Animal Legal Defense Fund Takes Tyson Foods to Task for False AdvertisingJanuary 22nd, 2013
For immediate release
Lisa Franzetta, ALDF
Megan Backus, ALDF
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today the national nonprofit Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) filed a complaint against Tyson Foods, Inc. for violating the Federal Trade Commission Act (FTCA) that calls for fair business practices. ALDF's complaint asks the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate and put an end to deceptive marketing tactics used by Tyson, which claims to be an industry leader at the forefront of animal welfare while relying upon inhumane farming practices. Tyson also claims to be environmentally sound, yet multiple courts have held Tyson responsible for environmental hazards. As the largest U.S. producer of chicken and second largest producer of beef and pork, Tyson's presence in the animal product industry extends across the nation.
Throughout its promotional materials, Tyson claims to provide environments "favorable" to pigs. However, Tyson uses gestation crates, in which pregnant sows are unable to turn around, comfortably lie down, or take more than a step forward or backward. Gestation crates are banned in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Maine, Michigan, Ohio, Oregon, and Rhode Island and are widely considered inhumane by U.S. animal experts. Yet Tyson continues to use these crates and has simply renamed them "individual housing"—changing the name, rather than the practice, in a deceptive move made in recognition of consumer sensitivity about extreme confinement of farmed animals. Furthermore, undercover video footage shows workers kicking and punching pigs at a Tyson supplier's facility, in contrast to Tyson's claims to be a leader in animal well-being.
Similarly, Tyson claims to provide a "comfortable environment" for chickens. Yet, comparing Tyson's methods to welfare-protecting alternatives regarding housing density, lighting, and weight gain, the Animal Welfare Institute found that Tyson "produce[s] no humanely raised chicken products." Animal welfare groups have routinely exposed animal cruelty in slaughterhouses connected to Tyson, which relies on broiler houses for its production and uses methods that cause rapid and debilitating weight gain for the "broiler hens."
"Conscientious consumers who care about the welfare of animals are being deceived by Tyson," says Stephen Wells, executive director of the Animal Legal Defense Fund. "Individual citizens rely on truth-in-advertising and consumer protection laws, and those who are willing to pay a premium for humane food items have a right to know the truth about the food they purchase."
ALDF's complaint to the FTC is available upon request.