Over the past four years we’ve worked with poultry farmers and animal welfare experts to build a cutting-edge resource for consumers seeking higher-welfare poultry products and plant-based alternatives. These efforts have culminated in the launch of BuyingPoultry, our free online guide that not only shows you which products are best and worst nationally and in your local grocery store—it also enables you to easily ask retailers and poultry companies to offer higher-welfare products.
If you haven’t already, please take a few minutes to check out BuyingPoultry and share it with your friends and family via Twitter, and Facebook. We need your help to spread the word about this amazing website so that we can give even more consumers the tools they need to make more humane purchasing decisions.
Read on to learn about why we created BuyingPoultry, how it works, and who made it possible.
Why we created Buying Poultry
Today, the story of American poultry is a sad one. Almost all chickens and turkeys in America are raised in dismal conditions on cramped factory farms, and confusing labels and marketing claims make it difficult to distinguish truly higher-welfare products. Both consumers and farmers are frustrated by a broken system that has destroyed the links that once made it possible for Americans to buy poultry from people they trusted. Animals have paid the biggest price, suffering from unprecedented levels of disease and deprivation. As Dr. Temple Grandin has put it, we’re experiencing “bad becoming normal.”1
BuyingPoultry cuts through the confusion to reconnect conscientious consumers with higher-welfare poultry products. BuyingPoultry provides you with reliable information about how the products you buy are produced and what that means for animal welfare, empowering you to purchase products that align with your values. Ultimately, we want to stimulate the creation of a new, kinder poultry industry—an industry in which farmers lead the way by providing the highest level of welfare and consumers can find safer, more humane products for a fair price.
How it works
BuyingPoultry lets you search our exclusive database (which covers virtually every poultry product in America) to find higher-welfare eggs and poultry near you. It provides simple recommendations—either “Avoid,” “Better Choices,” or “Best Choices”—as well as a corresponding A-F grade for each product.
Creating the grading system was no simple matter, and we knew we couldn’t do it alone. At the very heart of BuyingPoultry is our Animal Welfare Advisory Committee, made up of leading farmers, animal advocates, and welfare experts—including some of the most respected and influential critics of industrial farming in the country. Rooted in the best available science, this committee has made the complex judgements that allow BuyingPoultry to provide simple, accurate buying advice. Every time you use BuyingPoultry, it’s like having this team of experts by your side.
Meet our Advisory Committee
A fourth-generation Kansas farmer, Frank Reese is the nation’s preeminent expert on heritage poultry. His farm, Good Shepherd Poultry Ranch, has provided the model for the nation’s leading high-welfare certifications. He has received acclaim from, among many others, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Martha Stewart, and chef Mario Batali.
Bill Niman is one of the most renowned ranchers in the United States. He is the founder and former CEO of Niman Ranch, a network of over 700 farmers, which provides much of the pork in Chipotle’s carnitas tacos. Alice Waters of Chez Panisse was an early fan of the beef he raised in Bolinas, California (as well as the company’s pork and lamb). In 2007, he left the company he founded and started over with a small herd of grass-raised cattle and some heritage turkeys. He has since started a new company called BN Ranch.
Nicolette Hahn Niman
Nicolette Hahn Niman is an attorney, livestock rancher, and author of the book Righteous Porkchop: Finding a Life and Good Food Beyond Factory Farms. She served for two years on the Board of Overseers of the Boston-based organization Chefs Collaborative. Much of her time is spent speaking and writing about the problems resulting from industrialized livestock production, including six essays she has written on the subject for the New York Times and pieces for the Los Angeles Times and the San Francisco Chronicle.
Aaron Gross, Ph.D.
Aaron Gross has played a leadership role in a wide variety of national and international farmed animal welfare campaigns. Dr. Gross founded Farm Forward in 2006. He also serves as a professor of theology and religious studies at the University of San Diego and holds graduate degrees from Harvard Divinity School and the University of California, Santa Barbara’s Department of Religious Studies. He chairs the Steering Committee of the American Academy of Religion’s Animals and Religion Consultation and collaborated heavily with Jonathan Safran Foer on Foer’s book Eating Animals.
Bernard Rollin, Ph.D
Bernard Rollin, Ph.D. is a University Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, Professor of Philosophy, Professor of Animal Sciences, Professor of Biomedical Sciences, and University Bioethicist for Colorado State University. He introduced the first university course on veterinary ethics. Dr. Rollin was a member of the Pew Charitable Trust’s Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production.
Dr. Kat Miller
Dr. Kat Miller is the Director of Anti-Cruelty Behavior Research for the ASPCA’s Anti-Cruelty Behavior Team. She is a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist (C.A.A.B.). Her work involves addressing the behavioral needs of animals rescued from large-scale animal cruelty cases and natural disasters, and the collection, interpretation, and dissemination of scientific information on the behavior and welfare of companion and farmed animals.
Animal welfare expert Diane Halverson has quietly become one of the most influential animal advocates in the western world. In her three decades of experience working in the field of farmed animal welfare, she has developed husbandry standards for Niman Ranch Pork Company (the largest network of high-welfare pig farmers in America), helped rally Eastern European farmers to resist industrialized pig farming, and worked closely with Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and the Waterkeeper Alliance to show how pollution is the inevitable result of animal mistreatment on factory farms. In 1998 she received the prestigious Geraldine Rockefeller Dodge Foundation’s Humane Ethics in Action Award alongside Dr. Temple Grandin. She is the co-director of the upcoming film An Eye for the Animal.
Who made BuyingPoultry possible?
BuyingPoultry wouldn’t have been possible without the help of our many supporters, Kickstarter backers, and subscribers. Thank you!
Funding to make BuyingPoultry possible was provided by The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals® (ASPCA), the first humane society to be established in North America and one of the largest animal protection groups in the world.
Our website and branding were developed on a shoestring budget thanks to BLT Helps, a unique non-profit foundation dedicated to providing graphic arts services to other nonprofit, charitable, and public service organizations in need.
Now that you know all about BuyingPoultry, the best way you can help is by using it and sharing it with others.
Even as more and more individual consumers begin using BuyingPoultry to help guide their purchasing decisions, we’re finding that institutional food buyers think it’s useful too. You can read more about our work with institutions like the University of California, Berkeley, here.