Reason being that for one, Costco was one of the first grocers to start replacing items with Organic alternatives, and in general, they usually demands higher quality goods than other grocers. For example, compare the ingredient list for Delimex taquitos from Costco to your supermarket and it's basically half the size... or Campbell's "Simply" Chicken Noodle soup to what's sold at the grocer - again about half the ingredients. Even those $5 chickens Costco sells are antibiotic/hormone/steroid-free humane-certified Foster-Farms chickens.
Then there's employee treatment. Costco has a long history of being one of the better employers in the country. They pay their employees well, pay for people to attend college, don't require a lot of interaction with irate customers thanks to their no deadline any reason return policy and generally promote internally rather than hiring outsiders to leadership roles.
Compare that to the average chicken farmer who has to buy all of their own equipment that the big companies are constantly requiring them to update at their own expense, raise chickens they don't own like a horrific daycare center at very low return, all while being exposed to chemicals/drugs they're being forced to use and it's kind of a nightmare.
Costco cares about their brand image, their customers and their employees... I expect this will end up being a good thing.
As someone who grew up in the poultry pathology industry, there are three important metrics for commercial chicken meat production: (1) mortality rate (how many chickens die), (2) feed conversion ratio (how efficiently incoming feed is turned into usable meat), & (3) time to slaughter.
Everything else (price, environment impact) is a consequence of those figures or optimizations made to target them.
Perdue, long before it was trendy (~2002) decided for market and moral reasons they were going to reorganize their operations, and those of their suppliers, to apply pre-antibiotic husbandry best practices and limit antibiotic use.
It didn't save them money. Pre-emptive dosing with antibiotics is done precisely because it makes money (by decreasing loss / all cause mortality) -- if it didn't, no one would do it in the first place.
They didn't have to do this. Hell, most people didn't even care about antibiotics in animal production then.
But they did it because they thought there would be a market for it, because they thought it was possible, and because they thought it was the right thing to do.
Costco may be an ethical company, and they may be doing this for the right reasons, but they're following.
I'd rather reward someone who chose to lead in making the world a better place.
PS: There are other ecological reasons to prefer chicken if you're eating terrestrial meat, but I didn't want to ramble on. Suffice to say, the feed conversion ratio on chicken is incredible.
1. Eating beef is far more ethical than eating chicken.
1a) There's some (non-zero) probability that meat cows have net positive lives, while I don't think anybody I respect ever suggested that the current conditions of broiler chickens are potentially positive.
1b) Cows are way over 100x heavier than chickens, which means you need 2+ orders of magnitude more suffering/dead chickens to supply the same amount of calories from eating chickens as eating (potentially even net positive) cows.
1c) The environmental harms of different meat animals is far smaller than either the direct ethical costs or the financial costs. You can look into carbon offsetting for example.
2.You might think that you have no moral imperative to create net positive lives, only to avoid really bad cases of animal abuse. I assure you that really bad cases of animal abuse do in fact happen.
3. You might believe that chickens are not sentient and do not have morally relevant experiences. This is a complicated topic but I would argue that even if you only have a 10% chance of chickens having morally relevant experiences (and 90+% that they don't is far from justified given the state of current evidence), not eating chicken is still the right thing to do under most reasonable models of uncertainty.
4) You may believe that sentience is not a morally relevant criteria, and that there's a form of Human Exceptionalism where morality is defined to be about humans. Perhaps you only care about the environment for its effect on humans. If this is the case, I will be shocked if personal diet for ecology reasons is "the most ethical thing you can do" to preserve the future of humanity.
In general, while I applaud attempts to do moral reasoning in taboo tradeoffs, I find reasoning that ignores the highest number of beings suspect. (I feel the same way when economists debate the cost-effectiveness of immigration while entirely skipping the impact on immigrants).
I don't go on HN often, so apologies if I don't respond to comments too quickly. Good luck with thinking this through clearly! :)
Would it impact your moral calculus if we artificially retarded broiler chicken's intelligence?
1c) To me, the carbon and land use impacts dominate the direct ethical costs. With a ~1:4 carbon footprint ratio of chicken:beef, and taking into account my (1ab) opinion, that's enough to offset the individual mind count concern.
2) I value animal life conditions in a net utilitarian manner. Providing humans sustenance and pleasure in the form of edible protein is weighed against animal conditions.
3) What are the consequences of making an incorrect decision that cause you to weigh the 10% so heavily?
4) Including the qualifying "if you eat meat" phrase in my quote and the context of the comment thread (organic, chemical / drug use), I think my statement is pretty clear. To expand, "If you eat meat, the most ethical thing you can do is support a chicken producer who attempted to eliminate mass-dosing with antibiotics from their entire production chain."
