Anyone who has played a competitive sport, or even a good board game, knows that it's vital to recognize not only what your opponent is doing now but also where your opponent is going. Because if you aim for where they are now, they will be gone by the time you respond.
This is why Chipotle is such an important target -- the company and its Orwellian marketing ("Responsibly Raised! Unconditionally Loved!") show us the future of the meat industry.
Whenever and wherever the animal rights movement has had success, the industry has responded with promises of reform and humane slaughter. Indeed, that has been the dominant paradigm of discourse for decades. In 1958, when President Eisenhower signed the Humane Slaughter Act -- a more significant and ambitious legal achievement than anything considered since -- he said, "If I went by mail, I'd think no one was interested in anything but humane slaughter." And yet the toll since 1958 has been catastrophic: billions more tortured, enslaved, and killed. More recently, as the Israeli animal rights scene has made unprecedented waves (including pushing the nation's prime minister to raise the issue publicly, and change his diet for ethical reasons), industry has come up with the same response: don't worry because we'll make sure the animals are well cared for.
And, sadly, this strategy often works. One can see this by comparing Chipotle's growth with its former owner, McDonald's. Five years ago, the two companies had roughly equal share prices: Chipotle at $53.10 per share and McDonald's at $62.72. But over the next five years, the chart above shows what happened. Chipotle has grown explosively and is now nearly 1000% of its size five years ago! In contrast, McDonald's (though it remains the larger company) has seen the steady year-to-year-growth that you'd expect of almost any company by virtue of inflation.
The upshot: Chipotle is where the industry is going. Chipotle is where the growth is happening. In a sense, Chipotle (if we are being strategic and predictive, rather than slow and reactive) is the only game in town.
As a movement, we need to start responding not just to where the industry was in 1958, but where it will be in the next five years. Finding the new frontier is exactly what we are doing with our campaign: It's not Food. It's Violence.
And we hope that you'll join us on December 14.