Protect Family Farmers from Corporate Assault

factory farmed chickens

Target: Donnie Smith, President and CEO of Tyson Foods

Goal: Demand that the company end its campaign to weaken farmer protections

Just four companies control the majority of all beef, chicken and pork consumed in the United States each year–and no one in the world processes more meat than Tyson Foods. In 2012 alone the company had reported sales of more than $33 billion. So perhaps it is not surprising that Tyson has spent a great deal of its money to influence legislation, both to weaken food safety regulations and to make it tougher for the small farms it contracts with to turn a profit.

Tyson was fined hundreds of thousands of dollars for a long list of safety violations at one processing plant; the previous year saw several employees die while working at various job sites. Company management verbally and physically assaulted immigrant workers during an unrelated strike. Its slaughterhouses are well-known to employ cruel methods. Seemingly whenever possible Tyson Foods has cut corners to increase profits for top executives and shareholders. A recent campaign to weaken farmer protections is just the latest step.

Tyson sells its contracted farmers chicks and feed, then buys back the full-grown chickens for processing. The so-called “Tyson Foods Anti-Farmer Act” would make it more challenging for farmers to profit from this arrangement, and more difficult for farmers to sue over breach of contract. These important protections were authored by the US Department of Agriculture’s Grain Inspection, Packers & Stockyards Administration (GIPSA); Tyson’s lobbying efforts are an attempt to weaken the group’s regulatory powers overall. Such actions put both consumers and farmers at risk.

Demand that Tyson Foods end its ongoing war on family farmers, and end its lobbying efforts to weaken GIPSA regulations.


Dear Mr. Smith,

From a seeming disregard for worker safety to a nasty habit of exploiting immigrants, there’s not much Tyson Foods hasn’t done to increase profits at the expense of others. Recent attempts to weaken regulations meant to protect farmers sounds like more of the same.

Consumers increasingly demand meat that is ethically sourced, humanely killed, and the sale of which benefits both executives and farmers. Together with advocacy and watchdog groups they are organizing against corporate influence in politics and law. As things stand now Tyson Foods appears to be moving in the opposite direction. Profits will surely suffer as the public becomes more informed of your company’s shady business practices.

Stand behind the family farmers that have made Tyson what it is today. Don’t force them to live in poverty just to line shareholders’ pockets. I must insist that as President and CEO of Tyson Foods you end your attack on GIPSA laws and regulatory authority.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Compassion Over Killing via Wikimedia

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