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Food Integrity Campaign Blog

Blowing the Whistle on Big Chicken: The Inside Story (VIDEO)

Sarah Damian | February 27, 2015

Fusion Network recently aired an illuminating one-hour investigative segment on our client, Craig Watts, and his experience blowing the whistle on top poultry producer Perdue. What started out as a story about Perdue’s deceptive labeling and animal welfare concerns became much more. Craig’s story unveils the struggles that many contract farmers like him face and the risk he takes for speaking out.

Craig is one of 30,000 contract farmers in the U.S. of which produce 93 percent of the country’s chicken. This rare glimpse into the chicken industry through his experience provides key insight on how the most popular U.S. meat product is produced.

According to Craig, Perdue offers what seems like a great contract to farmers. But in reality, it ends up trapping farmers into a cycle of debt. Farmers have little to no say in how to raise the chickens, which are owned by Perdue, and must abide by the company’s demands. By the time they realize the truth of the situation (the financial loss as well as the arguably dehumanizing impacts), it’s nearly impossible to get out and do something else without going bankrupt.

What Fusion’s video piece illustrates is what an industry looks like – one that manipulates, controls and silences the farmers. We are incredibly lucky that Craig was able to break the chains and make sure the truth reached the public.

Unfortunately, Craig’s whistleblowing came at a cost: daily visits and surprise audits from Perdue to intimidate and discredit him. In a bold move, Craig Watts is now suing the company for violating federal whistleblower protection regulations. The Food Integrity Campaign is proud to represent Craig and make sure he doesn’t receive further retaliation.

Help share Craig’s story on social media. The truth is out and Big Chicken can’t hide its injustices any longer.

 

Sarah Damian is Communications Manager for the Food Integrity Campaign, a program of the Government Accountability Project (GAP) – the nation’s leading whistleblower protection and advocacy organization.

23 Comments

  1. Melissa Weaver says:

    SICK!!! STOP the madness!!Report

  2. marky says:

    This is Torture and Evil Then they let U eat it like nothing Happened ! My Gosh , What has become of the human Race ?Report

  3. Minerva says:

    Thank you Craig, you are a brave and kind man.Report

  4. Marlene Waite says:

    Inhumane treatment of chickens is so evil and it does not have to be that way. If we have to pay a bit more for chickens that are treated humanely, so be it. Horrible!Report

  5. EDWARD MIKAN says:

    “PERDUE” & THESE “INDUTSRIAL” “FARM” “OUTFITS” ARE “DIRTY” , “LYING” ,”THIEVING” , “ANIMAL” “CRUELTY” “ACCEPTORS & ADVOCATES!!!!”
    “THEY WILL DO ANYTHING,TO MAKE MONEY!!!!”
    ANYTHING!!!!
    “THEY ARE POLITICIANS IN BUSINESS & COULD CARE LESS ABOUT THE CHIKENS OR OTHER ANIMALS!!!!!!!!
    U S ARMY VETERAN, & CHRISTIAN, & ANIMAL GUARDIANReport

  6. irene reabuck says:

    how can anyone eat chicken after seeing this! Stop Big AG!!Report

  7. Dawn says:

    Thank you Craig for your bravery!! God speed!Report

  8. Bahru says:

    Let’s stop this evil act, let’s come together and let our voices be heard through all kinds of public platformsReport

  9. Lois Karasek says:

    Big Ag is just another segment of the Big Greed fostered by the highest profits to be obtained through the cheapest method of production. Personally, I would like to see EVERY form of “meat” production made illegal and focus solely on truck farming. It would be healthier and at the same time substantially reduce our health care costs. Can you imagine how the drug companies would scream, right along with the meat producers, when their sales and profits would plummet due to a healthier society? Idealistic thinking, I know.Report

  10. Stewart says:

    We need millions of whistleblowers who are for the greater good.
    The lack of empathy, compassion for animals all in the name of the almighty dollar would be even worse, if that is possible if it were not for whistleblowers in this . Many thanks Craig. You are a hero.
    I hope this video and article spreads all over the country, especially to those who are not aware of such cruelties these animals endureReport

  11. Josephine Irvine-Groves says:

    We need whistleblowers (Ed Snowden, thank you) for all
    forms of CAFOs (confined animal feeding operations).
    People would not eat the meat if they knew how it was
    produced. I am an old time farmer whose chickens an
    all livestock lived like plutocrats by comparison. They never knew how happy they were!! Where is the USDA
    and the FDA? They obviously are not protecting us.Report

  12. manning emily says:

    God bless you and protect you to make this known. But very few public understand this or know about this.Report

  13. Ilianna mars says:

    This is disgusting and as a young person in America I will stand with these whistle blowers and fight for human and animal rights this is unfair and this is abuseReport

  14. Meaghan Simpson says:

    I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your courage to share truthful revelations of the gross grim gruesome grotesque immoral
    crimes of cruelty against humanity and the animals in Perdue’s industrial fast growth chicken meat farms! I want to rescue all of them to farm animals sanctuaries, but your poor sick chickens with extremely unnatural perverted genetics that make them obscenely obese and cannot stand and move like real farm chickens…WOW it just occurred to me that probably Perdue chickens are GMO!?!? Is this the Frankenstein GMO chicken modified to have super big breasts and wings that their legs are not modified to hold up?! OMG!!! I do not eat any meat even organic pasture fed because the slaughter scene is not compassionate event I can feel comfortable with. I am trying to give up my raw organic dairy because the male calves are torn away at birth for veal industry and the mothers cry,
    moan, groan, grieving for weeks after their babies are ripped away!

