Thursday, May 13, 2010

Chipotle and Sustainable, Ethical Agriculture

I am a big fan of Mexican food, but there is one Mexican restaurant than I am not a big fan of, Chipotle Mexican Grill. Recently they publicly came out backing HSUS, while that bit of news pushed me over the top, it was not the only problem I have with this establishment.

On their website they tout that they serve "Food with Integrity" if that were so they would be aligning themselves with the very farmers and ranchers who raise that food and not a group of questionable ethics, financial practices and agendas like HSUS.

In another portion of their website they claim to use ingredients grown sustainably, naturally and with respect for the animals, environment and farmers who produce them. I whole-heartedly agree with most of that. However, I think the fine people of Chipotle need to spend some time with us out here in the fields and pastures.

Almost every farmer and rancher I know strives to be sustainable and has the utmost respect for their livestock, land and environment. Most of us have roots several generations deep in the land we live on and we are constantly looking to technology and research to give us new methods of being both more sustainable and environmentally friendly. According to the American Farm Bureau we produce 272% more food than we did in 1950 with only 98% of the inputs. The bottom line is those who run Chipotle and even those who eat at Chipotle need to get a balanced view of agriculture that is not influenced by propaganda put forth by groups such as HSUS.

As for the natural part of that statement, I do have a problem with that. By natural, they mean without anti-biotics. While many of the animals I produce have never had anti-biotics of any kind, I want to reserve the right to give them medicine if necessary. I cannot speak for my fellow farmers and ranchers, but I know many of them operate their farms and ranches in this manner. I only use anti-biotics when absolutely necessary, only at the dose prescribed by my veterinarian and I strictly follow the withdrawal time. The meat I produce from those animals is safe and I do feed it to my family. In my opinion, it is far more ethical to treat my animals if they need it than to let them suffer with an ailment. Again I would like the people at Chipotle and their customers to spend some time with me on my ranch and then they might understand the importance of modern veterinary medicines.

This all comes back to my farmers and ranchers opening our farms and ranches and taking the time to share what we do with the consumers of the food we produce. It also takes the consumer and the business owner listening with an open mind and not one influenced by anti-agriculture groups, I cannot stress enough that farmers and ranchers care about the world we live in, the animals we rely on and the people we live with. I hope you will join me in letting Chipotle know that they have aligned themselves with an organization bent on destroying the very farmers and ranchers they claim to respect.

1 comment:

  1. What the heck do these people think we as farmers are doing? Why in the world would we compromise our land or animals when that is what we rely on for our living. I agree - let them come live and work with us a bit. Let them see the $$$ go back to the barn and the animals while we drive the old car one more year. There are these things called vacations - not sure what they are either. Man, my blood can get to boiling. If they would just stop, think and try to come along beside us instead of attacking think what we could accomplish.