On Saturday, June 16, animal-rights organization Compassion Over Killing (COK) will organize a protest at the Poultry Federation’s 59th annual Poultry Festival sponsored by Tyson Foods in Arkansas. During the festival’s barbecue contest, COK will fly an airplane with the message “Tyson’s Cruelty Won’t Fly” and protest the event on the ground with volunteers lining the sidewalk holding messages that encourage Tyson, the world’s second largest poultry producer, to shift toward producing plant-based protein. “We’re ruffling industry feathers at the Tyson-sponsored Poultry Festival with our clear message: Cruelty Won’t Fly,” COK Executive Director Erica Meier told VegNews. “COK investigators have routinely uncovered the day-to-day miseries forced upon birds raised for their meat, and much of their suffering is related to genetic manipulation for rapid growth.” Through numerous undercover investigations and advocacy work, COK has been instrumental in ending several cruel practices at Tyson, including “boning”—or routinely forcing a blunt plastic rod into the sensitive beaks of male chicks to restrict their food intake—which the meat company banned after a COK investigation uncovered the shocking procedure to the public in 2016. “As consumers discover this painful truth,” Meier said, “they’re demanding industry change and they’re increasingly flocking towards plant-based options.” Though Tyson has recently invested in both plant-based and clean meat through its venture capital arm Tyson New Ventures, the company announced this week its acquisition of Tecumseh Poultry, LLC—a meat brand that claims to produce “organic” chicken.
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