NOBULL: ‘Portlandia’ spoof against USDA chicken rule; ‘The Meat Racket’

‘Portlandia’ spoof against USDA chicken rule; ‘The Meat Racket’

Food & Water Watch launched an ad campaign this week a proposed chicken slaughterhouse rule that features a spoof on the TV show "Portlandia." (Food & Water Watch)

By Lynne Terry |
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on March 13, 2014 at 8:19 AM

An environmental group launched a campaign against a U.S. Department of Agriculture plan to speed up chicken processing lines that includes a spoof on the TV show "Portlandia."

The video, sponsored by Food & Water Watch, shows two people questioning a waitress about the chicken on the menu, just like in this episode of "Portlandia." But the couple in the campaign ad in not interested in the name of the bird or whether he’s well-treated. Rather, they are delighted to learn that the chickens are raised on a factory farm that pollutes the community’s water supply and are fed antibiotics which sicken people.

"We’ll take two," the two exclaim, ordering.

The video, which was posted on YouTube, is part of the campaign against the USDA’s proposal to speed up chicken processing lines from 140 birds a minute to 175. The group, which has been fighting the proposal for about two years, has taken out ads in Politico and

USDA Secretary Ton Vilsack is due to testify before the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee on Friday.

“We can’t allow the USDA to let the poultry companies police themselves just to save a few bucks,” says Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch, said in a statement. “This rule is a gift to the meat industry, which has been fighting regulation for years, but it’s at the expense of worker and consumer safety. The USDA should do its job and uphold the federal meat inspection system, not dismantle it.”

And in another story about slaughterhouses, Nicholas Kristof reports in the New York Times on a new book, "The Meat Racket," that says the meat market in the United States is controlled by a handful of companies led by Tyson Foods.

Tyson slaughters 135,000 head of cattle a week, 391,000 hogs and 41 million chickens. Nearly all Americans regularly eat Tyson meat — at home, McDonald’s, in cafeterias and nursing homes.

"The Meat Racket" argues that a handful of companies, led by Tyson, control our meat industry in ways that raise concerns about the impact on animals and humans alike, while tearing at the fabric of rural America. Many chicken farmers don’t even own the chickens they raise or know what’s in the feed, Kristof writes. They just raise the poultry on contract for Tyson, and many struggle to make a living.