Sunday, June 28, 2009

Chipotle, more good than bad

Chipotle has long touted its food with integrity slogan, bragging about how their hogs are raised in a more humane environment than factory farms. Trent Loos recently wrote a thought-provoking rebuttal, noting that hogs allowed access to pasture will drink their own urine and those of other pigs, and that chickens with pasture will feed on the carcasses of dead animals.

Trent is right in these regards, but I still prefer the Chipotle philosophy of hog production. I had working on several hog farms before I visited a farm that supplied Chipotle. Before this visit, I had never seen a hog run. I had never seen a hog play in the mud. I had never seen a hog seem to enjoy its life.

There are some drawbacks to giving animals access to outdoors, especially in the case of chickens where predators can easily kill half of the animals. Yet when it comes to hogs, I still prefer Chipotle to modern factory hog farms. I don't think that I am mislead or naive to believe that hogs should be allowed to turn around, walk, and play in the mud. If we are to raise animals for food, at the very least they should be given a life where they experience some positive emotions.