Business ethics in the broiler industry

Business and Society Review 124 (2):239-260 (2019)
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Abstract

The chicken meat, or broiler, business in the United States is a vertically integrated industry in which integrator corporations control all aspects of the business. Primarily through a series of business acquisitions, an industry duopoly has evolved. The two dominant integrator corporations, Pilgrim's Pride and Tyson Foods, are profitable, and their officers and stockholders benefit from the corporations’ financial success. The multitude of local growers who nurture the chickens to maturity for the integrators, however, benefit minimally from the financial success of the integrators, as the growers face a myriad of financial, environmental, community, and health problems. Many growers have difficulty in extracting themselves from an occupation that requires their initial, personal expenditure, or debt of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Additionally, many who live in regions or states of broiler growing facilities suffer from gases emitted by these facilities and correspondingly lower property values. Several demographic, economic, education, health, and quality of life metrics were analyzed for the 50 U.S. states to provide insights regarding the ethics of the broiler industry and why some states produce significantly more broilers than others.

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