January 16, 2015

Where's the....pork??

It seems there is a pork shortage at Chipotle. Or at least that is what they are claiming.

According to Chipotle, one of their pork suppliers has violated their housing agreement for pigs. The company demands that its suppliers raise pigs in “humane conditions with access to the outdoors, rather than in cramped pens.” So, because the supplier violated the pig housing agreement, Chipotle will not purchase their pork, which is resulting in a pork shortage in over 1700 locations in the U.S.

Wanda Patsche, author and pork farmer in Minnesota shared a picture of a pig pen in her barn. Do you think they look cramped?

In the past, Chipotle customers may have noticed signs stating when certain meats don’t meet the company’s “responsibly raised” standards, a substitution will take place. What is the substitution? Conventionally raised animals. But this time there will be no substitution for the pork.

Now it’s no secret that Chipotle is no friend to America’s farmers. This isn't the first time Chipotle has undermined farmers. Remember the Chipocrisy or "Food with integrity"? Wanda assures us that they take better care of our animals. Housing animals outside does not equate to better pork. Genetics, nutrition, health care and management do. The winter weather is downright cruel to pigs. And how do we know that? Because she has been there – years ago, Wanda's pigs were housed outside. And it’s bad. Frozen waterers, frostbitten ears, broken legs (from slipping on ice and snow) on pigs, and sick pigs from pneumonia are just a few of the difficulties they encountered housing their pigs outdoors.

Why doesn’t Chipotle want pigs housed indoors? Because our culture’s view of farming is nostalgic. Many farm organizations in Nebraska are sharing Nebraska farmers' stories of current modern farming and actual animal welfare - meaning how they really take care of their animals. The Alliance for the Future of Nebraska (AFAN), CommonGround and Nebraska Farm Bureau - along with the Nebraska Pork Producers and Nebraska Cattlemen are just a few examples. Read Nebraska Farm Bureau's blog about Chipotle's claim of pork shortage here.

Chipotle might have good burritos, but by throwing farmers under the bus, I'd rather eat at Qdoba anyday!

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