Costco Is Under Fire For Misleading ‘Animal Welfare Claims;’ Members Of Congress Urge The Federal Trade Commission To Investigate

Last week, Mercy For Animals announced that Representatives Haley Stevens of Michigan and Veronica Escobar of Texas sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requesting that the FTC investigate possible false advertising by Costco regarding its animal welfare policy.

The letter responds to a Mercy For Animals investigation revealing disturbing footage at a Nebraska farm that supplies Lincoln Premium Poultry, the company Costco set up and controls to supply itself with many of the 100 million rotisserie chickens it sells each year. The undercover footage exposes chickens bred to grow so large so fast that they cannot support their weight, as well as countless birds suffering from open wounds and broken bones.

The cruel practices captured in the footage stand in stark contrast to Costco’s claim that “animal welfare is a critical component that has been integrated into all aspects of the chicken supply chain, from the hatchery to the grower barns to the processing facility.”

“Although Costco profits off its marketed claims that ‘animal welfare is a critical component that has been integrated into all aspects’ of its vertically integrated chicken supply chain, this structure results in systemic inhumane treatment of these chickens,” stated the letter that was sent to Rebecca Kelly Slaughter at the FTC. “More than 200 food companies in North America have already adopted humane guidelines, such as those outlined in the Better Chicken Commitment, that address the worst suffering for chickens. Costco has not. For this reason, Costco’s claim that it is ‘committed to maintaining the highest standards of animal welfare, is deceptive to stakeholders.'”

“We commend Representative Escobar and Representative Stevens for speaking up for the millions of chickens that Costco suppliers raise and slaughter every year,” Leah Garcés, President of Mercy For Animals, said in a statement sent to WAN. “Costco has built a system of cruelty, hidden from consumers, that prioritizes providing cheap chicken over the animal welfare standards that Costco claims to meet and the company’s members expect. Costco controls millions of animals’ lives and can take immediate action by adopting the Better Chicken Commitment, a set of higher welfare standards already supported by hundreds of restaurants, retailers, and food companies. Such a policy would ban cruel practices uncovered in the investigation referenced by Representatives Stevens and Escobar in their letter.”

There also seems to be some questionable information posted on the Lincoln Premium Poultry website. Our values reflect our collaboration with Costco, evident in our respect for our employees and growers, commitment to quality, recognition of an entrepreneurial spirit, and focus on the environment and responsible animal husbandry practices,” stated the company on its website. This is contradictory given the abuse that is being inflicted on these poor innocent chickens being sold to Costco.

Sign the petition urging Costco to put an end to this horrific animal cruelty, HERE!

You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg

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