Chipotle’s Pork Ploy

» February 7th, 2015

Chipotle is a fast food company that talks a big game about sourcing animal products from responsible farms. The company’s “food with integrity” slogan assures customers that, “when sourcing meat, we work hard to find farmers and ranchers who are doing things the right way.”

But a careful examination of Chipotle’s animal welfare rhetoric quickly confirms the lack of any hard commitment to the welfare ideals it so breezily espouses. Without going into a systematic analysis of Chipotle’s marketing verbiage, it’s quickly apparent that the most common qualifier anchoring Chipotle to factory farming is this: “whenever possible.” Yes, Chipotle will “work hard” to support welfare standards “whenever possible.”

But these qualifiers have proven meaningless for the once McDonald’s-owned company. In 2013, when the supply of antibiotic-free beef dropped, the company allowed factory-farmed antibiotic-laden beef into the supply chain. As this was happening, the company’ co-founder was telling the media—who acted as scribes—things such as “The more consumers understand the benefits of eating food from more sustainable sources, the more they’re going to expect it from everyone.”

A sinister calculation is at work for Chipotle. On the one hand, it waxes rhetorically about its high welfare standards and this rhetoric serves to improve the company’s popularity. On the other, this intensified popularity means that Chipotle’s demand for meat and dairy will outstrip the supply of meat and dairy available from the farmers it earnestly claims to support.

Read more here.

7 Responses to Chipotle’s Pork Ploy

  1. Dear James:

    Once again, you neglect to point out that a big chunk of Chipotle credibility comes from the praise of the chain by animal advocates.

    For example:

    >>“We have applauded Chipotle a number of times,” said Paul Shapiro, senior director of the Factory Farms Campaign for the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). “That a company like Chipotle can have a successful business model while not supporting the abuses in the agribusiness industry is a positive sign. Companies ought to be rewarded for helping to reduce animal suffering.”<>The big news of the week is that Chipotle won’t have pork at a third of its locations for some time since they found poor animal welfare at a major supplier. The company stated, “We would rather not serve pork at all than serve pork from animals that are raised in this way.” No carnitas? Try their Sofritas! The company’s doing a nationwide promo on for them on Monday, January 26.<<

    http://vegansaurus.com/post/108288362192

    And Paul Shapiro put an endorsement on your book and you support HSUS. It's all so confusing!

    No wonder the media gets confused. It's apparently the case that "animal advocates" get confused as well.

    Gary

    Gary L. Francione
    Board of Governors Professor
    Rutgers University

  2. The text I entered got truncated and one of the sites removed. I do not know why because the text and cites were call properly typed in. I am trying again:

    Dear James:

    Once again, you neglect to point out that a big chunk of Chipotle credibility comes from the praise of the chain by animal advocates.

    For example:

    >>“We have applauded Chipotle a number of times,” said Paul Shapiro, senior director of the Factory Farms Campaign for the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). “That a company like Chipotle can have a successful business model while not supporting the abuses in the agribusiness industry is a positive sign. Companies ought to be rewarded for helping to reduce animal suffering.”<>The big news of the week is that Chipotle won’t have pork at a third of its locations for some time since they found poor animal welfare at a major supplier. The company stated, “We would rather not serve pork at all than serve pork from animals that are raised in this way.” No carnitas? Try their Sofritas! The company’s doing a nationwide promo on for them on Monday, January 26.<<

    (http://vegansaurus.com/post/108288362192)

    And Paul Shapiro put an endorsement on your book and you support HSUS. It's all so confusing!

    No wonder the media gets confused. It's apparently the case that "animal advocates" get confused as well.

    Gary

    Gary L. Francione
    Board of Governors Professor
    Rutgers University

  3. It happened again. I will email what I posted and you can post it if you would like.

  4. Mountain says:

    “this intensified popularity means that Chipotle’s demand for meat and dairy will outstrip the supply of meat and dairy available from the farmers it earnestly claims to support.”

    It’s a shame there’s no way for supply to increase in response to demand. If only there were some well-understood mechanism to make this happen…

  5. Nate says:

    While the welfare standards bolster chipotle’s reputation, I am of the opinion that the main reason for their success is that their burritos are delicious. It’s “food, fast”. Not fast food.

  6. Alan Braves says:

    Really good site, thank you so much for your time in writing this post.

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