We filed a complaint on behalf of poultry grower, Rudy Howell. The complaint alleges that Rudy is a whistleblower and was wrongfully terminated for making protected disclosures. Howell refuses to remain silent and fought back against Big Agriculture with a bold message that can be seen from the sky. Howell mowed the 95ft-tall and 875-foot-wide phrase #FairShake into a 19-acre field next to his now empty chicken barns. Howell “hopes everybody sees” his concerns about rampant consolidation in the chicken industry. Rudy Howell’s story, and his message to the world,..Read More
FIC whistleblower client and Mississippi poultry farmer, Trina McClendon, testified before the U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary. She bravely spoke out against the unfair and exploitative tactics poultry companies use to trap farmers in a treadmill of debt. She talked about how consolidation in the poultry industry leads to one-sided contracts, lack of transparency, pay uncertainty, and fear tactics that keep farmers from speaking out.
FIC along with over 55 national and local organizations representing diverse interests demanded that farmers get a #FairShake. Together, we shared and amplified timely messages on social media about the impact of corporate consolidation in agriculture.
Starting on November 12, 2019, FIC and American University Washington College of Law host a week of events in Washington, DC to celebrate a decade of representing truth in our food system. Events include a screening of the documentary film, Eating Animals, followed by a panel discussion with advocates and whistleblowers featured in the movie; a VIP event to present the first annual Dean Wyatt Award for truth-telling; and an all-day conference with influential panelists and speakers convening to discuss intersectional oppression and opportunity within our food system.
FIC launched “Bacon Defender,” a satirical online game that exposes the dangers of Trump’s dangerous high-speed pork inspection rule. This innovative advocacy tool led game players to submit public comments opposing the rule to the USDA.
FIC filed an historic lawsuit against poultry company Perdue on behalf of contract poultry grower Craig Watts, marking the beginning of FIC’s campaign to improve conditions for contract growers. Watts faced retaliation from his contractor, Perdue, after he invited an animal welfare organization to document conditions on his farm. He wanted the public to know that the growing practices Perdue required of him contradicted the “humanely raised” label Perdue placed on its labels. FIC also represents Eric Hedrick in federal court against Pilgrim’s Pride, which retaliated against Hedrick after he..Read More
FIC met whistleblower Dr. James Keen after his allegations of animal abuse at a USDA research facility blazed across headlines in The New York Times. As a veterinarian and professor, Dr. Keen researched ways to improve the productivity of farm animals. Dr. Keen became increasingly concerned over incidences of animal neglect, and, after unsuccessfully attempting to initiate reforms from within, he reached out to the media. Dr. Keen’s disclosures prompted both consumer outrage and government investigations into the research facilities practices. FIC works with Dr. Keen to help leverage his..Read More
Kauai, Hawaii’s year-round growing season makes it an ideal place for biotech and pesticide companies to test new seeds and chemicals, such that some fields in Kauai rank among the most intensively sprayed agricultural land in the U.S. Pesticides drift from those fields, sickening residents and polluting Kauai’s unique ecosystem. Contacted for help by local activists, FIC investigated the close relationships between Hawaii lawmakers and pesticide company lobbyists. Activists successfully advocated for a local law to create buffer zones around homes and schools, among other protections, which continues to face..Read More
FIC was an early leader in fighting anti-whistleblower “Ag Gag” bills in state legislatures. Over the course of a few years, 25 state legislatures considered and seven state governments passed bills to criminalize certain whistleblowing activities on factory farms. The livestock, dairy, and poultry industries lobbied heavily for these bills as a way to reduce scrutiny of their practices. Courts have overturned Ag Gag laws in four states. FIC has contributed briefs in opposition to Ag Gag and is a plaintiff in a current case to overturn North Carolina’s Ag..Read More
USDA inspector Phyllis McKelvey exposed the truth behind a proposed high-speed poultry inspection system. After working in a pilot of the inspection program, McKelvey contacted FIC with concerns. She blew the whistle on increased risk of fecal contamination and worker injuries associated with the pilot inspection plan. She became the public face of a multi-organization campaign against the plan. McKelvey authored a petition to USDA that received over 180,000 signatures. McKelvey’s activism prompted seven other poultry inspectors to provide FIC with anonymous legal affidavits that backed her claims.