John Oliver Takes On Contracts

18 May 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

John Oliver Attacks Chicken Companies’ Treatment of Farmers on ‘Last Week Tonight’.

While many of us were busy watching Don Draper come up with his final, groundbreaking ad campaign, over on HBO, John Oliver was turning the spotlight on the ugly truths about chicken companies and the farmers they exploit. “We love eating chicken in this country,” says Oliver at the top of his main “Last Week Tonight” segment. Americans eat a ton of chicken—so much so, chicken farmers produce 160 million chicks a week just to keep up with national consumption, according to the latest “Last Week Tonight.” But despite the industry’s massive output, many contract farmers live near or below the poverty line, all while working under the constant fear of losing their jobs.

He didn’t focus his diatribe on the treatment of chickens (although video clips of Paul McCartney and Pamela Anderson assured viewers poultry is treated abysmally), but rather on the treatment of America’s chicken farmers. That’s great news for the four companies that dominate the industry: Tyson, Perdue, Pilgrim’s, and Sanderson Farm. “I know what you’re thinking,” Oliver said. “You’re thinking, oh, this is just going to be another story about how horribly chickens are treated.” It isn’t — though if you’re worried about that, blame the chicken companies, not the farmers, Oliver said. I know when you hear that someone is outraged about something in the chicken industry you assume you’re about to be bombarded with images depicting the horror of factory farming (which we get it — it is bad, but I’m eating breakfast here). Americas eat 160 million chickens per week and are such a common part of the Americans diet that the chicken has become the reference point for how other meats taste, as Oliver showed with clips from television programs where the taste of bugs, alligator and armadillos are all compared to chicken. But when asked to comment about their impoverished contract farmers, a spokesman for the National Chicken Council asked, “Which poverty line are you referring to?” As Oliver pointed out that, it doesn’t matter, because “the poverty line is like the age of consent, if you find yourself parsing exactly where it is, it you’ve probably already done something very, very wrong.” Oliver then asked members of Congress to enact meaningful legislation to protect chicken farmers — and a call to arms to change their Wikipedia pages if they didn’t.

John Oliver walks viewers through the harsh contracts that govern the relationship between the four poultry industry giants, Perdue, Tyson, Pilgrim’s, and Sanderson Farms, and the smaller farms which actually raise the chickens. But it’s John Oliver, so there are laughs mixed in with the horrible stories you never knew you didn’t know — and there’s a cathartic Sean Connery cameo as well. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), failed to pass the House Appropriations Committee. “If your representative’s name is up there, and they vote against Marcy Kaptur’s amendment, it is because they — and I cannot stress this enough — are chicken fuckers. Representatives for those corporations then grade the quality of the chickens, using arbitrary levels that can substantially affect what the chicken farmers are paid. “Holy sh*t.

—Peter Weber Last night, Mad Men ended its run by implying that protagonist Don Draper had a hand in Coca-Cola’s famed 1971 “I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke” ad, which posited that sharing a sugary beverage with friends was a shortcut to “the real thing”: Of course, the real-life ad didn’t spring from the mind of Don Draper — but as it turns out, it did come from another alliterative McCann Erickson ad man: Bill Backer, the creative director for the firm’s Coca-Cola account. When controlling *ssholes threaten their dependents with numerically inferior chicks, That’s not a responsible business model, that is [HBO’s] Entourage. And unless they want that chicken-fucker label to follow them for the rest of their lives, they might want to think extra carefully about which way they are going to vote, because chicken-fucker accusations do not come off a Wikipedia page easily. Or if they do, they tend to go right back up.” Discover who the “potential chicken fuckers” are — and get a full explanation of contract farming — in the clip above.

While Congress has passed a regulations protecting the farmers from predatory corporate practices, the government has refused to allow the laws to be enforced by annually suspending them, mostly at the behest of Rep. With another vote coming up that would allow the protections to finally be applied, Oliver suggested a prank to call out lawmakers on the controlling committee vote.

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