Viva!USA mentioned in USA Today article: http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/food/2003-10-21-wholefood_x.htm
Letter to Viva! Supporters:
Dear Friends of Viva!,
Below is the Viva!USA release updating our campaign regarding Whole Foods' selling of factory farmed duck meat. It explains why we have called a moratorium.
A few things not in the release that we wanted to share with you is that when Viva!USA started our campaign regarding Grimaud Farms of California's cruel treatment of the ducks they had just opened a few new farms in Pennsylvania. As far as we can tell, at least two of these farms no longer exist.
We want to thank everyone for the time and energy put into Viva!'s campaign on behalf of ducks in factory farms. Viva!USA began our campaign in September 2000. We were successful at getting Trader Joe's to stop selling all duck meat and getting a number of other chains to stop buying from the farms we investigated.
Whole Foods Market has made a commitment on behalf of ducks as
well as all farmed animals. Even though our campaign was specifically about ducks, it assisted in getting the founder/CEO of Whole Foods to go vegan (see his quote below) as well as to reevaluate how all farmed animals sold by Whole Foods should be treated.
I have been in close touch with Founder and CEO of Whole Foods, John Mackey, for a number of weeks now. He told me he is willing to work with organizations such as PETA, the Animal Welfare Institute, and Viva!
The release below will give you an insight into where Whole Foods stands with Grimaud Farms and their relationship to Sonoma Foie Gras. Although the standards have not been created, Mr. Mackey feels comfortable committing to no bill trimming on ducks and probably on all bird species.
So, as of this time, we are ceasing our activities against Whole Foods. We will be picking a new focus in the next few weeks. Most grocery stores still sell meat from the largest duck farm in the U.S. (Maple Leaf Farms).
Thank you again for the calls, letters, e-mailing and leafleting you have done with Viva! It goes to show that with persistence, even a small organization like ours can have a huge impact. We hope you will read the whole release below.
I started to write a list of all of the groups (big and small) who have assisted us with this campaign but the list is too long (you know who you are). Most notable are the Animal Welfare Institute, AVAR, Farm Sanctuary, PETA, United Poultry Concerns, and Vegan Outreach. We thank you all and hope to have your support again!
For all animals,
US Campaigns Director
Can also be seen at: http://www.vivausa.org/newsreleases/10-02.htm
For Immediate Release For more information contact:
October 21, 2003 Lauren Ornelas at 530/759-8482
Whole Foods Market to Create Humane
Viva! declares campaign moratorium
Austin , Tex. Whole Foods Market, as a result of negotiations with animal rights group Viva! USA , has pledged to totally transform the way animals are raised for its stores, prompting Viva! USA Director Lauren Ornelas, to place a moratorium on the group's two-year campaign against the corporation.
John Mackey, Whole Foods Market CEO, stated that "Viva! was instrumental in helping Whole Foods Market leadership come to understand the importance and necessity of making changes to animal production methods-changes that both eliminate cruelty and neglect, but also that will allow animals to do the things they would like to be doing. In addition to Whole Foods Market' s corporate commitment to raise the bar, my research on animal welfare issues while in dialogue with Ms. Ornelas, convinced me to personally become a vegan. I believe a vegan lifestyle is the most animal compassionate lifestyle possible."
Viva! USA director Lauren Ornelas stated, "My conversations with Mr. Mackey have convinced me that he is sincerely interested in improving conditions for farmed animals. The suffering endured by ducks and other farmed animals sold at grocery stores in the U.S. is heartbreaking, and we hope that Mr. Mackey and his company will be able to push the farming industry to make dramatic improvements."
As a company historically concerned with animal welfare, Whole Foods Market has informed Viva!USA of ambitious plans to take that concern to the next level by designing humane husbandry standards for farmed animals sold in the natural foods retailer's more than 145 stores (with annual sales of $3.2 billion). According to Mackey, ducks will be among the first animals benefiting from rigorous new policies on humane treatment. This has prompted Viva! to declare a moratorium on its two-year-old campaign to convince Whole Foods Market to stop doing business with farms that abuse ducks such as Grimaud Farms.
According to Mackey, "Grimaud Farms has agreed to work with Whole Foods Market and animal welfare groups to implement new husbandry techniques. Whole Foods Market has told Grimaud that it will be necessary to cut formal ties with companies related to the production of foie gras as part of its commitment to animal compassionate standards and methods. Whole Foods Market estimates that it will take approximately one year for Grimaud to begin selling ducks produced with animal compassionate methods. If Grimaud is unwilling to implement animal compassionate standards and methods, then Whole Foods Market will seek alternative producers who will."
Viva! USA is part of an international organization with its USA headquarters based in California . To see more go to: www.vivausa.org .