    Please contact the Humane Society of United States and connect with everyone in the farm animals sanctuaries network… Please I hope you find a PETITION process like AVAZZ…or petition site or care petitions… Search best methods and materials for getting the word out broadly! May you be guided in The Light to maybe make your chicken farm turn into a conversion project to protect animals
    …maybe you can post your project on Indigogo crowd fundraiser…
    Like this woman singer who married a cattle rancher and could not in good conscience live with such animal cruelty and her husband said if she could find a way to transform the ranch into a sanctuary
    for the cattle, he would gladly agree! DO A SEARCH! FIND OTHERS OF LIKE MIND WHO ARE CALLED TO BE AMBASSADORS FOR PREVENTION OF CRUELTY TO FARM ANIMALS AND THINK BIG AND BE OPEN TO TIPS THAT MAY HELP YOU HELP MANY OTHER CHICKEN FARMERS IN YOUR NETWORK TO TURN THINGS AROUND!!! HOPE FOR HEALTHY
    HAPPY SOLUTIONS THAT YEILD BENEFITS FOR HUMANS AND ANIMALS…THIS MY DREAM AND MISSION. I HUMBLY OFFER MYSELF AS A WORTHY VOLUNTEER AT YOUR SERVICE. IF YOU EVER NEED TO BRAIN STORM, PUT ME ON YOUR LIST EMAIL ME AND I WILL SEND PHONE CONTACT.Report

  15. John Furlong says:

    Where the hell is the FDA, this is disgusting and beyond barbaric.Report

  16. Teresa says:

    WHOEVER APPROVES, WORKS AT, DONATES TO, SEES EVERYDAY, and does NOTHING! You will see KARMA in your life and she is a BITCH! SHAME ON YOU!!! I CAN NOT BELIEVE THIS IS LOOKED AT AS HUMANE!!!Report

  17. Nancy says:

    How the companies like Perdue have managed to hide the reality of their methods is beyond me. But then if you consider they bully and threaten the farmers livelihood perhaps it is conceivable. The public is being willfully blind, playing into the gross deception by companies like Perdue. It is unfortunate that our politicians are being paid to continue these deception. How naive to think our elected politicians would look out for the interests of the people who elect them. There is a fundamental and inherent flaw in the system in place that supports these atrocities, WE THE VOTERS MUST HOLD OUR REPRESENTATIVES IN THE GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTBLE AND STOP THEM BEING BOUGHT. Perhaps then our elected representatives will do the RIGHT thing instead of lining their pockets and acting as agents FOR BIG AG agendas at our expense and that of the farmed animal.Report

  18. Edwin says:

    Thank u Craig for coming forward and I hope the rest of the 29,999 farmers would unite together and put an end to this corruption with these corporate company and find a different way humanely with the chickens…God bless u and ur family Craig watts..Report

  19. Lisa White says:

    I greatly applaud you Craig!! Thank you for speaking out on so many facets of how horrible the chicken industry really is!! More people country wide need to know the horrors of the poultry industry and how inhumane raising these innocent, precious birds is done and the horrific life they live, in such a short time. However, I never knew how bad the industry treats its farmers that work so very hard and end up with hardly nothing in return!!! This is truly astounding to me and this ABUSIVENESS to farmers must be stopped and you need to be paid correctly because you’re doing all the HARD WORK!!!! THIS PLAYING FIELD MUST BE LEVELED PROPERLY ONCE AND FOR ALL, YOU ARE NOT THE INDUSTRIES SLAVES AND WORK FOR NOTHING, LET ALONE FOR THEM TO RETALIATE AGAINST ONES THAT ARE SPEAKING OUT IN AN EFFORT TO MAKE THINGS RIGHT!!!!!
    OUR GOVERNMENT NEEDS TO STOP BEING BOUGHT OUT BY BIG INDUSTRY AND BE SURE OUR AMERICAN WORKERS ARE BEING TREATED FAIRLY AND IF NOT…”THEN MAKE IT RIGHT FOR OUR AMERICAN FARMERS” GREAT JOB, CRAIG!!!!!!! MANY PRAYERS FOR YOU AND YOUR FAMILYReport

  20. Seth Wojciechowski says:

    Thank You CraigReport

  21. Roxanne says:

    Craig Watts is a HERO. Can we make a movie about this story? I think this would be a great way to make Americans more aware of what is going on. People deserve to know what Perdue is doing. It is despicable.Report

  22. Cynthia Mattera says:

    The commercial for Purdue make me so angry! They sit there are talk about how their chickens are raised cage free, but they don’t say that they are all tightly crammed together indoor, with no fresh air, no sun shine, and grown so big that their little legs cant handle their own body weight. Its such a sad, cruel industry. This is why I don’t eat meat! God bless Mr Watts for standing up to Purdue. I am praying for your family! SHAME ON PURDUE!Report

  23. Patricia Poole says:

    Craig Watts, I commend you for your braveness. But now since this has happened, watch your back!. Politics can be dirty. I respect a whistle blower. It has brought a light to all the cruelty and abuse that is going on in the factory farms, with the soring horses, rodeos and other areas of animal cruelty. Americans better hurry, wake up and smell the coffee. Our country is going down the drain fast all due to greed!!!!!!Report

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