You'd probably be interested in Peter Singer (see updated copies of Animal Liberation) and the debate between absolute, preference, and hedonistic varieties of utilitarianism.
I've surreptitiously built a HN identity for years so that I could finally cash in on that sweet poultry guerilla marketing cash.
I haven't had too much experience with Wikipedia, but I absolutely believe your story. Their hierarchy is... interesting.
Pepperidge Farm remembers.
That's a lot easier to do when you only carry a fraction of the UPCs that say, Walmart does.
As of right now my local supermarket (subsidiary of Kroger) has the following:
Cheerios 12 oz
Cheerios 18 oz family size
Cheerios 20 oz giant size
It's way beyond stupid. This idiocy is the fault of both the manufacturers and retailers.
Just the same bag as the inside of that cheerios box in 3oz increments with a plain label.
edit: was pointed to this Reuters article which seems like a reasonable starting point.
- Fewer hormones for growth
- Fewer antibiotics (diseases spread rapidly in confined spaces)
- Higher quality meat (Chicken gets more exercise and movement, as well as increased quality of feed)
- Higher nutritional value (increased exercise and sunlight, potentially)
In terms of calories though, it's probably a wash, and more inefficient from calories/money.
>Chicken gets more exercise and movement
Having raised chickens for meat on a small scale (30-40 at a time), I can tell you that chickens used for meat ("Broiler" chickens) are selectively bred to grow as big as possible as quickly as possible. There is no need for growth hormones, they grow so quickly that their bone structure cannot keep up, to the point that they are barely able to walk 8-12 weeks from hatching. If they are not slaughtered on time, they die from heart failure.
Wow, you weren't kidding.  I am not surprised that chickens have been bred to grow fast, but I've never heard of an animal that implodes because it grows so fast.
At this point, they're not far away from muscle growing machines with just enough brain attached to partially handle themselves.
The FDA bans hormones in all poultry production, companies advertising it are trying to fool you into thinking the opposite is possible, it isn't.
>- Fewer antibiotics
Zero antibiotics is very common among producers
It's been illegal to give chickens growth hormones for a long time. Most major chicken brands (Tyson and Purdue, who are #1 and 2 in terms of production) do not give chickens antibiotics, unless the flock gets sick. In that case, the flock is treated and then sold as a different product- usually either as pet food or an off brand.
I don't know why we use hormones and antibiotics for pork and beef but not chicken.
This is a urban legend. Not sure if it was true at any point, but it is not the case.
Chickens were selectively bred to grow fast enough as it is, to the point that some breeds have a percentage of offspring lost. Try to make them grow any faster and more will die.
> - Higher quality meat (Chicken gets more exercise and movement, as well as increased quality of feed)
At least for cows (and most game), you don't want them to exercise too much or the meat won't be as tender. Is it different for chickens?
If you go to other beef obsessed countries in the world in South America, Europe and especially Asia, a certain degree of chew is considered desirable. Take Picanha from Brazil, Bistecca alla Fiorentina from Florence of Kalbi Short Ribs from Korea.
There tends to be a flavour/tenderness tradeoff. So you'll tend to get more flavour from more used muscles. (eg chicken breast v thigh)
That said, the average battery hen could do a hell of a lot more exercise and still not be tough.
I know I'm not winning any brownie points here, but I think it's important to be realistic in your moral assessments.
> it's a much better solution than paying some company to call you a good person.
If you can afford to and understand the terrible conditions of battery chicken, but wish to still eat meat, then one choice is morally better. It's unrealistic to think otherwise. Signaling intention with your purchase decisions is real. Not eating meat is of course the better solution, but is again an unrealistic expectation to have for many people.
You seem unable to tolerate incremental improvement. Why is that?
That's why organic isn't always the most ideal.
> On an organic farm, once that animal receives antibiotics, she is no longer considered an organic animal. Rather than rejoining her organic herd, she will join a traditional herd of cows that may have received antibiotics during their lives.
The more popular the organic religious dietary code becomes, the least viable traditional herds are.
In Europe it’s different - https://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/organic/eu-policy/eu-rules-...
“When the animals are ill, chemically synthesised allopathic veterinary medicinal products including antibiotics may be used where necessary and under strict conditions. This is only allowed when the use of phytotherapeutic, homeopathic and other products is inappropriate.”
If your chicken don't get sick because they have free roaming space and don't peck each other and so on you don't need antibiotics.
Chickens are assholes no matter the square footage.
i won't spoil the punchline (it's not obvious from first blush).
otherwise you can search for “ODI optical distortion business case” to find sites that have the setup and various attempts at analyzing/answering the case.
You may be interested in: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feed_conversion_ratio
If plant diet was optimizing for caloric intake and health advantages, most human societies would have been vegan. But no human society throughout human existence and pre-human existence were vegan because plant diet isn't optimal.
It's also why vegans tend to be lethargic, lose bone mass, teeth rot, joint pains, have trouble concentrating, etc. It's why vegans have to take tons of supplements to even stay alive and while doing so do long term damage to their bodies.
Balanced diet folks. It's something humans have been designed to eat since human existence. Not only does your body need it, it also helps with your gut biodiversity which helps prevent anxiety, depression, etc.
Caveat: I'm a huge meat eater. Love the stuff. Can't stop won't stop.
BUUUTTTT the natural fallacy has to die. Just because we did something for the last N millennia doesn't make it worthy of continuation.
Just in case. Many people think that a fallacy existing is proof of the contrary position, or at least they speak/argue/type as if that is the case.
The corollary of course is that despite the apparent fallacious reasoning you could be right.
And my point wasn't that we should do something just because it's been done before. My point is that if veganism was "natural and optimal", then why hasn't any human society in history adopted it? Because humans cannot survive on a vegan diet without supplements.
In other words, my point is that if the vegan assertion that "veganism is the optimal natural human diet" ( aka what humans were meant to eat ), why has no human society ever adopted it and why can't humans survive on a vegan diet in nature.
I don't know if that's true. We may not have been able to supply the amount of vegetation required to keep a human being upright and functional a millennia ago, but now that we live in the age of abundance, with food diversity that's unprecedented that may not be an issue at all. We can artificially create a complete diet of strictly plant matter with intelligent choices.
That's very hard to distinguish from supplements. Some nutrients are hard to find in useful quantities in plants, so you need a ton of them. The most practical approach is to extract and put them in a pill. Supplements. Nothing wrong with it.
I think when somebody asserts x is the best diet because x is what we have been doing for thousands of years, x most often includes eating meat. There is a whole diet based around this idea called the Paleo diet. It may very well be the most popular diet of the last 5 years.
The only time I can recall it being asserted that veganism was the historic human diet, it was by a total quack YouTube personality. Veganism was also tangential to this claim; the claim was that the diet should be 100% figs.
This is simply not true and one of the many lies anti-vegan activists tell.
I've never had a cavity in my life. I'm not super old yet, but I don't think I have any joint issues beyond what comes with being nearly 50.
The efficacy of supplements isn't even established as reliable in many cases.
Porpiosly's comments on this seem quite extreme. I suggest others reading this do their own research or consult with their personal physicians before altering their diet in a significant way.
Can you show me one vegan that doesn't take supplements?
They don't. All you need to supplement is B12, and that's one small pill a day to take.
If you're interested in the background, find some information e.g. here: https://nutritionfacts.org/topics/vitamin-b12/
It's much harder to have a balanced diet eating only plants. You can't easily compete against organisms that only eat plants, and have been collecting all the nutrients, for their entire existence, for you.
Humans are adapted to eat from both plants and animal sources. Take away one source, and you have to adapt.
I'm confused as to what you mean here. Do you mean the energy required to produce plant foods is higher than the energy required to produce animal foods? If so, this seems self-evidently false: all edible calories start out as plant calories, and we can either eat the plants or have animals eat the plants (wasting a bunch of the input energy along the way) and then eat the animals. Or do you mean the effort to prepare the plant foods is higher? If so... maybe? But that'll inherently be subjective and depend on what people want to eat. Certainly, meat-free prepared foods are not difficult to find, at least in the US.
> But no human society throughout human existence and pre-human existence were vegan because plant diet isn't optimal... Balanced diet folks. It's something humans have been designed to eat since human existence.
I don't think many vegans argue that humans were designed to eat only plants (many would dispute that humans were designed at all), but looking at historical societies isn't that useful; advances in agricultural technology have made eating a healthy vegan diet more feasible than it used to be, so the fact that it wasn't practical to do 100 years ago or 1000 years ago or whatever isn't very interesting. In the here and now, it is possible, and there's plenty of peer-reviewed research suggesting that the optimal amount of red meat, in particular, to consume, is none (it's carcinogenic), that animal fat of any kind isn't great either, and that people who reduce or eliminate consumption of these foods while still maintaining adequate caloric and nutrient intake have reduced all-cause mortality.
In any event, many vegans would also argue that even if it wasn't possible to eat vegan historically, the fact that it is now means that we should, for reasons of ethics/animal welfare, greenhouse gas emissions, etc.
> It's also why vegans tend to be lethargic, lose bone mass, teeth rot, joint pains, have trouble concentrating, etc.
> It's why vegans have to take tons of supplements to even stay alive and while doing so do long term damage to their bodies.
The only nutrient that only occurs naturally in animal sources is B12. It's true that vegans generally need to get their B12 either from supplements or fortified foods, but the technology for that exists, so there's no real downside here.
Other than that, many vegans choose to get other nutrients from supplements or fortified foods because it's easier than planning a diet that includes all of them naturally. Omnivores do this too, though; we just don't think about it, because that diet is standard enough that it makes sense from a public health perspective to incorporate nutrient supplementation directly into the regular food supply so people don't have to think about it. That's why there's iodine in table salt, or vitamin D in milk. If everyone were vegan, we would do the same for nutrients that require special attention in vegan diets, but that says nothing inherent about veganism.
And I have no idea what that "long term damage" claim is about. There's nothing inherently dangerous about getting a nutrient in a capsule instead of in a steak.
Your link also suggests that having healthy gut flora is important (true), but doesn't support the case that you need to eat animals to achieve it, at least as far as I can tell.
I'm no expert but I believe there may actually be some limited basis to that claim: ruminants can eat things we can't (grass) and there are areas where it's more ecological to grow grass and let ruminants eat it than try to grow things that we could process. You also get the benefit of better topsoil with the help of the animal dung.
But I think the (huge) majority of the meat we eat is fed grain, where we're obviously wasting energy.
I'm curious about this one - what about things like corn and soybean? Those would seem pretty readily accessible in terms of pure caloric content.
If that is so, why are all these people healing and getting healthier on an all-meat diet? http://meatheals.com
Sure, if you could live eating chicken feed then it would certainly be cheaper to eat that instead of chicken for caloric intake. But to optimize for dollar nutritional value in food humans actually eat, it's pretty hard to beat the $5 chicken.
As for the present time, I agree that the retail price of meat and the nutrients offered makes it a pretty good deal.
It's $5-6 bucks, seasoned, cooked, in a plastic container. You know there's no way that's a fair price, right?
If you look at most of the grocery store rotisserie chickens, they're roughly 2 pounds - 3 pounds at Costco, which is one of their selling points. At $5, you're paying $1.67-2.50/pound for the bird, a few cents worth of seasoning and oil, a plastic shell, labor and depreciation on the rotisserie equipment. The store is probably not paying even $1/pound for those small birds.
As for them being ones that the store was selling that were past their date, go look at whole chickens in the store some time. If you find any 2 pound birds I'd be very surprised - you're more likely going to see a minimum of 3.5 pounds, at least in the US. The store also wouldn't be cooking random-weight birds because it's going to be much harder to control for even cooking - you can't just throw a 4 pound bird that's approaching its sell by date into the oven with your 2 pound birds, it'll be raw inside when you pull the rest of the birds out.
They are high margin, but low volume. A fifty cent chicken, with a few cents worth of spices (mostly salt) and like three minutes of labor will sell for $5. Not including the additional revenue from sides and rolls.
If you don't mind watching a YouTube video, this guy does a good job summing up the problems some have had:
That phrase doesn't mean what you think it means. If you can declare bankruptcy, you can't be an indentured servant.
Everything tastes 'chemical' :)
Snarky comment aside, I agree. Chicken in the US tastes quite bland, generally. At least compared to the Brazilian counterparts.
Vegetables are ok. Most berries are delicious. But bananas taste like cardboard. Some are less bad than others, but still. They do "look" perfect; I'd rather have an ugly, but tasty, banana. Mangos are crap. Most oranges taste like they have already been packaged in a box (there are some good ones though).
You might be referring to the "gamy" part of it. That's valid for super wild chickens, but a little walk only makes them a lot better. There's no comparison in taste between a 50 day old chicken raised in mass-produced conditions and a 6-7 month one that roams in someone's backyard.
If you eat more natural white meat, it’s drier because there is less fat and no added fluid.
They don't even hide the fact that they do it; most of them print it right on the packaging.
I quit buying supermarket chicken a long time ago because the quality is very poor. I trim the excess fat off chicken, and supermarket stuff has so much waste it was shocking.
For me, it has helped my mental well being, to not (even subconsciously) have to think about the life of the being whose flesh I've been eating.
Slightly different? I like vegetables and tofu as much as they next person, but 'textured protein' meat alternatives taste nothing like the real thing.
