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Whole Foods CEO on Corporate Animal Welfare Standards

Written by PETA | July 17, 2007

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You may have heard that Whole Foods CEO John Mackey was recently outed as a frequent poster on a Yahoo message board. I’m sure it brings up all sorts of issues for the company and for him personally, but I think the guy deserves a pat on the back for his posts on animal welfare. It’s a real shame that more CEOs aren’t as enlightened as Mackey on this issue. Check out this quote that is being attributed to him:

“Everything that is alive is going to die someday (even you). What matters is the quality of life while something is alive. The fact that food animals are going to eventually die to feed humans doesn’t mean that the quality of their lives is therefore irrelevant and should be ignored (since you are also mortal does the quality of your own life not matter either?). Quite the opposite. All sentient beings are worthy of being treated with respect and consideration IMO and that includes lobsters. Minimizing their pain is a worthy and admirable goal IMO. I admire Whole Foods for having animal welfare standards and for continually evolving them–and their ban on selling live lobsters is another positive evolutionary step on behalf of animals. . . .”

Amazing. You can check out the full story here.

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  • Veggie Girl says:

    I think the reason why it is more expensive to raise animals for consumption humanely and with respect is because they farms do not cruelly impregnate the animals they are allowed their natural behaviors. Less animals less product to sell so to make money they have to sell at higher prices to keep up with demand. That being said this also keeps demand down to a manageable level. Without cruelly causing animals to grow too rapidly and get pregnant constantly there is less to go around. With organic fruits and veggies when there are no chemicals used to keep destructive insects and disease away organic treatments cost a lot more and a lot more work is needed to tend to them thus the price factor. I understand that not everyone can afford it but until factory farming stops this is the reality of it. I cannot afford to buy organic fruits and veggies all of the time either but I do as much as I can.

  • Tamara says:

    Today I was at a CashWise Foods in Moorhead Minnesota. I walked past the lobster tank and actually cried when I saw one of them had part of his claw rotted off. It actually lay under him I can only assume it was the fact the band was on him WAY too tight. I abandoned my cart of food right there and left it. I can’t support a place that does this. Is there any standards or laws for this? If so I need to know I want to do something. I cried seeing that and I got so ill at their treatment I was unable to eat or drink for awhile. Please help me if you know of anything I can find to help me end this abuse of these animals!

  • Greg Wilson says:

    I’ve been working for Whole Foods for over six years in the meat department. This is a great company to work for. I truly believe in this company and it’s core values. John Mackey believes in not only animal compassion but also supports small farmers in third world countries as well. I know how expensive our products can be but it cost more if you want to serve the highest quality possible. We do have coops that started out small because of the auditing that must happen in order to make sure they comply to wfm standards which is usually higher than the usda. These groups are growing and this may bring down the price because of the law of supply and demand. customer and employee happiness is also one of our core values. So not only does he believe in animal compassion but human compassion as well. As far as having a meat dept. all I can about this is that in the cupertino stevens creek store we have people come in who are from all over the world and from all races and creeds that have no place where they can find good food that is kosher or halal. Over the years I have come to know and love these peoplequite a change from when I came up here from fresno ca. Ive learned alot from working here but most of all Ive learned understandingtolerance and love for my fellow man. I pray that someday others can recieve this gift as well. May God bless you and keep you safe always.

  • rojo says:

    Erika You are absolutly right no animal should be the victim of cruelty. Humane treatment is a must.

  • Erika says:

    For everyone that likes to banter back and forth here is my simple outlook on life for all beings. RESPECT!!! If there is a genuine respect for all living things then all will work out the way it is meant to. Can we save all that we want to save? NO! Can we do our best to be good caring kind compassionate human beings to eachother and to all that inhabit the earth? YES! Life is not perfect but it can always be better. There is no need for animals to suffer at the hands of humans. Do they suffer out in the wild without any human interference? No human can possibly know that. But there is not one reason on this earth that any animal should be tortured neglected abused malnourished dehydrated etc. because a human chose to be cruel. These are the humans that will suffer the greatest. These are the humans that need to learn what respect means.

  • rojo says:

    tracy doesn’t your dog want to be free too or do you feel symbiotic relationships should only occur for pets? The reason your dog is alive is for the purpose of interacting with you for your pleasure. The main reason farm animals are raised is for food. They are alive for that reason but will also die prematurely. My point is does the animal “care” if it dies aged 3 or of old age at say 10. I’d say the will to live exists in both so then we have to assess how valuable that missed out bit of life is and take into account the suffering associated with old age. Remember there is no retirement package on offer in the wild. Is it better to experience a short life or no life at all?

  • Cheri says:

    The cost of eating healthy is expensive! Sure you will have people spouting that veggies and fruits are cheap but remember those cheap veggies and fruits are sprayed with pesticides. Not very healthy in my opinion. So…in order to eat organic if you don’t have enough room to grow a garden a person has to frequent places such as Whole Foods organic fruit stands and food coops. All of them are expensive but I make the splurge just because I don’t have many other choices.

  • Tracy says:

    rojo animals fight to live. That’s how we know they want to be free and not be murdered. My dog doesn’t have longterm goals. Should I kill him? Hell some people don’t have longterm goals. Does that mean they should be killed? As for Whole Foods I wish they were less expensive and didn’t carry meat.

  • Yousef says:

    If I’m not mistaken John Mackey became a vegan some time ago thanks to PETA’s educational efforts.

  • Maya says:

    Good for Whole Foods but tell me why do only wealthy people get to have the honor of living ethically? What about those with a modest wage? Although farm stand prices are just moderately overpriced not everyone lives near a farm stand. Buying organic fruits and veggies can more than double the cost of food shopping. I wish PETA would take this up as an issue. Why does ethically raised and organic vegetarian food have to be three times as expensive? ps Horray for the lobsters. They are one of my favorite animals. May they be blessed.

  • Maureen says:

    Of course for vegans like myself its never really enough but at least Mr. Mackey is opening a door that seems to be permanently closed by other people in his position and I think we should respect him for that.

  • Maureen says:

    Of course for vegans like myself its never really enough but at least Mr. Mackey is opening a door that seems to be permanently closed by other people in his position and I think we should respect him that.

  • rojo says:

    Ana how do you know the animals want to be freed? They get fed and watered mingle with others procreate and don’t have to clean up after themselves. Given that farm animals don’t have long term goals to accomplish it’s a reasonable tradeoff to have the opportunity of life albeit shorter. Not to mention not having to put up with the consequences of old age.

  • Ana says:

    Beings I treat with respect and consideration I don’t eat. So although it sounds really nice what he says ultimately the animals are slaughtered and there’s nothing nice about that. In this way people feel better about ingesting animals since their treated a little better. That is an argument that proves detrimental to the animals who so much want to live. The animals want to be freed and not worry about being slaughtered. Animals want liberation not a few days of eating grass outside.

  • kelly says:

    I had no idea that Whole Foods was so committed to animal welfare issues All the more reason to shop there! and you’ll never run into the proabuse people there they are too busy shoving hot dogs and KFC down their throats and dealing with their heart disease diabetes etc issues!

  • mary nicoletti says:

    I think keeping live taped lobsters in a tankto be sold is cruelPublix markets in south Florida does it it should be stopped

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