Tyson Foods and a Culture of Cruelty

Posted by Daniel Lutz, ALDF Litigation Fellow on November 27, 2013

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Another shocking exposé has come to light about horrific animal cruelty at a supplier for Tyson Foods, Inc (one of the largest producers of pork, beef, and chicken products in the nation). Employees at West Coast Farms were caught kicking, throwing, and slamming piglets into the ground, among other physical abuses. Through West Coast Farms, Wyoming Premium Farms, and other suppliers, Tyson uses gestation crates, in which pregnant sows are unable to ever turn around, lie down comfortably, or take more than a step forward or backward. Many U.S. states ban gestation crates and numerous animal experts consider the crates inhumane

At the beginning of the year, ALDF filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission regarding false and deceptive claims about Tyson Food, Inc’s self-proclaimed industry leadership of animal welfare. The FTC responded by assuring ALDF that it would give the concerns expressed in the complaint “full consideration and appropriate attention” and by noting that policing the truthfulness of environmental claims like those made by Tyson is an agency “enforcement priority.” A few months later, ALDF became aware of animal cruelty convictions stemming from abuse at a Tyson supplier—called Wyoming Premium Farms—and brought the convictions to the FTC’s attention.

Then, on some date before July 2013, Tyson changed the animal welfare claims on its website, removing references to industry leadership but making alternative claims about the company’s “Animal Well-Being” responsibilities. As part of its website changes, Tyson now highlights an “Animal Well-Being Advisory Panel” and “FarmCheck” supplier auditing program, misleading consumers regarding Tyson’s actual lack of animal welfare commitments.

Despite the website changes, Tyson’s deceptive practices remain, and are in fact exacerbated by the new language. The claims that Tyson now makes target consumers concerned about animal welfare—and express Tyson’s commitment to its “moral and ethical obligation[s]” of caring for animals. These claims are in stark contrast to the actual abuse behind Tyson’s meat products, as evidenced by the recent revelation of an undercover video at yet another Tyson supplier: Oklahoma’s West Coast Farms.

The important government interests at stake raise ALDF’s petition to the FTC above a run-of-the-mill agency complaint. On top of its interest in improving consumer information to ensure efficient markets, the federal government has repeatedly expressed serious interests in protecting animal welfare. By interfering with consumer choices concerning these important governmental interests, Tyson’s deceptive advertising harms society in ways that interfering with traditional types of consumer choices does not.

Because the new video of West Coast Farms highlights a pattern of Tyson supplier abuses—directly counter to a reasonable interpretation of Tyson’s revised animal welfare claims, which, again, focus on suppliers—ALDF requests that the FTC vigorously investigate and commence enforcement against Tyson.


47 thoughts on “Tyson Foods and a Culture of Cruelty

  1. Ashley Gaughf says:

    I will never buy anything made by Tyson again! How dare they allow behavior like this! Absolutely disgusting and wrong. They’re already going to be slaughtered and why it can’t be done humanely is beyond me. I will not stop sharing this info and telling others until something is done to stop this sick and disturbing behavior/practices

    1. elizabeth says:

      The abuse starts long before they get to the slaughterhouse. If you eat meat, you eat abuse.

      1. Eva says:

        Well said.

    2. tyler says:

      Wow. I can’t believe such a horrible article has this many people upset. You people need to do some research before totally blaming Tyson. The article even states that this mistreatment came from the supplier: West Coast Farms. Weeks ago (before this article was even posted), Tyson terminated their contract with the company for their mistreatment of animals.
      Source: http://www.kjrh.com/dpp/news/state/west-coast-farms-tyson-foods-terminates-contract-with-oklahoma-pig-farm-after-video-shows-abuse

  2. Betty Ann says:

    There is never any need for cruelty. Any person who thinks its okay to hurt or abuse an animal in any way should be ashamed of themselves. They need to take a serious look at themselves and see whats wrong. Any company that looks the other way when an animal is abused should be shut down.

  3. Deb Milne says:

    I emailed Tyson a letter about this incident and what angered me the most about the response I received is they think because they fired the company in Oklahoma that supplied the pork to them, that some how some way they are relieved of all responsibility. It is my opinion that Tyson needs to step up to the back and admit neglect – neglect that they never made unannounced visits – neglect that they think the buck stops at firing the facility! NOT! The Oklahoma based company that was supplying the goods needs to prosecuted…Plain and simple…Hang them out to dry…And Tyson should be prosecute them.