I prefer just to spend a little more on a non-battery chicken.
Shocked -- because it was surprisingly superior?
I think you mean not everyone needs to eat meat every day... the way you phrase it makes it sound like an argument for lowering the minimum wage.
However, is it really less ethical to raise animals (in humane circumstances, open pasture, etc) and butcher them quickly than to either:
a. Cause them to never exist and never experience life at all (presupposes that one places higher value on existence than non-existence, which is philosophically debatable of course)
b. Cause them to die a natural death at the hands of either predators that will mangle and mutilate them, or to disease which is a slow and terrible way to go?
I've never seen such cruelty as is found in nature. Even just seeing what the neighborhood cats do to the birds makes my stomach turn. I think if I were mangled and blinded, I'd be begging for somebody to kill me quickly.
I can say with confidence that they work hard and are very diligent in maintaining a high standard of quality.
It's a false sense of higher morality to claim "ethical reasons" for not buying those chicken. You aren't saving or improving the lives of any chickens when you do that.
And those chickens don't have it all that bad. I also raise my own chickens and they have a great life for a chicken but it's not idyllic. Chickens have always been low on the food chain and here where I live there are a lot of chicken eaters that are not human.
As for safe and organic feed, we all want that, even my neighbors who are chicken farmers. Right now that's still easier said than done. Costco's move may help lead/push us that direction and I commend them for leading on this issue.
I don't see how this statement can be held with confidence to be true.
If I buy chicken whose precise provenance is known, and which are raised in humane conditions with high-quality feed, with a process that is minimally negatively (or, ideally, positively) environmentally impactful, then indeed there is an ethical gain in doing so.
If I buy from Tyson, I have no way of knowing any of this. Nor does Tyson even claim that I can know these things.
We're talking morals and we're surely going to have some differences in opinion, but I don't see how raising animals who've been selectively bred to grow an order of magnitude faster and larger than they would naturally, kept indoors for most of their lives, and killed at less than 1% of their potential lifespan could ever be considered "humane". Especially when their consumption is wholly unnecessary.
First off, not eating chickens doesn't make life any better for those chickens that are eaten, and no chickens live better as a result of not eating them. The best that can be said is less chickens live because they were never hatched from an egg specifically to be eaten.
Those Tyson chicken farmers are not torturing chickens, not by a long shot. They get good feed and fresh water and as much of that as they want. I don't know what you imagine chickens do all day when they're not in a barn, but I know what they do. All they do is eat, drink, crap, and screw, and by far most of their time is spent eating. They don't drink much and nothing I know of screws faster than a rooster, so that takes up almost none of their day.
And I can assure you that the lifespan of a free range chicken isn't very long. I know this because there are no wild chickens running around where I live, even though 1000s of acres of National Forest surround me and there are many people that raise them at home and farmers with huge barns full of them surrounding the National Forests here. And because I hatched and kept over 30 chickens myself last year and all of them got eaten by wild carnivores. Mostly fox. They're sneaky as can be.
I don't have a problem with those who don't eat meat, but if we're going to talk in terms of morals let's not kid ourselves or others by thinking that eating only veggies isn't taking "life". It is, and I just cannot kid myself into thinking that killing a tomato is less or more of an affront to God than killing a chicken.
There's really very little difference between raising tomatoes from seed and raising chickens from eggs. Both of those are living things and you have to kill them to eat them.
And I won't try to kid myself into believing that I'd not eat a chicken raised by those Tyson farmers if I were starving. I would, and fast too. And so would most everyone who feels a sense of moral superiority to those who eat chickens when they're not starving.
I'll probably piss some people off with this, but here it goes anyway... Chickens, and really pretty much every animal we raise to eat, are all fairly well packaged for eating. From cows to pigs to chickens and even fish of all sizes, they all are dressed out pretty much the same and it's a pretty simple and fast process to get them kitchen ready, and they taste good, and they make you feel good (as opposed to modern junk foods).
Here's another thing... Most everyone I know who's taken the life of any animal for food did so with a very reverent and thankful attitude. You think about that a lot more than you do when buy a taco at Taco Bell or a salad at a restaurant. I do the same when I take veggies from my garden because I know I'm taking life to sustain my own. I provide care and protection to both my veggies and my chickens and I give thanks when I take them to sustain myself and family and friends.
That's all any of us can do and the best we can do. There is no other way to live as a human.
Just a reminder, fruiting plants make the fruit for animals to eat to spread their seeds. It doesn't kill the plant. With the exception of herbs and fungi almost every plant humans eat evolved to be eaten and often we only eat parts of the plant that regrow with the intent to be eaten without killing the main body.
