Chipotle’s “Scarecrow” film didn’t make any friends in the agricultural world, and one farm bureau is speaking up.
In a recent statement, Steve Nelson, president of the Nebraska Farm Bureau, challenged the Mexican restaurant’s move to slam production agriculture.
“The Scarecrow campaign perpetuates two of the greatest fallacies of modern food production,” said Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson in a statement. “The first being the myth of the American ‘factory farm’, the second being that people involved in raising food care only about profit and do so at the expense of their animals and our natural resources.”
Chipotle responded to the statement, explaining that the film isn’t intended to be taken literally.
“’The Scarecrow’ film is a symbolic cautionary tale that depicts a future world where all food is processed and the ingredients come only from industrialized sources,” Chipotle spokeswoman Danielle Winslow told the Lincoln (Neb.) Journal Star via email.
“The film simply invites viewers to question where we are heading as a society,” she adds, “and to think more about where our food comes from and how it is prepared."
But Nelson contends that the film and corresponding game do nothing but paint “a picture of a society where food is raised and manufactured by a faceless corporate food system, using scarecrows as a mindless labor force to cover the harsh treatment of farm animals behind closed doors.”
“There are very real issues of hunger, food insecurity and challenges of feeding a growing population. These challenges are reflected in the various methods in which food is raised to ensure there are food choices for people at a variety of price points,” said Nelson. “The Chipotle campaign and video ignores these issues and, in the process, disparages farm and ranch families who care very much about the well-being of their fellow man, the animals in their care and the land and natural resources entrusted to them.”
“Chipotle’s motto is ‘Food with Integrity.’ Farm Bureau and its members share in that belief, but it is clear there are differences of opinion in how that is defined. We are open and willing to start a dialogue about what that truly means for all people who remain in need of the crops and livestock Farm Bureau members raise,” he adds.
Nelson isn’t alone. Since the film was released in September, many farmers, ranchers and their supporters have readily voiced their opinions. Read, “Dear Chipotle: Farmers respond to ‘scarecrow’ ad.
Some have taken to Chipotle’s own Facebook page to speak up:
“It is sad.. that a company would take a shot at the hard working people of america, to create a sappy, misleading commercial. Very sad. Anyone who saw the commercial, or the game, do research. Don't let chipotle create your view of agriculture. Last night, I was up thinking of the name of my next calf that will be born. Sounds rather caring doesn't it? Farmers care about their animals,” one comment said.
“I will NEVER eat with you again! You have just slapped EVERY farmer in the face! You have just shown your true colors with this utterly disrespectful "marketing" video!” one farming advocate wrote.
“There are literally millions of people involved in agriculture from farm to plate. You are demonizing people that are honest and hardworking, simply because you disagree philosophically with the way they produce food. I know cattle feedlots that contract cattle through packing houses for YOUR beef supply, and I think you're misleading the public,” another commented.