In a groundbreaking nod to animal rights, poultry producer, Tyson Foods, agreed to guarantee free lifetime room, board, and healthcare, including unlimited hormone treatment and antibiotics, for the millions of birds employed at its chicken and turkey facilities.
"We respect our birds and value them tremendously for all that they do," said Tyson CEO, Noel White. "Providing food and lodging and medical care is the least we can do for the brave chickens and turkeys who supply so many of us with the excess protein and saturated fat that mean so much to us."
Reportedly, animal activist group, Feather Freedom, attempted to negotiate an offer of approved medical care for the lifespan of the chickens and turkeys at Tyson plants, rather than for merely their lifetime. While the natural lifespan of chickens is three to five years, and up to twelve years for turkeys, the lifetime of the millions of birds in Tyson's crowded warehouses is limited to just a few months.
"The lifetime/lifespan distinction was critical for us," said White. "We want to treat our birds fairly, but we also didn't want to give away the house. We felt this was a good compromise."
White noted, too, that the feathered workers' rights advocated for by Feather Freedom sounded suspiciously similar to an animal sanctuary. "Our birds are here to work," he said. "This isn't a vacation."
White went on to clarify that Tyson's new "Bird Bed & Board" policy, doesn't include any actual beds. "That part was figurative. What we meant is that the birds are allowed to sleep here."
For all its exclusions, Tyson marks its Bird Bed & Board policy as instrumental in creating the more compassionate society we all deserve.
"Tyson has always been a game-changing food innovator and protein leader," said White. "We're proud to now also be a true labor leader. We encourage any newly hatched chicks to live out their careers at Tyson."