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Food Integrity Campaign Blog

Protect Farmers Keeping Big Chicken Accountable

Amanda Hitt | June 3, 2016

The truth is trending in the poultry industry. More and more brave farmers are speaking out and seeking assistance from GAP’s Food Integrity Campaign to expose Big Chicken’s greedy practices.

Eric Hedrick, a West Virginia poultry farmer contracted with Pilgrim’s Pride, sought our help after going public with concerns about diseased birds that look like they’re rotting from the inside out, unfair treatment of farmers, and other problems that the industry would prefer to stay hidden. “I’d be apprehensive about buying a chicken in the market,” he told the New York Times.

Eric took a huge risk by speaking out. Many farmers are afraid to voice their concerns as it is, but a legislative measure that the chicken industry and its lobbyists are trying to sneak through Congress would make them even more vulnerable. The proposed agriculture budget for the next fiscal year includes an obstructive rider that would defund GIPSA (USDA’s Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration), which provides basic safeguards for farmers like Eric. These protections, among other things, make it illegal for companies to retaliate against contract chicken growers who have grievances – a key step in keeping the industry accountable!

The House has already passed the bill that would strip support for these key safeguards. We can’t let the Senate do the same! Please join more than 20,000 people in signing Eric’s petition urging senators to stop this measure in its tracks and support farmers who stand up against greedy corporations.

Without basic protections, farmers can’t effectively unveil injustices that are bad for growers, animals, and consumers alike. Keeping GIPSA funded means more integrity in the food system. Make sure your senators vote in favor of farmer protections today.


Amanda Hitt is Director of the Food Integrity Campaign, a program of the Government Accountability Project – the nation’s leading whistleblower protection and advocacy organization.