    1. Eva says:

      You are so right. Tyson was advertising their “products” as being humanely raised. If they were purchasing their “products” from not so humane Oklahoma’s West Coast Farms that was a false advertising. Tyson needs to prosecute Oklahoma’s West Coast Farms, which in the process should be closed for business and also the employees that mistreated these animals should be hold responsible and listed as animal abusers. Tyson should be paying for all these lawsuits.

  4. Dana says:

    BAN TYSON FOODS – DISGUSTING LACK OF HUMANITY

  5. Tami Lahey says:

    I don’t purchase Tyson any longer due to their cruelty….shame on you Tyson

  6. Kathy McCoy says:

    Shame on you Tyson, to say the least. All animals should be treated humanely. I have spread my voice far & wide, regarding the abuse. There should be a MINIMUM level on how these animals are treated. You haven’t even reached that level.

  7. crystal Laws says:

    What I see here is an opportunity to repent. Repent doesn’t mean…”I’m sorry”, we all know that is NOT enough. What is needed here is a turn around. Now we all know that the world isn’t going to stop eating pig or farm animals all of a sudden, but what Tyson foods could do is a campaign of transparency..unlike the one from Obummer…but an actual gesture and follow through of setting THE highest standards in the industry. Advertising is great, but bad publicity like this is only going to hurt the bottom line. TYSON needs to be at the forefront of new thinking in farming. Setting higher standards and covering these kind of errors with demanding and exacting regulations. Be the first in the industry to self monitor and set industry watermarks. This can be done…it needs to be done. Because people aren’t going to stop eating meat. Tyson might as well use this as a public opportunity to set things right.

  8. Laurie Rathbun says:

    No Tyson products of any kind ever again for my family. Everyone who knows me will also about this.

  9. Debra Andreason says:

    Don’t kid yourselves, people. The only way to eradicate this kind of abuse is for society to adopt a vegan lifestyle. That may sound radical to alot of you, but there is no way, I repeat, no way to humanely raise and slaughter animals, especially on such a large scale.

  10. Debra Andreason says:

    Let me add to my comment that my grandfather was a chicken farmer. He raised chickens for slaughter and for eggs and I participated in helping him with some duties on the farm. I witnessed chickens being debeaked and beheaded. I saw him slam baby chicks against the barn wall to kill them if they were too sick. None of it was humane and this was a very small family farm. When I say small, let me give you the numbers. He had a three-story barn and on each floor there were 2000 chickens. He also had a brooder house that had 10 pens with 30 hens and one rooster in each pen. I wouldn’t consider what he did to those chickens as humane even though they were probably treated better than larger scale operations. That means that even on the small farms the animals are mistreated. It is just the nature of the beast.

  11. D Knowles says:

    This is absolutely disgraceful
    …. STOP IT

  12. roe lamirand says:

    This is what all the state legislatures are trying to keep from us. In Indiana this is and has been a major push to make it illegal for people to expose this or release pictures to the public. Be very aware of who is donating to you politicians. This is sadism and torture. Thorough disgust.

  13. Sandra Godsey says:

    Please stop cruelty and help animals. They don’t have a voice:)

  14. Sandra Slack says:

    I am so disappointed by this news on Tyson. I have always purchased they’re products, but not any longer! I cannot bring myself to watch this horrific video, the written words are bad enough. I don’t understand how any human with a heart could do those things to a living animal who has done nothing but be born into a very cruel world. I will no longer purchase any Tyson products or Tyson affiliated products and I will tell ANYONE who will listen to also not purchase they’re products. Shame on you and I hope you go out of business!!

  15. Lava says:

    I hope this starts a huge change in the industry sending a message to all factory farms letting them know we are watching the cruel abuse and it needs to stop. People need to stop eating meat.

  16. Marie Ashley says:

    All animals deserve to be treated with compassion. How could you allow such atrocities to go on. I will never buy Tyson products again and will continue to share this on Facebook. I will also encourage everyone I know not to buy your products and inform them of this cruelty!

  17. elizabeth says:

    If you eat meat, you are eating cruelty. All raising, transporting, slaughtering and processing involved horrible acts. Look into the treatment of your favorite meat, you will be appalled.

