Target: Walter E Robb, CEO of Whole Foods
Goal: Ensure that your meat suppliers are meeting animal welfare standards.
PETA has filed a lawsuit against Whole Foods, citing they fail to monitor their meat suppliers’ compliances with the organic market’s animal welfare rating. PETA’s lawsuit claims Whole Foods’ animal welfare standards are a deception that allows them to charge consumers extra. Whole Foods allegedly audits their farms less than once a year and doesn’t pull certification if violations are found. This is deceiving to those who pay top dollar at Whole Foods under the pretense that the extra cost is ensuring they’re not funding animal cruelty. It is a false promise of a good life to farm animals.
Whole Foods has a 5-Step Animal Welfare Rating for its meat products, which its suppliers supposedly must comply with. The lowest rating, Step 1, ensures that the animals on the farm aren’t kept in cages, crates, or crowded conditions, and conditions improve up to Step 5, which requires that animals spend their entire lives on one farm, with plenty of outdoor accessibility. PETA released footage from a Whole Foods supplier farm that shows pigs in crowded pens with untreated open wounds. If this accredited farm is keeping its animals in crowded conditions, then it’s not even meeting Whole Foods’ Step 1 criteria.
Whole Foods isn’t auditing their farms on a regular basis or imposing penalties for violations, making their standards no better than common industry practices. This is both unfortunate for the farm animals, which Whole Foods is neglecting to protect, and a scam to the consumer, who is paying more for supposed ‘humane’ meat. PETA believes that these consumers may not purchase meat at all if they were aware of the actual conditions of the animals.
Whole Foods is a leading organic foods chain, with a marketing image of concern for animal welfare. Although they may abstain from buying from exceptionally inhumane factory farms, they are still failing to live up to their own standards. Urge Whole Foods to ensure that their suppliers are meeting their animal welfare criteria.
Dear Mr. Robb,
The recent lawsuit filed by PETA against your company has shed light on Whole Foods’ 5-Step Animal Welfare Rating criteria. It seems that the standards for meeting this criteria are very loose, which is unfortunate, since it involves animal welfare. Your lack of enforcement of your animal welfare standards is a deception to your customers, who pay high prices based off of your ratings.
If Whole Foods is auditing its suppliers once every 15 months, that means a whole years’ worth of animal cruelty can occur before being noticed. This causes a consumer who refuses to purchase commodities from animals kept in cages to unknowingly aid this very practice. Penalties and loss of accreditation must be given when violations are found.
I understand that there’s a growing demand for humane and sustainable food and that it becomes more difficult to mass-produce this type of product. However, as a grocery leader in humane practices, you need to hold your suppliers accountable. Also, with the high prices you charge, you should be able to afford the extra costs of farms that provide better conditions for animals. I urge you to please ensure that standards for animal welfare are being met.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Bearden