But the fact is we do kill those plants. Those tomatoes are filled with seed intended, by nature, to propagate the species, but the chance of that dies when you eat them, and then the entire plant dies. There are no birds eating their fruit and spreading their seed. It that were the case we'd see tomatoes growing wild all over the US, but we don't.
Carrots, lettuce, broccoli, radishes, etc, etc, are all harvested (murdered if you will) before they even get a chance to go to seed. Your reminder doesn't account for that.
So, yes, in fact, billions of plants are murdered each year because we humans eat them.
I'm more curious about why this so difficult for some people to accept. It's obviously driven by empathy and compassion, and I admire that, but it ignores the facts that plainly exist all around us all the time.
The latest figure I could find easily says "In 2008, 9.08 billion chickens were slaughtered in the United States".
And tomatoes? "According to the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization statistics, around 340 billion pounds (170 million tons) of fresh and processing tomatoes were produced globally in 2014. The harvested area covered 12.4 million acres (5 million hectares) of farm land."
That's a lot of food for a lot of people. All of it brought to life that's taken for one purpose, to sustain us.
This does not make us murderous beasts, and no one, not even those who've claimed to be "Breatharians", has proved they could exist without taking life. There's just no getting around that necessity.
As far as I can make out, this notion that one is existing without taking life is almost exclusively found in cities, generally far from where food is grown and harvested. I'm pretty much convinced it is a willful denial of the truth created by and to convince oneself they are superior to the crude masses who haven't achieved their advanced level of conscientious. And it's a growing trend.
The fact is, it's an example of denial. We all take life to sustain our own. The best we can do is provide the means for it to flourish and take it in as painless a way as possible, rather it's a chicken or a radish.
I think that some of them are kept in battery cages, fed antibiotics, debeaked or otherwise mutilated, etc.
"Debeaking" is not what it sounds like. Chickens have a small, sharp, tooth like point on the very end of their upper beak, and that's what's removed. It's kind of like pulling an incisor, and not like at all like cutting off their entire beak. And that's mostly only done to laying hens, and not done at all on chickens used for cooking by Tyson. Those chickens are only about six weeks old when they're sent for processing. Their beaks haven't even begun to form that "tooth" yet.
Tyson has some pretty strict and well defined standards for those growers.
It's worth taking the time to learn the truth and facts because otherwise you end up worrying about things that do not, in fact, exist.
No they don't. Not at all.
Paraphrasing an organization "Tyson Tortures Chickens":
Has Tyson committed to reducing maximum stocking density to equal to or less than 6 lbs./sq. ft., with no cages?
Does Tyson require that contractors provide chickens with enriched environments, including litter, lighting, and enrichment that meets GAP’s new
Has Tyson required contractors to replace live-shackle slaughter with multi-step controlled atmosphere processing that eliminates the horrific suffering caused by shackling, shocking, and slitting the throats of conscious?
Buying chickens from a local farm, where you can see the treatment, is better. It's better in every way. Your defense of Tyson is puzzling to me.
"Buying chickens from a local farm, where you can see the treatment, is better. It's better in every way."
That's true. That's why I raise my own.
"Your defense of Tyson is puzzling to me."
I am more defending the farmers that live within a 100 miles of me because I've seen their farms and know some of them.
Processing chickens is a bloody business. It's easy to duff off that responsibility to someone else, and easy to complain about how it's done. That's a lot easier that doing it.
Those chickens farmer neighbors of mine are not processing those chickens. They are selling chickens to Tyson.
Tyson chickens feed a huge number of people everyday, many of which are poor, and of the choices they have it's among the better ones.
The notion that I should sit at my desk and complain about Tyson while not actively pursuing what I believe to be a much better way to feed all those people just isn't one I can stand on.
I can agree that farmers and companies like Tyson should to their best to raise and process those chickens in the quickest and least painful way possible but I'm not going to demonize them. They feed a lot of people and that needs to be considered too.
So, the thing to do is work on better ways. You buy your chickens from local farmers. I raise my own and help others do the same by incubating eggs. I actually hatched a couple hundred chicken last year and kept around 30. I gave the rest away.
I won't be visiting "tysontorturesanimals.com" but I will encourage you to design, fund, and build a processing plant that meets your standards and stop complaining about Tyson.
Consumer pressure has made a variety of improvements in animal welfare, and is likely to continue to do so.
Yes you are. Every dollar is like a little vote. The things that everyone puts dollars into will grow, and the things that they dont, wont.
Who are you (bunny ear) quoting?
Costco's investment is to get better pricing.
