Last week I broke the story that contract chicken farmer Craig Watts, who had let animal-welfare activists film in the barns where he raises poultry for Perdue Farms, filed for whistleblower protection against the company because he felt retaliated against. In his complaint — made to the Department of Labor under the provisions of the Food Safety Modernization Act — Watts said that the condition of the chicks Perdue delivered to him compelled him to raise “adulterated or misbranded food” for consumers, and that when he attempted to reveal this, the company harassed him with inspectors’ visits.
When I posted on Watts’ complaint, which has the form of a lawsuit though it is filed with a federal agency not a court, I said I’d update once I got reaction from the company or the industry. I’ve received their reactions now and, since it’s been a few days, it seems more fair to break them out in a separate post, rather than adding to last week’s.
Short version, with details below: Perdue and the National Chicken Council both say that Watts — who has not lost his contract with the company — is not being retaliated against, but needs guidance to do a better job raising the chickens he is sent.