Tyson Foods is a massive company that has a devastating impact on countless people, animals and our planet. This corporate giant profits from “processing” chicken, cows and pigs into meat products, and since its recent acquisition of Hillshire Brands, its major brands like Sara Lee are tied to Conflict Palm Oil.
Tyson’s buyout of Hillshire marks one of the biggest mergers in the packaged food industry and establishes Tyson firmly in the top two companies in the global processed meat market and one of the biggest corporate laggards that refuses to deal with its Conflict Palm Oil problem.
Tyson is one of the few remaining Snack Food 20 companies which, despite years of pressure, has failed to adopt a responsible palm oil procurement policy. Whereas its industry peers have taken action to break the link between their products and the destruction of forests and abuse of communities and workers, Tyson continues to rely on the sub-standard Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). Given its size, influence, and the fact that it is years behind its peers further inaction and greenwashing via the RSPO is simply not acceptable.
Tyson is not only lagging behind on cleaning up its palm oil supply chain in Indonesia; its factory farms here in the USA, as well as those in Brazil, Mexico, China and India are having a devastating impact. In the last 20 years small scale farming has been largely replaced with factory farms – industrial operations that confine thousands of cows, pigs, and/or chickens in horrendous conditions that lead to massive water contamination and hazardous air pollutants that endanger human health, worker abuse, and unbelievably cruel treatment of animals. China and India are now the biggest emerging markets for the factory farm model — a trend spearheaded by Tyson as it drives the explosion of factory farming across the world.
Shockingly, 99% of animals in the US and 63% of animals worldwide are raised in factory farms. A large number of these are Tyson farms and supply chicken to McDonald’s, KFC (Yum! Brands), Popeye’s, Burger King, Chick-fil-A and others. It’s leading brands include Tyson®, Jimmy Dean®, Hillshire Farm®, Sara Lee® Frozen Bakery, Ball Park®, Wright®, Aidells® and State Fair®.
With the recent investigations uncovering horrific animal rights abuse in Tyson chicken farms, the fact that industrial animal agriculture is a leading cause of global deforestation, and growing evidence linking Conflict Palm Oil to species extinction and climate change, it is clear that Tyson must reform its operations. The planet simply can not afford any more delays.
With your help we can fix our broken food system, starting with Tyson Foods. As one of the most influential players in the global processed meat market and one of the biggest corporate laggards that refuses to deal with its Conflict Palm Oil problem, we must push Tyson Foods to adopt a responsible food policy with commitments on responsible production of palm oil and meat. We can support family farmers, local economies, and animal welfare by transforming Tyson Foods.
Instead of taking real action, Tyson focuses on greenwash and spin. It claims to reduce water usage, greenhouse gas emissions and poultry litter removal, but don’t be fooled. Even in these areas Tyson’s policies and targets are exceptionally weak. Tyson is profiting from our broken food system and lacks adequate policies in regards to palm oil, soy, corn, or any of the other raw materials it uses in commodity production.
 De Sy et al. 2015 and Henders et al 2015