Does Chipotle Really Care About Animals?


Image from Chipotle’s advertisement

My blogger buddy, Mike, sent me this link about Chipotle’s popular infomercial and asked me what I thought of it. The link highlights Chipotle’s anti-factory-farming-stance and their “food with integrity” mission statement. Some of you might be interested in my response to Mike, so here’s what I said to him:

Does Chipotle Really Care About Animals?

I like that Chipotle is raising awareness about the cruelty that exists on factory farms. I see this as a step in the right direction, but I still have to wonder if Chipotle actually uses humanely raised animals. I question this because the “humanely raised” label is often deceptive and doesn’t necessarily mean that animals are raised in “humane” conditions.

Birds raised for meat, for example, may be sold as “free-range” if they have government certified access to the outdoors. In order to fulfill this, a door needs to be open for only five minutes a day. Check out this link for more info.

What’s more, even if Chipotle is using animals that have been “humanely raised”; they’re still being slaughtered instead of being allowed to live to old age and die of natural causes. I personally don’t want to be slaughtered, so how can I approve of allowing this to happen to others?

One of the justifications we use for slaughtering living beings is saying, “It’s okay because it’s just an animal.” But what does that mean? Is that fair? Is that what you want for your dog or cat?

So from my perspective, I don’t see Chipotle as living up to their “food with integrity” mission statement. This is not to say that I’m not happy with what they’re doing. They’re raising awareness, getting people to think and talk about animal cruelty and they’re doing something. I just hope that in the future they, and other restaurants, do even more (a lot more!) to protect the rights of animals.

About celestedimilla

Hey there. I’m Celeste, California girl, writer, psychotherapist and burgeoning plant-based foodie.
This entry was posted in Animal Welfare, Daily Life, Dining Out and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

41 Responses to Does Chipotle Really Care About Animals?

  1. Stacey says:

    As long as animals endure being enslaved and exploited and then maliciously slaughtered , they can never be “humanely raised”. It’s a oxymoron. Thanks for sharing this, my dear..

  2. Hmmm…sounds like smoke and mirrors to me. If you are killing other living creatures for your own arrogant and selfish needs I believe it is wrong. We are (supposedly) too advanced to still be doing this when there are other alternatives. I don’t care whether they are allowed out on day trips to the beach. It is wrong.

    • Thanks for your thoughtful comment! I SO agree with you. Still, I wonder if we need to take baby steps to get society onboard with this. Have a lovely week! Celeste 🙂

      • I think you are right of course. Once upon a time church going Christians would finish mass and then rape one of their slaves. They didn’t feel that these things jarred against one another. It took a while for the message to filter through – and it hasn’t even completely today. I know the animal one is going to take some mighty time as there is too much money at stake, (steak!)

  3. VegCharlotte says:

    Ooooh, cannot STAND Chipotle and the vegan lock step a lot of us are doing! Everyone’s sooo impressed they have finally done away with the pork in their pinto beans … Moe’s has had vegan pinto beans forever! So Chipotle is finalllly coming out with tofu … again, that’s been an option at Moe’s and other places forever!

    And, finally, even though they claim to use humanely raised blah blah blah … most of the time if you enter one you’ll see a sign showing that they are out of the humanely raised meat.

    Also I have a huge problem because I used to “test” the counter people and ask if the pintos were vegan. I knew they weren’t but all but maybe 2 times I was told they were!!!

    Yes, they have great commercials, but they are still serving lots of dead flesh. I’d rather eat at Moes or Qdoba where they are not so hypocritical …

    A final problem I have with Chipotles and “humanely” raised meat is I feel it does not really raise awareness, it just makes people feel more complacent about eating meat. Maybe they would feel a twinge of guilt if they ate at Qdoba or Moe’s but hey at Chipotles all the animals were happy, so they can eat as much as they like without a single guilty twinge of conscience!

    I used to be a bigger fan of “humanely raised,” but I teach vegan cooking classes to a lot of omnivores and what I’ve noticed is that “cage free eggs” and “humanely raised meat” just encourage omnivores to eat MORE eggs and meat. The ones who don’t get involved with that are the ones that really cut down their meat and dairy intake – even if they don’t become vegan.

    I used to travel a lot, that’s the only reason I went to Chipotle.

    • You bring up a very good point about the problems of “humanely raised” meat. I’ve heard that it can, as you say, make people feel justified about eating meat. This certainly is a serious problem, especially if it encourages omnivores to eat even more meat than they would have otherwise.

      I still feel confused about the issue, however. I don’t see the world going vegan overnight, and thus it seems that raising animals in better conditions would be preferable to crappy conditions (of course, I know that “humanely raised” doesn’t always mean a lot anyway). I’m also wondering if promoting “humanely raised” meat might have a greater positive impact in the future. While it may just create people who feel justified eating meat, isn’t it possible that it might raise awareness and compassion for animals over time for some people? I honestly don’t know, but I do know that my transition to veganism was slow. It took many subtle experiences for me to awaken to the plight of animals. I’m wondering if maybe choosing “humanely raised” meat might be one of the little steps toward going vegan for some. Again, I’m just speculating and thinking aloud here. I know there is no simple, easy answer.

