Chipotle: Discontinue Deceptive "No Animal Cruelty" Marketing
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Chipotle is currently marketing their meat products as having "no animal cruelty" involved. Throughout a series of phone calls and emails, a PR person from the company stated that the ways the animals were killed was by putting them into electric water baths, stunning them and knocking them unconscious before slitting their throats. This is absolutely animal cruelty, and Chipotle should be ashamed of themselves for their false advertisement.
Chipotle: Do away with all "no animal cruelty" labels when describing dead animals and their byproducts. If anything, use it to describe the sofritas which is not derived from an animal that is eventually killed for a profit.
I'm starting this petition because I'm appalled that people are still buying this "humane meat" lie. After being on the road and eating at Chipotle restaurants regularly, I noticed that one of their cups had a picture of a pig with the following caption "100% vegetarian diet - room to roam - no animal cruelty." It went on to say how happy the pigs appeared to be at their farms, however it didn't say how the pigs were killed, how old they were when they were killed, or if they appeared happy when they were being slaughtered. I made a series of phone calls and finally got a PR rep on the phone.
I have the phone conversation recorded on my facebook page, and the rep herself said that there was "as least amount of harm as possible" which indicates that there is some level of cruelty involved. I asked her how old the animals were when they were killed, how they were killed and where I could see some of these happy pigs on the farms. If they were so happy, they would probably be transparent in letting their consumers see them, right?
She said she would get back to me via email. I've included our entire email correspondence below, but in short, she didn't tell me how old they were when they died, nor did she tell me where I could see these "happy" animals. She did however inform me that the animals are put into electric water baths, stunned and knocked unconscious before getting they get their throats slit.
When I said to the PR rep that that sounded like animal cruelty to me, she stated that Chipotle was passionate about the food they serve and how they source it. She also mentioned that Temple Grandin approved the standards, however she didn't mention if Temple Grandin was stunned, knocked unconscious or was asked to jump into an electric water bath at any point, but I'm willing to bet that none of those events took place.
This isn't a good look for Chipotle, and it's up us as consumers to let them know that their misleading marketing is distasteful and should absolutely be done away with.
Email correspondance below:
Original phone call link on October 15, 2018:
October 18, 2018
Thanks for speaking with me the other day. I appreciate that this is important to you. We put a great deal of care into making sure our suppliers' animals are slaughtered humanely. All our slaughtering facilities are audited multiple times a year by third parties and once a year by Chipotle's own internal auditors. Further, we ensure humane conditions during transport to the slaughter facility by requiring compliance with Truckers Quality Assurance guidelines.
As far as the gritty details, our animals are killed in industry-standard ways, which render the animals insensate before bleeding out. For chickens, it's primarily an electric water bath that renders the animal insensate. Our goal is to change this to a multi-step controlled-atmosphere processing system. See chipotle.com/chicken-welfare for more information.
For cows, a pneumatic captive bolt to the forehead instantly renders them unconscious; with pigs, it's an electric shock that does the same. A number of our pork suppliers use controlled atmospheric stuns to render the animals unconscious. All animals are slaughtered under or at 30 months of age.
I hope this helps, Greg! Again, I know how important it is to know things like this before making a dining choice. Don't hesitate to write back if you have any follow-up questions.
October 23, 2018
Thank you for following up and I apologize for the delayed response. I very much appreciate all of the information you have provided, however I'm still unclear as to how Chipotle can use the term "no animal cruelty" when the animals they are speaking of are getting bolts to their heads, being put in electric water baths and bleeding out, all at an age of far less than half of their natural lifespan.
When we spoke on the phone, I remember you saying the processes in which these animals were killed was "as pain-free as possible." That may be true, but we both agreed that there is still pain involved. I certainly would not want to be put in an electric water bath. Most would consider it animal cruelty if a dog or cat was put in one, so logically, wouldn't it still be considered animal cruelty if any animal was put into one?
In addition, you stated in your email that the killing of cows was done with "a pneumatic captive bolt to the forehead instantly rendering them unconscious." On multiple occasions throughout my life I have seen people get knocked unconscious after they took one blow to the face. My reaction to seeing such a thing was never "well I'm just glad there was no cruelty involved." It would be absurd for me to say such a thing, because hitting someone in the face and knocking them unconscious is a cruel thing to do. It's no different for an animal, regardless of their species.
A lot of people that respond favorably to the kind of marketing that Chipotle is using here often overlook that animals are killed at roughly the same age on these farms as they would be on any other farm. Female cows are usually killed at around 4 years old when their natural lifespan is around 20 years old. They're the luckiest and they only get to live one fifth of their natural lifespan, and it's only because they produce milk, otherwise, they'd be killed off much sooner like the males are. Female chickens are usually killed off before they reach two months old when their natural lifespan is around 8 years. Pigs on these farms would be incredibly fortunate to live a full year when their natural lifespans are around 10-12 years. If there is "no animal cruelty" involved, why are animals being killed before they can reach even a quarter of their natural lifespan?
As far as claiming the animals are "slaughtered humanely," that statement in itself is an oxymoron. To borrow a popular phrase that's used regularly throughout the animal rights community, "there is nothing humane that happens in a slaughterhouse." Just because there are people killing animals in more gruesome ways, doesn't mean that there is "no animal cruelty" involved when someone kills an animal in a slightly less gruesome way. It's still cruelty, and it's still inhumane.
In closing, I'd like to ask how we could go about removing this "no animal cruelty" term from Chipotle cups and any other material it may be on when describing, to be straight forward, dead animals that didn't want to die. It's false advertising and it's incredibly misleading and deceptive. If anything, keeping the term to describe the sofritas would be a cool idea because it would make a whole lot more sense in that context.
I have been posting about this on social media, and through my reach and the reach of the people that have shared it, I have seen/heard from hundreds of people (many of whom are also Chipotle customers) that have expressed their displeasure in the marketing. I'm not sure if a petition is seen as an effective method, but if Chipotle would be willing to remove the term after a certain amount of signatures, I would certainly be willing to get one started. Otherwise, please let me know of civil alternative methods of achieving this goal that would be productive.
I appreciate your correspondence and I look forward to continuing it with you.
Thank you again,
November 1, 2018
I wanted to touch base with you again in regards to the “no animal cruelty” labeling on the Chipotle cups. Have you had a chance to read over my last email? I think I made some fair points and I would really like to discuss how the messaging could be made more accurate on Chipotle’s materials. If you are not the go-to person for these kinds of things, is it possible for you to direct me to someone else within the company that I could speak to? I love Chipotle’s sofritas burritos and want to continue being a customer, but I’m a little discouraged that I didn’t receive a response from my last email. I hope to hear back from you soon.
November 1, 2018
We’re passionate about the food we serve and how we source it. We work with farmers who make every effort to show concern and care for the animals they raise. To help us improve our process, we worked with a leading humane treatment expert, Temple Grandin. She approved our standards, which include diet/nutrition, space requirements for the animals, and very specific metrics regarding humane handling.
We remain committed to our mission to serve responsibly raised meats. If you’d like to learn more about our Food With Integrity journey, you can find more information at this link:https://www.chipotle.com/food-with-integrity
Additionally, we’ve partnered with Hodo Soy, who use non-GM, organic soybeans to create delicious, aromatic tofu Sofritas. You can learn more about this vegetarian alternative here: https://www.chipotle.com/real#//www.chipotle.com/soybeans
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