‘Back to the Start,’ the new Chipotle commercial that features Willie Nelson covering the Coldplay song ‘The Scientist,’ is speaking out against injecting farm animals with antibiotics and growth hormones. The two-minute ad, which ran between two Grammy segments during the 54th annual ceremony on February 12, 2012, shows a dejected farmer contemplating the worst.

The farmer is upset over animals being processed, boxed and transported into the big city. He then has an epiphany, after which fences flip into open pastures, where the farm animals roam free. The last frame shows the farmer, now happy, as he loads his products onto a Chipotle truck.

The video is the restaurant chain’s first national ad in its 18-year history. It has been viewed by more than 4.4 million people since it debuted on YouTube.

‘Back to the Start’s message speaks on what many consider a dark side to the American meat industry-factory farming. Animals are cramped in cages their entire lives before being taken to slaughterhouses. They’re pumped full of drugs and hormones.

Chris Arnold, the spokesman of Chipotle, told Fox News that the ad ran during the Grammy’s because “we wanted to expose more people to it and thought the Grammy audience would appreciate it…Judging by the reaction, it certainly made an impression on people.”

America’s leading farm animal protection organization, Farm Sanctuary, applauded the commercial. The group’s president, Gene Baur, said “efforts like Chipotle’s, which educate the public about industrialized animal production, are a step in the right direction. Factory farm owners work hard to prevent people from learning what goes on behind factory doors.”

Chipotle’s Cultivate Foundation is dedicated to helping support sustainable agriculture, family farming and culinary education. The restaurant’s chairman, Steve Ells, said the company can produce affordable food without exploiting the farmers, animals or the environment. “Our goal now should be to have all food produced as sustainably as possible,” he added.

‘Back to the Start’ was one of the top trending topics on Twitter during the Grammy’s. Not only did people support its message, they also debated over whether or not Nelson sang ‘The Scientist’ better than Coldplay.

Written by: Karen Benardello

Back to the Start Chipotle

By Karen Benardello

As a graduate of LIU Post with a B.F.A in Journalism, Print and Electronic, Karen Benardello serves as ShockYa's Senior Movies & Television Editor. Her duties include interviewing filmmakers and musicians, and scribing movie, television and music reviews and news articles. As a New York City-area based journalist, she's a member of the guilds, New York Film Critics Online and the Women Film Critics Circle.

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