ANIMAL EQUALITY FILES FTC COMPLAINT AGAINST CARGILL FOR MISLEADING CLAIMS ON TURKEY LABELS
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Animal Equality and five other nonprofits kicked off Thanksgiving week by filing a formal complaint against agribusiness giant Cargill, Inc. for unlawfully marketing certain turkey products.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Animal Equality and five other nonprofits kicked off Thanksgiving week by filing a formal complaint against agribusiness giant Cargill, Inc., for unlawfully marketing certain turkey products. The complaint, filed with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), focuses on certain representations Cargill makes about its turkey products sold under the brand names ‘Shady Brook Farms’ and ‘Honeysuckle White.’
The complaint accuses Cargill of using its “independent family farmers” labeling and marketing claims to falsely imply that the Shady Brook Farms and Honeysuckle White brands have far-reaching benefits for the birds and workers in the supply chain, as well as certain environmental advantages, when in fact the turkeys come from large, corporate-controlled factory farms.
“The image that comes to mind when one thinks of an ‘independent family farm’ bears no resemblance to the conditions in which Cargill turkeys are actually raised,” said Sarah Hanneken, Legal Advocacy Counsel at Animal Equality. “The turkeys who become Cargill’s products live stressful, often painful lives on massive factory farms—they are not living the kind of ‘family farm’ life the company would have consumers believe.”
The complaint explains how, contrary to consumer expectations, Cargill systematically mutilates its turkeys and requires them to be intensively confined, by the tens of thousands, in unsanitary warehouses. The complaint also details the negative environmental impact of Cargill’s operations, including improper waste disposal that leads to the pollution and degradation of waterways. “Far from the bucolic family farms portrayed by Cargill’s marketing,” the complaint states, “Cargill’s actual production methods exploit contract farmers and slaughterhouse workers, systematically abuse animals and cause grave harms to the environment.”
In addition to allegations of inhumane treatment of turkeys and extensive environmental damage, the complaint also asserts that Cargill routinely exploits the contract farmers who raise the birds and the slaughterhouse workers who kill them. The complaint points out how dangerous working conditions at Cargill plants have been made all the more evident in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Through this complaint, Animal Equality and its coalition partners urge the FTC to investigate and promptly put an end to Cargill’s turkey product misrepresentations.