  18. Terri-Lynn Newman says:

    People need to stop supporting this company and stop purchasing their products. Tyson doesn’t care what anyone says – they only care how much money they make so let’s make sure we send them a message they hear.

  19. Martha herman says:

    My stomach is on knots and my heart aches. If we must eat animals, they should be euthanize humanly. I am boycotting all Tyson products. So sick…..

  20. Mark and Judy Harvey says:

    What you are doing is cruel. We want the END of factory farms!!!

  21. Kim says:

    Companies which support the implicit torture/abuse of conscious beings- like these pigs, or cows, or sheep- are clearly without an inherent moral/ethical directive. I will NEVER EVER purchase Tyson products- and will alert all of my friends and colleagues of Tyson’s blatant callousness about this issue. The time has past for AgriBiz corporations to blindly accept CRIMES AGAINST NATURE. And Tyson, clearly, is hoping that American citizens will do this, and turn a blind eye to your criminal activity. Think again.

  22. Cindy Brown says:

    I am not a vegetarian and do eat animal products. I will never buy Tyson brand again. These food animals have short lives and should not have to suffer. All life deserves respect. Tyson, pull your heads out, as long as you allow your suppliers to treat animals with cruelty and disrespect, you are guilty of the same. Really is money so important that living beings must suffer? I am sure you could still make a very good profit if you screened your suppliers and showed some morals. Animals do not deserve to suffer, why would you allow this? Evil begets evil.

  23. Olivia Hussey Eisley says:

    This kind of behavior may be ok in places like china…but here in America-people should know better..its just plain cruelty!!!!I will make sure that not only my family…but everyone I know and come into contact with WILL boycott everything that comes out of TYSON facilities until these barbaric practices are stopped!!!!!!!!

  24. Jean Marcus says:

    Despicable!

  25. DEBBIE RINALDI says:

    YOU MUST STOP THE CRUEL TREATMENT. WHILE WE LEARN TO CUT BACK ON OUR MEAT PRODUCT USE, WE MUST TREAT THE ANIMALS KINDLY AND GIVE THEM AS LITTLE STRESS AS POSSIBLE. I WILL NOT PURCHASE TYSON PRODUCTS. YOU NEED TO STOP THE CRUELTY! WHAT KIND OF BARBARIANS DO YOU HAVE WORKING FOR YOU?

  26. Jamie Green says:

    My family will NEVER eat another Tyson product EVER again! And nor will anyone I know if I have anything to say about it. I am telling everyone I know about the disgusting practices of this company. This makes me ill, figuratively and possibly literally at some point!

  27. Gerweck says:

    When I saw this video, I was appalled! Why? Why were these people doin this to these animals? I thought to myself, “Really?????” I also thought to myself what would make them think this was ok in any measure? Or did they not think or feel bad for doing what they were doing? I don’t understand the lack of compassion for these animals…? I don’t understand them! Those people should have to go on television and explain themselves!

  28. Isa says:

    Does this mean this news about Tyson breaking their contract with Oklahoma’s West Coast Farms false? I added the link so that everyone could see what I’m talking about. The link is posted by animllaw.com so I thought it was credible…

    http://www.stamfordadvocate.com/technology/businessinsider/article/Tyson-Foods-Drops-Pig-Farm-Over-Video-Of-Alleged-5004626.php

    Please let me know! I like meat, but I do what I can to avoid companies that are cruel to animals!

  29. Shame on Tyson, Should know better! NO heart feeling for animal have feel and suffer the abused just like you or you’re if abuse.

  30. Kristi Thorpe says:

    WHY???? Why do there animals have to suffer from the time they are born to the time they die????? WHY???? Only you can answer that TYSON!! If they are providing us food and YOU with money. Why Is the torture necessary??

  31. Sandra Brewer says:

    THIS MADNESS NEEDS TO STOP!!!

  32. cherylene carter says:

    You must employ a bunch of psycopaths because only psycopaths do not have feelings or remorse for causing pain and suffering to anything. I dont eat meat but if I did I would never buy your product. When are you people gonna realise that animals have the same feelings and responses to pain. It disgusts me that you can perpretate on these defenseless animals and then go home and sleep. If you have to answer for this I hope you lose your profits and that your customers lose respect for your product. Wake up karma will eventually come knocking. you are shameful and give the human race a bad name.