I'm all for "safe" feed, but assigning "organic = safe" is disingenuous. Like it or not (because the studies are not conclusive), but GMO is the only current way we know how to scale food production.
That can't be true. Do you have a source?
Why do you think GMO was established in the first place? If purely organic food is both superior quality and more economically sustainable, then historically speaking why didn't farmers just continue on that path to meet consumer demand?
You refuted your own claim. You originally said GMOs are the only way to scale, not the best way to scale.
Also, I said nothing about organic food. It's not either organic or GMO, there are other options, and in fact they are they majority.
Ok, fair enough, I should have been more specific. Let me rephrase my whole point of view:
"The innovation of GMO is largely responsible for the large scale production of the global food supply. I would very surprised if any other innovation in farming has created a higher ROI in terms of crop yield. There are certainly other factors, but to the original parent comment, pretending like organic is synonymous with safe (and equally as it implies non-organic means, or GMO, is not safe) is disingenuous".
> It's not either organic or GMO, there are other options
Like what specifically? Fertilizers and pesticides?
That's not what "monopoly" means.
Oligopoly seems like the most accurate word choice.
"Monopoly" in this sense is meant to indicate that one is put in a bad negotiating position because the power/options are consolidated into few hands that can demand bargains that are beneficial to their side thus, in this case, disadvantaging Costco.
Every time you use the word "monopoly" it doesn't have to have an exact 1:1 relationship with a law 101 textbook definition.
The real travesty is that these companies hold regional monopsonies so the farmers can only sell to one company, putting them in a bad spot where the chicken companies can dictate terms. Costco wants to be able to do that directly to farmers too, without the middle man.
One of the fundamental aspects of a monopoly is the ability to set prices and therefore extract money from customers without providing additional value- like a tax or a rent.
Whenever few enough competitors exist that a company can begin to tax or collect rent without providing additional value, it takes on monopolistic characteristics.
But that's exactly what monopoly means, i.e. you can't get in and compete with those players.
It sounds like you are justifying monopolized markets for whatever reason.
There are other forms of market failure relating to a small group having too much power in the market: Monopoly, Cartel, Oligopoly, Monopsony, etc. etc.
Oligopoly or Cartel are far closer to what the article is describing. To use the word "Monopoly" here is simply incorrect English.
Nonetheless, economic principles have a precise, technical definition for Monopoly, Duopoly, Monopsony, Oligopoly, Cartel, and Oligopsony.
Each situation requires a different policy to handle. So its important to choose the right word to describe any particular problem.
I just don't see that argument-from-etymology is a productive way to get there since it doesn't seem to generalize.
like any field of study, people apply words outside of the technical application and meaning gets diluted the further a person is from the field (economics). just look at how superhero movies use the word 'dimension'. =)
but yes, without examining the industry in more detail, oligopoly is the safer initial assumption.
A market that is not competitive enough is an 'oligopoly'. That's the word you want. Why do you want to move the definition of 'monopoly' when we already have the word 'oligopoly'?
But the article said 'monopoly', not 'oligopoly'.
Monopoly is a form of oligopoly. But oligopoly is not a form of monopoly.
All monopolies are oligopolies. Not all oligopolies are monopolies.
This chicken situation is maybe an oligopoly. It isn't a monopoly.
If you think a situation with multiple supplies and limited competition is a monopoly, then I'd ask you... why do we also have the term oligopoly? What do you think the difference is?
The latter is far, far easier and actually achievable.
Also for what it's worth I don't believe the article author misunderstands the word monopoly. I think they abused it to get clicks.
> But oligopoly is not a form of monopoly.
This is wrong, sorry.
It's the other way around, since we are talking about market economies, not literal meanings of words.
Oligopoly _specifically_ describes what we have here. I learned a new word today.
The company I work for is the "something something group".
Well, to that I say: "Pelecie inoteso su erik anohot fete derera notel not. Toyino litifid ca yigo lece yevi vitod emefan berie nisur, cinim pociepem oce irimo alucetef cupara yonebup eroyifeh oponud."
If the literal definition of words is absolutely irrelevant, then this is a cogent argument that perfectly refutes your position.
Historically, monopoly was about single players taking over the economic system. There are other, better words to use if you aren't describing ONE powerful company.
Carnegie Steel Company. Rockefeller's Oil. Ma Bell. ONE supplier, across the entire USA.
You're not winning this argument from etymology (where Mono literally means one), or historical. Ma Bell's breakup was as recent as 1980s, this isn't some "ancient history" here, its modern US history.
True monopolies, e.g. Bell Telephone, local cable franchises, utilities, etc. are (almost?) always granted by the government.
