LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - The Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation says Chipotle Mexican Grill's video called "The Scarecrow" is an attack on farmers and ranchers that feeds misconceptions about agricultural producers and their methods.
The group has sent a letter to the Denver-based restaurant chain, voicing "extreme disappointment and concern." Founded in 1993, Chipotle has more than 1,500 restaurants in the United States, Canada and overseas.
Chipotle has joined other restaurant groups in seeking more humane treatment of livestock and what industry leaders see as enlightened grain and livestock goals, the Lincoln Journal Star reported (http://bit.ly/1aE3CtL). Grain and meat producers have been criticized for their use of pesticides and antibiotics and how they treat animals during gestation, weaning, growth and slaughter.
Chipotle announced on Sept. 12 that it had launched the arcade-style adventure game for Apple mobile devices and posted a video of the same name. In a news release, Chipotle said "the game allows players to fly through the city of Plenty to transport confined animals to open pastures, fill fields with diverse crops at Scarecrow Farms, and serve wholesome food to the citizens at PlentyFull Plaza."
Chipotle spokeswoman Danielle Winslow told the newspaper that "The Scarecrow" offers a way to educate the public on agricultural trends.
"The film simply invites viewers to question where we are heading as a society," she said in an email, "and to think more about where our food comes from and how it is prepared."
"There are many ways of doing things, and not everyone agrees which are best," Winslow said.
Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson said the video "disparages farm and ranch families who care very much about the well-being of their fellow man, the animals in their care and the land and natural resources entrusted to them."
Nelson said the Chipotle motto of "Food with Integrity" was a potential starting point for discussions on agricultural production methods.
"We are open and willing to start a dialogue about what that truly means for all people who remain in need of the crops and livestock Farm Bureau members raise," he said.