Chick-fil-A’s Connection to Koch Foods - Mercy For Animals
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Chick-fil-A’s & Koch Foods

Proof of the supply chain connection

It is incredibly troubling that Chick-fil-A is resorting to false and misleading statements in its desperate attempt to distance itself from the horrible abuse Mercy For Animals documented at its supplier, Koch Foods, instead of stepping up to the plate and adopting meaningful animal welfare standards to prevent this abuse from happening again in the future.

Between January and May 2014, numerous Koch Foods and Chick-fil-A employees admitted to MFA’s investigators—on hidden camera—that chicken from both the Puckett, Mississippi, factory farm and the Chattanooga, Tennessee, slaughter plant was shipped to Chick-fil-A. These admissions are further confirmed by an employee of the trucking company that transported chicken from various Koch Foods locations to Chick-fil-A restaurants and by the director of transportation for Koch Foods’ shipping fleet.

The statements by Koch Foods and Chick-fil-A officials to MFA’s investigators confirming the relationship between the two companies were documented up to a year after Koch Foods and Chick-fil-A claim they cut ties.

Specifically,

  • Koch Foods’ director of transportation, Southeastern Region, Ronnie Gress, confirmed on February 24, 2014, that the Koch Foods Gainesville plant supplied to Chick-fil-A. In addition, Director Ronnie Gress explained that many other Koch Foods plants also supply to Chick-fil-A, including plants in Morristown, Tennessee; Cumming, Georgia; Montgomery, Alabama; Collinsville, Alabama; Pine Mountain, Georgia; and Morton, Mississippi. The recorded conversation can be heard here.
  • In a July 11, 2013, interview with the Cincinnati Enquirer (two months after Chick-fil-A now alleges it cut ties with Koch Foods) Brian Reisen, general manager, further processing at Koch Foods, Inc., stated that chicken from Koch Foods is supplied to Chick-fil-A.
  • A phone call to Chick-fil-A on February 24, 2014, confirmed that it receives chicken from Koch Foods. The recorded conversation can be heard here.
  • During a phone call to MBM (a Koch Foods trucking and distribution company) as recently as May 5, 2014, two different MBM employees confirmed that MBM picks up chicken from Koch Foods plants and delivers it to Chick-fil-A.
  • During the course of the investigations, numerous Koch Foods employees confirmed that Koch Foods supplied chicken to Chick-fil-A. For example, on January 17, 2014, a Koch Foods employee from the Chattanooga , Tennessee, slaughter plant told MFA’s investigator that 80 percent of the breast meat from that slaughter plant is sent to Chick-fil-A.

The evidence that Koch Foods supplied chicken to Chick-fil-A as recently as May 2014 and during the time of MFA’s investigations is crystal clear.

Moreover, the fact remains that the vast majority of the abuses MFA documented at these Chick-fil-A suppliers is considered “standard practice” under the law and by the chicken industry.

Under current legal and industry standards, it is considered acceptable to cram baby birds by the tens of thousands into giant, windowless sheds; injure birds by grabbing their legs, wings, and necks and violently slamming them into transport crates; break chickens’ fragile wings and legs as they are hastily and violently shackled upside down; slice open chickens’ throats and wings while they are still fully conscious and able to feel pain; and scald thousands of chickens in hot water tanks while they are still alive.

These practices are the norm, not the exception, and are most likely occurring at virtually all of Chick-fil-A’s suppliers, not just Koch Foods. Until Chick-fil-A implements meaningful animal welfare policies for all of its chicken suppliers, this type of egregious cruelty will continue unchecked throughout Chick-fil-A’s entire supply chain.