The following was just posted to our mailing list. Feel free to share widely!
Chipotle, the focus of the campaign, has become a true giant. It's the third largest publicly traded restaurant company (a $16+ billion corporation) and by far the fastest growing. Estimates show that the company kills up to 100 million animals annually, and the numbers increase every year. Yet a slick marketing campaign has turned its massive engine of violence... into seeming acts of kindness.
Next week is an important moment for the company. as it releases its million dollar miniseries, Farmed and Dangerous, on Hulu. The miniseries (which insidiously does not mention Chipotle by name) is an attempt to burnish the company's image, and convince the public that a fast food giant is not just tolerable, but positively good for the world. Prominent scholar and blogger James McWilliams had these words to offer:
"Right now, Chipotle is undertaking a campaign to promote “humane” farming through tactics taken right out of the Big Tobacco playbook. There will be more on this issue to come. But for now note that through “native advertising” the company is working under the “Farmed and Dangerous” slogan to establish a broad cultural pretext to support Chipotle’s rise to fast food dominance. When a company spends millions on advertising and never mentions its name you should be very scared."
James is right that there is reason to be scared. When a corporation is buying allies within our movement and turning them against us, and expanding its mass-killing machine all over the world, fear is a natural reaction. But let's not be afraid. Let's stand with confidence, honesty, and inspiration. Because there is a different story unfolding. Recent media reports have grown increasingly skeptical of the company's marketing and ethics. The company's stock price has stalled since we began our campaign. And most recently, Chipotle made an important regulatory filing admitting to its vulnerability:
"Our success depends in large part on our ability to persuade customers that food made with higher-quality ingredients is worth the prices they will pay...The principle of Food With Integrity constitutes a significant part of our business strategy... [This may] leave us open to actions against us or criticism from special interest groups… Any adverse publicity that results from such criticism could damage our brand and adversely impact customer traffic at our restaurants.”
So please, join us on February 22 in telling a different story. We will be posting materials -- themed postcards with stories of individual victims rescued from violence -- in the next few days. If you can attend a protest near you, great. If you can organize one, even better.
But most of all, always stand for the truth, even in the face of hateful attacks. Because our movement's greatest strength comes from its integrity. And when we wield the truth confidently, we can change the world.