Chances are that if you live in Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia, or Mississippi, you’ve shopped at a Winn-Dixie. