This week I read an article about the bind of farmers working for corporate farming companies, specifically, Perdue. According to this article, Perdue abuses the farmers that work for them by giving the farmers poor birds or feed or whatever and making the farmers pick up the cost for the poor quality, keeping them in debt so they can’t change companies or make a fuss.
I found this article interesting because of how it interacted with the views on the commercial farming industry presented in the book “Eating Animals” that we just read. There was a section that was commentary from a commercial poultry farmer, and that person seemed proud of what they did and didn’t mention the kind of abuse from the parent company that this article was all about.
It just made me think. If there was abuse in the case of the farmer in “Eating Animals”, you would think in that several page ramble of an interview that they would mention at least that the company controls things that lead to the poor health of their birds.
So, is the first farmer fibbing a little about how much control they have and how proud they are to be a farmer, to sound patriotic or whatnot to the interviewer? Or is the second farmer fibbing about how bad it is for him to get sensationalized by this liberal newspaper? Or are they both telling the truth, in which case, which of them is more representative of the majority of factory farmers, if either? Does that matter? I would argue it shifts the blame quite a bit, from farmer to company or the other way around, depending on who represents the majority best.
The article is called ‘I can’t get above water’: how America’s chicken giant Perdue controls farmers, by Michael Sainato.