New Food Economy – Playing Chicken, By Joe Fassler — A new class-action lawsuit

Playing chicken

Photo by Marcello Cappellazzi

Broiler chickens are raised indoors, and farmers are responsible for the cost of construction. Above, Craig Watts, a poultry industry whistleblower and a plaintiff in the case

A new class-action lawsuit claims that poultry processors conspire to keep farmers trapped and dependent

By Joe Fassler February 1, 2017

In 1987, Karen and Mitchell Crutchfield started growing chickens for Tyson Foods. It took a lot of money to get up and running: about $150,000 to build two chicken houses on their property in Lamar, Arkansas. But, as it turned out, the initial costs were only the beginning. Right away, the couple says, Tyson began requiring costly adjustments. Before it would even make the first shipment of birds, Karen says, the company wanted improvements to the road leading to the houses. Later, it made them change over from water troughs to nipple feeders. Then, it wanted a newfangled freezer system to store dead birds until they could be picked up for composting. MORE