Target: White Oak Pastures
Goal: Express our support for Georgia poultry farm for adopting safer, healthier, and more sustainable operations
As the biggest producer of chicken in the U.S., Georgia is often referred to as the “poultry capital of the world.” The poultry farming industry in Georgia and throughout the U.S. is dominated by harmful and inhumane factory farming. However, several farms such as White Oak Pastures are leading the way in a transition to safer and more sustainable poultry farming through pastured poultry. Pastured poultry is a relatively new term that refers to birds raised outdoors in grass. This differs from the ambiguously defined “free-range,” a term that signifies chickens are still primarily in dark and crowded warehouses.
According to conventional poultry farming, increased efficiency means producing more chickens in the least expensive and time-intensive way possible. This has resulted in practices that are unethical, dangerous, and unsustainable for animals, consumers, and the environment.
Independent studies have proven the relationship between ubiquitous antibiotic use in chicken farming and the creation of “superbugs.” Poultry in particular, as the least expensive and most popular meat consumed in America, has the greatest ability to transfer resistant bacteria to humans and cause infections. Maryn McKenna, a writer for The Atlantic, established “a link between poultry farming and drug-resistant bacteria responsible for millions of difficult-to-treat urinary tract infections each year.”
White Oak Pastures once subscribed to the industrial factory farming model of feeding animals harmful hormones and valuing profit over animal welfare and the environment. The farm’s owner, Will Harris, learned how to raise animals naturally and replaced their inefficient monoculture with diverse and holistic farming methods to improve the land. They introduced 10 different animals to graze in a constant rotation to fertilize and rejuvenate the farm’s pastures. This transformation has paid off, as the farm has achieved great success and recently signed with Whole Foods, who will carry the farm’s chicken in their stores.
In several states, harsh regulations known as “ag-gag” laws criminalize unauthorized photography inside these facilities. Instead of addressing the problematic practices and standards they observe, these farms conceal the ugly truth behind their industrial walls. White Oaks Pastures emphasizes transparency by welcoming visitors to the farm, offering tours of slaughterhouses, and allowing people and the press to take photographs of farm operations. Their slaughtering process is also closely monitored by a USDA inspector.
Sign below to show your support for this farm’s efforts to embrace sustainable poultry farming.
Dear White Oaks Pastures,
We thank you for being a leader in the movement to use safer, more humane, and environmentally sustainable methods of poultry farming. By encouraging visitors and guided tours, White Oaks Pastures is increasing transparency in the way people think about the origins of their chicken and allows for more informed consumer choices.
Your farm will also serve as an important model for other poultry farms in Georgia transitioning to healthier and safer practices. By creating a market for sustainably-raised poultry, White Oaks Pastures will help inspire others to rethink the status quo and insist on high-quality and healthier food choices.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Amber Carnes via Flickr