Certified Humane® vs. Factory Farming

The “Pump” a restaurant chain in New York City has switched from buying Murray’s Chicken (one of our Certified Humane® producers) to purchasing commodity chicken.  That of course is their prerogative, however they are implying that the commodity chicken is special and that Murray’s is the commodity product.

Previously on their blog when they announced this, they said that Murray’s buys chickens from local farms and then processes and markets the chickens themselves.  “This isn’t bad per se – it’s actually quite common in the poultry business.”  They then proceed to describe the commodity chicken from the industrial chicken farms as being “grown and prepared for market at one location from birth to sale.”

Murray’s does buy chickens from small local farms and then processes them in their processing plant and markets the chickens themselves.  They are a Certified Humane® company which means their farms and processing plant are inspected annually to make sure they meet the highest humane standards for all aspects of their operations. Murray’s buys from small family farmers not contract growers. Their birds get the dark period they need to sleep so their growth is slowed and they don’t go to slaughter until they are older than commodity birds.

We’ve inspected the local farms Murray’s buys their chickens from and can attest to the treatment of these birds.  What Murray’s does is uncommon in the poultry business.  They are one of two Certified Humane® poultry producers in the US.   Murray’s is not an “integrated operation.”  “Integrated operations” are what is common in the poultry business in the US.

The “Pump’s” customers should be given the truth about the new chickens they are buying – common industrial chicken, commodity birds grown in integrated commercial systems, otherwise known as “Factory Farming.” The “Pump’s”  new supplier has breeding facilities, hatchery facilities, feed mills and processing plants.  Their operations include a farming division that has 28 company-owned farms for the chickens and more than 300 other farms.

The new supplier’s website says they employ over 2200 people, have farms in Maryland, Delaware, and North Carolina and process 2.2 million birds per week and pack about 10 million pounds of finished products per week.

Murray’s process less than 10% of the number of birds that their new supplier processes weekly.

They have changed their blog to say, their new supplier “is not commodity chicken, and as such, these birds have been raised and held to higher standards.”  Whose  higher standards have they been raised to?

I have already written to Elizabeth Kellogg of the Pump.  It is important for people not to be fooled by PR “spin” like this. Why don’t you  contact the “Pump” and let them know that you support Certified Humane® producers and products and that you are disappointed that they don’t.