Crucially, the "mono-" bit means "one." One seller.
1 < n ⪅ 5 is "oligopoly".
If they collude and conspire it's a "cartel", but technically a cartel can also be a subset of players in a "polyopoly" (which is "many sellers", i.e. a healthy market). It's just way easier if the cartel = everyone :)
If the suggested "Cartel" doesn't work, there's also "Oligopoly"
"Market Failure" is the word you're looking for. And there's LOTS of ways to achieve Market Failure.
Your vocabulary of economic terms is limited and imprecise. If you study economics more, you'll certainly appreciate the amount of work that the field has put into definitions and policies.
These details are important, especially in a democracy where we voters are the ones who ultimately decide upon the fate of our country. We all have to have basic economic knowledge of these Market Failure conditions, as well as the policies available to combat them.
This isn't exactly what monopoly means. Have you tried looking in a dictionary to see what it does mean?
CNBC is a major news organization, so they generally should be using English correctly. I think a blog post can have technical errors here and there, but the standards for a proper news article are higher.
Doesn't make it an interesting topic of conversation.
Consider that the 'big players' have all extracted the costs they felt they could, with the choices they made, and that is the 'standard' product most people are offered. Now we get CostCo which is making different choices and perhaps getting a different result (size, flavor, what have you). In the event that CostCo chicken becomes the market leader and perhaps people are even incentivized to join CostCo in order to have access to their chicken supply, CostCo would likely open a second and third farm so that all of their chicken needs could be met. And what would that do to the profitability of the others?
To my reading, the article implies that these large farms conspire in their offering, otherwise CostCo could just move their business to the one that was willing to meet there terms. Sort of like McDonald's and their beating potato farmers over the head with demands for the specific variety and size pototato they needed for their fries. (which they could do because their purchases were a significant chunk of the market)
So without cooperation from the chicken cartel, or perhaps for other unmentioned reasons, CostCo decides to become an agricultural company too.
I'm really wondering if there is some way to disrupt these large agricultural interests effectively. Imagine the Uber for Chicken Farming where an app connects people with extra chicken into a chicken acquisition and slaughtering pipeline for resale.
I notice it's a common practice on news.y to find (or invent) sub-words in names and capitalize them. Like I remember everyone writing "GroupOn" for the portmanteau of "group coupon"
It's puzzling to me and I want to understand where you're coming from!
Being in Georgia I see some of these chicken trucks full of live and dead chickens and while they’re pretty dumb and dirty birds there’s no question that the birds in the system are suffering terribly. On top of that is the human suffering of the farmers that raise them in the kind of financial conditions they’re subjected to.
I’m fine paying substantially more for better treated chicken but the issue is that I have few guarantees that this is happening when I choose some labels over another given how convoluted the US agriculture and FDA system is.
I've noticed that many of the rotisserie birds have really odd texture, I think because they're grossly overcooked
That's why it has that funny texture.
Costco has higher standards than just about any other retailer I can think of.
* Costco tightens standards for antibiotics use by meat producers | The Seattle Times || https://www.seattletimes.com/business/agriculture/costco-tig...
I suspect this move to own their own production is because they couldn't get the quality they expect, at prices they expect, at scale from the current suppliers.
* Animal Welfare | Costco || https://www.costco.com/sustainability-animal-welfare.html
Anyway, the fact that I can walk into a store (not just Costco, I do this elsewhere) and buy a fully prepared, seasoned, cooked, ready-to-eat, warm, entire chicken for 5 US dollars blows my mind. We don't understand how good we have it. Most of us here on HN can exchange the money we get for less than 10 minutes of work for the aforementioned culinary delight. We're not talking about a bowl of porridge here, this is protein-packed meat. I've been around the world. Everyone (who eats meat at all) loves chicken. We live in paradise.
I can understand ethical and environmental concerns, but we have to be doing something right here.
Nice nickname, btw.
> Building a system to stock its own stores is a way for the company to better manage supply and costs, especially because poultry companies are trending away from raising chickens to be sold whole.
> According to Will Sawyer, a meat industry economist for the Denver-based farm lender CoBank, chicken producers are growing bigger chickens to sell in parts. "The vast majority are processed into chicken breasts or leg quarters or thighs, or they're further processed into strips or nuggets," Sawyer said. "That's where the industry has gone over 50 years now."
1. They're partially insulating themselves from price changes in the chicken market. By raising the chickens themselves, they can guarantee that they'll only pay a certain price for the chicken they raise.
2. Fewer intermediaries = lower prices since there's fewer companies that each need to make some money = higher profit