The Noah Project

Rebuilding a sustainable world.

Kroger: Stop misleading consumers about animal welfare standards

By Cassandra White
Clarkston, Georgia

When I go to the grocery store, I read the labels carefully because I want to know what I am buying to feed my family is something I can trust. I expect that when I check a product, I can trust what  the label says.

So when I saw Kroger’s Simple Truth Natural Chicken, and it read ‘raised cage free’ and ‘in a humane  environment’ I thought it was worth the extra money to pay for a chicken that had a better life than  animals on factory farms. It turns out these terms mean nothing so I’m asking Kroger to stop misleading consumers about animal welfare!

Until it can prove otherwise and implement real welfare changes for these animals, Kroger needs to change their labels and immediately stop telling the public that the birds are treated better than those onfactory farms.

I did some research and learned that no chickens raised for meat in the U.S. are raised in cages (it’s the hens for eggs that are confined to cages unless stated otherwise), and I believe Kroger was using this ‘cage free’ label on chicken as a marketing gimmick to make more money.

My suspicion made me wonder about what they meant by ‘raised in a humane environment,’ too. I called  Kroger and asked what “humanely raised” means and what the living conditions are for chickens, and the  person I spoke with said: “They live on the floor of a barn or poultry house” and had no further details other than to confirm this is also true of “organic” birds.

According to a class action lawsuit filed by another consumer (represented by Compassion Over Killing), Simple Truth chicken products are produced by Perdue, a company that follows only the “minimal  standards developed by the industry,” standards that “necessitate inhumane treatment.” These chickens
“have suffered continuously from cardiovascular problems, painful bone deformities, ruptured tendons, and lameness.” These fast-growing chickens that are selectively bred for as broilers “spend a full fifth of their short lives in chronic pain so severe that it effectively immobilizes them.”

In addition, chickens “are shackled by their legs, upside-down, while fully conscious as they are conveyed through processing facilities.” It is acknowledged by the chicken industry that according to these minimal standards, some chickens, after being subjected to electric “stun baths,” may have their necks “unsuccessfully and partially cut while fully conscious because they were ineffectively stunned . . . slowly bleed to death while semi-conscious.”

What does that ‘humane environment’ mean? I feel like Kroger’s Simple Truth Natural Chickens is simply not the truth as any reasonable consumer would expect it – they are still selling marked up factory farmed chickens!

In reaction to the lawsuit mentioned above, a Kroger spokesperson told the press they believe the current label is “accurate.” But I know they are hoping this all blows over. And I started my petition to hold Kroger accountable to transparent food production.

Please join me to demand Kroger stop saying ‘cage free’ because it is misleading and that when they say ‘raised in a humane environment’ it actually means something. I want better chicken for my family that I can trust. Kroger must be transparent about the standards they are using now and use a third party auditing animal welfare certification, to verify that the animals are indeed raised in a humane environment.

Enough is enough.

Please sign my petition demanding that Kroger’s Simple TruthNatural Chickens’ label actually means what it says.


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