The True Cost of Cheap Chicken: A Better Way

Two pasture-raised chicks sitting in a tree in the forest.

The recent video from The New York Times, “See The True Cost of Your Cheap Chicken” took our breath away. It is easy for even conscientious people to feel removed from what happens everyday at a factory farm. The video is an impactful and necessary view into this industrial system and lays out exactly why we are working to revolutionize the poultry industry.

Is it possible to feed the world without inflicting so much cruelty? Of course. A start is the Better Chicken Commitment which requires suppliers to adhere to a raised set of standards for chicken welfare.

Cooks Venture is founded on the principle of building a system that is better for the animal, the planet and people. It starts with breeding. 99% of chickens in America are one of two breeds and they are intentionally bred to grow six times faster than they did a century ago resulting in unhealthy animals with small bodies that can’t support their weight.

Our difference is rooted in our breed, the Pioneer, a culmination of twelve years of research and development to breed a slow-growing bird with a strong, healthy immune and digestive system that naturally thrives outdoors.

The University of Guelph recently concluded a two year study on broiler chicken welfare in partnership with GAP (Global Animal Partnership). The study definitively found the breed of chicken to be the most critical component for animal welfare. As a result, GAP released a list of approved breeds for their welfare certification which is required by the Better Chicken Commitment. Cooks Venture is one of a small number of approved breeds and the only broiler line approved in commercially scaled production today.

Our Pioneer birds are raised in an active environment, spending their days outside in pasture and forests. You can see what pasture-raised means at Cooks Venture.

Poultry farmers deserve an independent and fair system. We provide capital and support to a network of over thirty poultry farmers in our region enabling them to renovate their chicken houses into buildings with doors running the length of the houses and clear windows throughout in order to raise the chickens outside without taking on crushing debt. We pay our farmers double what is paid in conventional systems. We implemented an agroforestry program throughout our network in 2021, planting over 20,000 trees across these farms paying for the trees, cover crop seeds and environmental enrichments. We offer a 10% bonus to our farmers who are improving the soil health of their land following regenerative principles.

There’s an alternative to factory farms. We’re actively breaking the system and building a framework for the future that’s better for us all. Cooks Venture is proof that an independent company can make a large impact - improving animal’s health and welfare and providing a stable, good income for poultry farmers.


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