Legally Brief: The Greenwashing of Factory FarmsPosted by Stephen Wells, ALDF's Executive Director on July 5, 2013
Well, it looks like Tyson Foods is at it again, changing words rather than actions. In this day and age, environmental responsibility is something to be taken seriously; it is not just for show. Seeming ecologically sound, rather than being so, is greenwashing. And that is just what Tyson is doing when they only make cosmetic changes to their website, rather than to the treatment of animals on their factory farms.
As I explained last week in my blog on Huffington Post, Tyson Foods has publicly formed a panel of advisors to consider the well-being of animals–but not made any actual changes to its treatment of animals. In fact, Tyson continues to rely upon some of the cruelest forms of industrial agriculture possible. Often such tactics, like the use of “gestation crates” (in which pregnant sows are unable to turn around), are banned outright in many agricultural states for cruelty to animals.
Tyson has begun quieting its animal welfare claims, in light of the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s consumer protection complaint to the Federal Trade Commission to stop Tyson falsely advertising itself a “humane” producer. We are certainly glad to see Tyson walking back its claims to be humane. But it is not nearly enough. Where once they claimed to be “leading the industry” in animal well-being, Tyson’s president now claims to be determined to “find better, smarter ways to care for” animals. Many other claims have been moved or buried in sustainability reports. However, Tyson continues to use deceptive double-speak. It still uses gestation crates, but calls them “individual housing.” The Animal Legal Defense Fund doesn’t want Tyson to modify just its language–we call on factory farms like Tyson’s, and indeed all industrial agriculture, to stop their cruel practices–and gestation crates are one of the worst.
If Tyson really cares about animals–and humanely caring for animals–their actions need to match their publicity stunts. We at the Animal Legal Defense Fund will continue to serve as a watchdog over the dangerous and inhumane practices of corporate agriculture: for the good of consumers, for our environment, and for the well-being of animals.
Please join us in holding Tyson Foods accountable and take action here to support our petition.
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