      Thanks so much for your thoughts! Celeste 🙂

  4. It’s interesting. On one hand, it *seems* like a step in the right direction but I think Chipotle is really just running a very successful marketing campaign. I’ve suspected what VegCharlotte confirmed: The “humane” label encourages omnis to eat more meat and eggs! It’s a way for people to justify their eating habits.

    I don’t want the existing animals in the food system to suffer more than they already do, and I get that for the animals already sentenced, their suffering might be less (although the end is brutally the same), but if people think everything is fine, they won’t want to change their eating (or the system).

    • Hey there Jean! I think the “humanely raised” issue is a tough one for vegans. I don’t know that I agree with the attitude that “humanely raised” meat will prevent the system from changing in the long run, however. This is one possible outcome, especially if people feel that there is nothing wrong with eating meat as long as the animals are well treated.

      At the same time, I think that it could go another way. It could be a first step in getting people and society have more respect for animals. Society won’t stop eating animals unless they have respect for them, and treating animals well is a step toward respecting them. Once our respect for animals is increased, then hopefully the next step will be for people to stop eating animals. I guess I’m just saying that people are slow to change, and by getting them to change a little you’re moving them in the direction of changing a lot over time. I don’t know if this is how things would progress, but just throwing it out there.

      Thanks so much for your comment! Celeste 🙂

      • carmen says:

        Good article Celeste, and people need to be informed.

        I agree with Jean – this is a clever marketing campaign, after all, there is so much talk and interest about animal cruelty, and this can make meat-eaters feel better about eating meat.

        I bear witness at our local pig slaughterhouse, it’s horrific!! The family farm pigs and the factory farm pigs all arrive together. In this freezing cold weather, they are frost-bitten, poked mercilessly with electric prods to get them off the trucks. The screaming of the pigs is terrifying and they are all slaughtered. What’s so humane about that?

        If we want to be humane, we will not slaughter and devour animals.
        ♥ carmen

    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts Carmen – I appreciate it!!! 🙂

  5. I haven’t heard of Chipotle, except as a chilli! I’ll have to look it up

  6. Hi Celeste, I just checked out Chipolte’s and It seems they are a chain of restaurants. We don’t have them here in Quebec-not sure about the rest of Canada. Here is my take on the subject. If they are buying “cruelty free” nonhuman animal flesh, they are admitting only that there is something wrong with the industry, not that the industry itself is wrong.
    So, if I kill my cat after giving it a comfy home for a while, is it okay to kill my cat? Most people would say no. I believe the answer has to be no for all sentient beings. But I do understand your point about decreasing the immediate suffering of animals now while while still being committed to ending nonhuman animal consumption of any kind.

    This is a great post. Thanks for broaching such a difficult and thought provoking issue.

    • Thank you SO much for your thoughtful comment Anne! I love how you say, “So, if I kill my cat after giving it a comfy home for a while, is it okay to kill my cat?” Like you say, most people would say no. So how come most people feel that it’s okay to kill chickens, pigs and cows? This is what I just don’t get. I hope that compassion for ALL animals grows in time. I do believe that things are shifting, so I’ve got my fingers crossed. Celeste 🙂

  7. Mike Lince says:

    I think I was initially naïve in sharing the Chipotle link, and I was not sure how to react to your response. Now I am pleased the Chipotle story has been brought out into the light of day. At first, I was impressed with the graphics in their commercial, and that was where my thinking ended. Now I agree with the comments you and others shared that this is a clever marketing campaign aimed at sympathetic omnivores who are made to feel better about their menu choices while they continue to choose meat.

    I am pleased that I shared this story with you and that you gave it and the associated comments the space it deserves on your blog. You have done your part once again to heighten my awareness and appreciation of plant-based eating, which I do. I still love eggs and cheese, my rationale being no animal was sacrificed. I understand the issue of how cows and hens are treated in captivity. In my defense I will only say I am making progress. Thanks for posting another great article.

    BTW – I made a connection in Spain thanks to you – roughseasinthemed. Your blog has to be booming! I certainly hope so, and I hope your camera work is coming along as well. – Mike

    • Hey Mike! I’m SO glad you shared the Chipotle link with me. I really hadn’t thought much about it until you did. I guess you were surprised by my reaction to the link – hehe. Anyway, you opened up the conversation here and that’s an awesome thing. I don’t judge you for eating eggs and dairy. Most of my family members still eat meat, and I don’t judge them either. Judgment doesn’t do anyone any good. I know that you’ve transitioned your diet to some degree, and I’m thankful for that (both for animals and for you!). Anyway, I think about you and Florence often and hope that we can meet up again soon. Celeste 🙂

  8. mllaurie says:

    I’ve heard that they’re backing down on some of their promises regarding “humanely-raised” beef because of lack of supply. And I agree with previous comments…people want to feel comfortable about their choices, and this is an easy out.

    • I’m saddened to hear that they’re backing down on some of their promises. That’s too bad. Anyway, as I said to a couple of people above, I have mixed feelings about “humanely-raised” meat. Part of me wonders if all it does is make people feel comfortable, like you and others have said. Part of me, however; wonders if it’s a step toward having more respect for animals. If we can start by getting society to treat animals with respect, then maybe over time the next step will be to stop eating animals. I don’t know if this would happen or not, but it’s something to think about. Change doesn’t happen overnight, so who knows. Thanks for reading chica! How’s business going, by the way?

      • mllaurie says:

        Yes, that’s a good point. Things are a bit slow at the moment, but I will be launching my soaps over the next few weeks, so hopefully things will pick up. 🙂

    • Good luck with your soaps chica – that’s exciting. And please let me know when you start selling body lotions or balms. That’s what I’m especially interested in. Celeste 🙂

  9. Ralph says:

    Hi Celeste. There are scientists everywhere doing this. I saw this on the Euronews the other day. It’s awful !

  10. Becky says:

    Thank you for this! I think chipotle is doing a great job raising awareness, but I think it’s ironic to say any animal raised for slaughter was humanely raised.

  11. reocochran says:

    I have mixed feelings about the advertising and the animals inhumanity. I agree that it would help if animals were never consumed. I also agree they should not have to endure cruel situations and small, enclosed spaces. But, honestly, I expect a lot of ‘boo’s’ but I eat meat. I am sorry. I do think that Chipotle is trying and I do think free range chickens and eggs from these chickens, and milk from cows is not so bad, if you find a farm and get them there. I am not trying to ‘ruffle anyone’s feathers!’ Take care, Robin

    • Hi Robin! I certainly don’t judge you for eating meat chica. Judgment doesn’t do any good. I also appreciate that you read my blog despite the fact that you eat meat – I appreciate that! Anywho, as I’ve said about Chipotle, I think there are better ways of raising animals for meat. I’d personally like to see the world go vegan, but that ain’t gonna happen. So, if people are going to eat meat, choosing animals from farms that treat their animals with respect is better than buying meat from factory farms. Hope you have a lovely week! Celeste 🙂

      • reocochran says:

        Thanks and will be so glad if you don’t mind my hanging around. I still pass on recipes to both my daughters, one who is much closer to vegan than the other. I think we all in our family, try to eat 5-6 vegetarian meals a week. I happen to be on a budget so I don’t eat meat more than once a week. I wish for life by a river to catch good fish, miss my Dad’s lake house, (and he with his rowboat on Lake Erie). Fish tastes so good while fresh! Take care and we never kept fish, unless over 15″ long! Smiles, Robin

    • I LOVE that you’re hanging around Robin!! Have a great weekend! Celeste 🙂

  12. I liked your post. I agree that the way we treat our animals raised for food is heartbreaking. I have recently stopped eating mammals (first steps) because I identify with them as mothers. I feel like we’re all trying to do the same job. I started last June in part as a way to explore meatless and healthy options through Meatless Mondays and Wheatless Wednesdays..

  13. Interesting..I agree it’s great that they are raising awareness and using humanely raised meat but you raise a good point.

  14. aschena says:

    Hi Celeste!

    I found their video very moving and emotional, and i thought that it spoke volumes about the reality of factory farming. I also thought the video format and style was very creative because it gave its viewers an accessible look into the sadness of factory farming. It was symbolic and truthful, and i think that makes an effective impact on people. However, the restaurant chain still kills animals for their meat and i believe that is wrong. We don’t need animal meat to thrive or survive. Perhaps this company is trying to stimulate business by appealing to this generation of people who are standing against factory farming, and the animal abuse that incurs.

    I also think the scarecrow ad they made is a very good way to show children why factory farming is bad, and why some people choose not to support it by not eating meat. They are our future generation, and inspiring them to care about animals is crucial in perpetuating animal rights.



    • Thanks for your thoughtful comment Andrea! I think what you said here is almost exactly how I feel about this video. Yes, it’s powerful and yes, it raises awareness – but is that enough? I know that not everyone agrees with me, but my attitude is that this is a positive step. If it inspires people to think about where their food comes from I think this is an important step in raising awareness. Thank you so much for reading – I appreciate it! Celeste 🙂

  15. cinnabar50 says:

    I agree wholeheartedly, if at the end of the day an animal is slaughtered it is not humane, there is nothing humane about the death of any living being, as all creatures wish to live as we all do.

  16. I shared that information about “free – range” and “cage-free” hens on my personal facebook. I have a few friends who believe that they are doing the right thing buying this types of eggs and I wanted to encourage them to dig deeper into the actual practices. So thank you For the link!


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