Farmed & Dangerous

OK, Chipotle. I loved your first video, “Back to the Start.” It was beautifully animated, subtle, and had just the right amount of emotional pull. It focused on improving  animal welfare and the environment without bashing on factory farming. After I watched it I wanted to find a CAFO and set all the cows free, while eating one of your burritos, of course.

Your second video “The Scarecrow” was darker and left me on the fence. It felt more like propaganda than a call to “be the change.” The overall message of “Back to the Start” was positive while the Scarecrow was darker, more sinister. Instead of focusing on the benefit of sustainable diversified farming as you did in “Back to the Start,” you dwelt on the shortcomings of industrial agriculture, though your portrayal wasn’t entirely fair or accurate. Still, I appreciated your efforts to encourage dialogue about the problems surrounding industrial agriculture. And your music choices for both videos were truly spot-on.

Unfortunately, your new series – “Farmed and Dangerous” – has gone too far. Yes, I understand it is hyperbolic satire. It’s also cheap & tawdry. It feels like a political smear campaign. We have enough of those coming from Washington. We don’t need you dragging the food industry into the mix. I’ve talked to several people who were very turned off by this video. These are people who are on the fence when it comes to the sustainable/industrial agriculture debate. Now they think we (because I’ve been lumped in with your likes) are a hateful, slanderous lot who only care about taking down the other side, whatever the cost and regardless of truth.

Thanks for that.

Right now I feel ashamed to have you on our side. Ashamed to be associated with you and this video. I will not be watching the rest of the series and will no longer patronize your restaurants (and will encourage others to avoid them as well).

I expected better from you.

(For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, Chipotle created a series of videos called “Farmed & Dangerous.” The first episode premiered on Hulu this week. You can watch it if you don’t mind wasting 20 minutes of your life. If you have watched/do watch it, what did you think?)

5 thoughts on “Farmed & Dangerous

    • That was my feeling. I almost turned it off several times and will not be watching the next three episodes. I (obviously) don’t agree with industrial agriculture, but I also don’t agree with taking cheap shots to try to undermine them. I’m not interested in sacrificing dignity and integrity just to strike a blow.

  1. This post has made me very curious about the video. I think I’m going to have to watch at least some of it. 😮

    The sad thing about propaganda in general (to me) is that it’s *everywhere* and a lot of people don’t question it – unless what they’re hearing/seeing conflicts with what they already believe. I really try to practice what I preach in that area and question even things I agree with… and it’s disheartening when I occasionally find that some important facts were left out. But it also reinforces the danger of accepting things at face value. That many consumers and voters are manipulated by media (of all kinds) makes it a powerful tool indeed (obviously). Nevermind pieces that are plain mean-spirited. Like you, I can’t get behind those even when the facts do back them up.

    I hope the fence-sitters you speak of will be able to separate Chipotle from the sustainable/industrial farming issue. Bad apples exist in every cause, religion, party, etc. (I guess I’m a fence-sitter too… can’t choose until I’ve heard both sides! 🙂 )

    Thank you for writing this post. It’s one of your best (imho)!

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