US Senators recently urged the USDA to update their labeling policy to ensure meaningful animal welfare claims. Despite these efforts, the USDA has done nothing. It’s time for consumers to let their voice be heard. Please join me and Compassion in World Farming in asking USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack to stop verifying factory farmed chicken as “humanely raised” and “raised cage free.” Consumers deserve better.