The advertisement has had some immediate effects, with responses from McDonald's and Bon Appetit, but is it all just porkwashing?
If you have not seen this advertisement for Chipotle Mexican Grill, it is well worth a look.
Coldplay's haunting classic "The Scientist" is performed by country music legend Willie Nelson for the soundtrack of the short film entitled Back to the Start. The film, by filmmaker Johnny Kelly, depicts the life of a farmer as he slowly turns his family farm into an industrial animal factory before seeing the errors of his ways and opting for a more sustainable future. Both the film and the soundtrack were commissioned by Chipotle to emphasize the importance of developing a sustainable food system.
The video has had immediate effects. Hurst, a former hog farmer who is now president of the Missouri Farm Bureau, notes that "the day after it ran, McDonald's announced that it would require its pork suppliers to end the use of gestation crates." Unfortunately, as Grist points out, this announcement could just be "porkwashing" since the company neglected to say by when.
And then Bon Appétit Management Company announced a comprehensive animal welfare policy that phases out gestation crates by 2015.
Hurst defends the use of sow gestation crates:
These crates do restrict pigs' movements, but farmers use them to control the amount of feed pregnant sows consume. When hogs are grouped in pens together, aggressive sows eat too much and submissive sows too little, and they also get in violent fights at feeding time. The only other ways to prevent these problems are complicated, expensive, or dangerous to the pigs.
Really? I was a member of the Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production. Our report, "Putting Meat on the Table: Industrial Farm Animal Production in America," came out in 2008.