Chief Executive Officer
Whole Foods Market
500 Bowie Street
Austin, TX 78703
January 28, 2016
In light of recent investigations featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post, the undersigned animal rights organizations condemn Whole Foods Market’s animal welfare standards and the Global Animal Partnership’s (GAP) “5-Step” animal welfare rating system.
Under the guise of compassion, Whole Foods is profiting from violence against animals. A recent investigation of a top-tier, “5+” rated turkey supplier revealed that while Whole Foods claims its turkeys live free on open pastures, they are instead crammed in dark, disease-filled sheds. Countless birds suffer to death, often afflicted with swollen crops the size of grapefruits, completely unable to walk, or suffocating on ammonia-infused air as their siblings trample them to death in extremely crowded conditions.
Whole Foods deceives the public by marketing as humane an inherently inhumane practice, raising animals for food. GAP, the so-called third party behind Whole Foods’ animal welfare standards, is funded 92-95% by the company and has a tiny staff overseeing 290 million animals’ lives. Even worse, practices allowed by GAP include: castration of baby pigs without anesthesia, snapping birds’ necks by hand, and using hot irons to sear the heads of baby calves. This is all for a brand that relies acutely on customer trust.
These findings pervade Whole Foods’ entire supply of animal products. One investigation revealed young rabbits deprived of water in filthy cages before being slaughtered for meat. Another exposed widespread disease and suffering at a “Certified Humane” cage-free egg supplier. Recently, investigators documented pigs crammed into crowded sheds on concrete floors. And Whole Foods relentlessly pushes farming into new territories with widely touted but dubious standards for fish farming. This Thanksgiving’s investigation is another piece in a mountain of evidence demonstrating that no matter how “humanely” Whole Foods dresses it up, animal agriculture is always violent and profoundly unethical.
We therefore ask you to end fraudulent “animal welfare” marketing and your financial support for violence against animals.
Direct Action Everywhere
Last Chance for Animals
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)
Christian Vegetarian Association
Humane Farming Association (HFA)
United Poultry Concerns
Free From Harm
Toronto Pig Save
Circle of Compassion
Keith McHenry, co-founder of Food Not Bombs
Indraloka Animal Sanctuary
Hen Harbor Animal Sanctuary
Green Party Animal Rights Committee
Berkeley Organization for Animal Advocacy
Bloomington Animal Rights Coalition
Animal Liberationists of Color
Women Against Speciesism
LGBTQ+ Animal Liberationists
Well on Wheels
Coalition to End Animal Slavery Everywhere
Indiana Animal Rights Alliance
Animal Rights Media