USDA: Stop Exploiting Animals and Farmers

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I was a chicken farmer for twelve years. I can tell you the real truth about industrial agriculture – about what it does to animals, the environment, and a farmer’s sense of dignity and self-respect. Let’s start with the label. You buy a package of chicken and you see an iconic farm – but the truth is my farm looks nothing like that. My 30K birds are stored in a giant barn and never see the light of day. 

Funnily enough, that same label says the chicken you bought is “natural.” Trust me, there is nothing “natural” about getting sick, weak, or poorly handled chicks from the company, and then being forced to compete with your neighbors to see who can make the fattest chickens using the least amount of company feed. The system is broken and we need USDA to stand for farmers who want to fix it!

Corporate Ag is taking advantage of farming families and controlling the way we run our farm. To them, animals are nothing more than “units.” The same is true with us farmers - we are not seen as individuals either. This is not the way farming should be. 

There are more farmers who would tell you the same if they weren’t scared of retaliation. Farmers have something to say about the way food is produced. We need USDA protections now - not just for farmers - but for consumers who deserve to know how their food is sourced and how farm animals are treated.

Sure the label says that there are no antibiotics, but the company won’t tell you all the pharmaceuticals that went into keeping a diseased flock alive. Don’t get me started about the environmental issues that come along with housing this many animals. 

This is not the way my wife and I want to treat our birds or run our farm. That’s why we need USDA protections - to help level the playing field and give us a chance to speak out when we see something’s wrong.  

Corporate Ag treats farmers as little more than serfs who are locked into a lifetime of debt to the company. None of that is on your labels. When farmers like me speak up, they are bullied into remaining silent. It’s time to bring Corporate Ag to account. We need the USDA to craft rules that protect farmers who want to improve the system.

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