  33. amy says:

    I am outraged that anyone and I mean anyone in the world can find it fun or cool or whatever the hell they feel from hurting an animal that is soo defensless and they depend on the human race to love, provide care and food they cannot do it for them selves and no animal deserves any type of abuse whatsoever. tell those chickenshit assholes to come to dallas,texas and I can bet that the animal aint the one thats gonna be getting abused. I dont care how bad your pathetic life may be or may have been or what happened to you as a child and so on and so on there is NO EXCUSE….NONE to ever hurt an animal other than you are sick and pathetic and need whatever you do to any animal done to yo ten fold!!

  34. Kyle says:

    Regrettably, I watched the video this morning and was completely appalled and disgusted. There is no excuse to inflict such pain on defenseless animals. Regardless if Tyson ended the “so” contract with West Coast Farms or not, they will never have my money, only pure hatred. There shouldn’t be the need for an undercover video to show a company what it is they are being a part of. Tyson simply turned a blind eye, and the second a finger was pointed at them they played the ” I had no idea” card. Complete negligence on Tyson’s part. Oh, one more vent. Those men whom actually carried out the torturing, deserve to physically be hurt; badly.

  35. richard anstine says:

    If you think I will every buy another product of yours your wrong I shared the video on fb with about 240 ppl and nobody is happy about how ur farms are treating ajimals I know my family won’t buy any of your products again! Quite a few of my friends won’t neither! This is pathetic and sick! How would you like it if we did it to you???????? Really they are a living animal and feel everything you do to them! Your not a business you a degrace to the world and cruel heartless asshols in my eyes!!! I hope you get serious fines or even shut down!

  36. richard says:

    I’m a hunter, and I know ppl with farms,I know how to butcher! I will do my own cows, pig and chickns, I know the animal didn’t suffer or be abused either. These animals give there life up for us to eat every day. You can respect the animals an not be so damn money hungary or even care what ur farms are doing to the animals! You look the other way cuz all u see is $$$$$ in ur eyes what about the suffering of the animsls! Ur a disgrace to the world! I hope carma bits u do hard ur doors shut and can’t be opened up rver again! Ill make sure this is shown and passed around all over! And face book is doing a great job and proud to help spread the poor disgusting disgrace uou company is. You say you fidnt know, well the a damn lie you knew and di nt care cuz you only think of $$$$,

  37. Soft Nature says:

    LETS TAKE ACTION!!! I’LL BE BACK. WERE GONNA STOP THIS BY SPREADING INFO. & NOT EATING IT. I WILL BRING THE URL TO BAN THIS. WOULD YOU FUEL YOU’RE EXISTANCE ON SOMETHING ELSES PAIN?

  38. Soft Nature says:

    http://aldf.org/cases-campaigns/action-alerts/stop-tyson-foods/
    (I’m on xbox so I can’t copy paste) BUT YOU CAN. YOUR A CLICK AWAY FROM ACTUALLY TAKING ACTION AND MAKING A POSITIVE CHANGE. I BELIEVE IN YOU. ONLY 238 MORE PLEDGES AND THE FTC WILL HAVE TO SHUT DOWN TYSON PRODUCTS. THE PAIN & SUFFERING ENDS HERE BUT WE NEED YOU.

  39. Ailene says:

    Tyson discontinues business with West Coast Farms. That is well indeed, but what happens to the farm and the living animals that are still there? Will this facility be shut down? Will there be reprocussion to the farm owner/s?

    What next? The problem is still not resolved.

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  41. irina says:

    I will never buy tyson food. Makes me so sick that people are so heartless and the gestation crates should be illegal. Sick and disgraceful.

  42. I will never as long as I live buy anything from Tyson again, I have cried and can’t get the images out of my mind, I can not nor will ever understand how man kind can be so cruel. It makes me sick and there should be a law to punish them severely for this, but better one to stop this. I am heart sick about this, I had no idea. I hope and pray someone can put an end to this. I have signed a petition on this matter and hop others will too.

  43. Kelsie jay says:

    I am completely disgusted, and heart broken that this is the way people choose to treat the living. I have never shopped Tyson to begin with, but I really hope anyone that watches these videos never buys anything from this disgusting company ever again, they deserve to be shut down, my mind is completely blown that this abuse has even gone on. Every employee of Tyson will get their karma and pay for what they have done.. I can’t even believe the adaucity of some people, humanity disgusts me….