Imagine that you are a chicken farmer with a family to feed. You are struggling to keep up with the mortgage on your farm and to make payments on your equipment. You barely have any money to buy clothes and food. A representative from Big Chicken, Inc. offers to buy as many chickens from you as you can produce.
There is one condition, though. You have to produce them in exactly the way Big Chicken, Inc. tells you to. This requires that you borrow even more money for new chicken houses, raise the chickens in conditions that you find objectionable, and not allow your operation to be seen or filmed by outsiders. What would you do?
Would you take their offer and try to ignore your worries about more debt, the health of your animals, and the quality of your product? Would you decline their offer and hope to make ends meet in some other way?
According to the makers of the recent movie Food, Inc., this is the kind of decision that many American farmers are forced to make. It is one of the many ethical challenges that face us when we consider the complex, and often messy, business of feeding millions of people every day. The following trailer should whet your appetite to participate in an informed discussion of the ethics of food production and consumption: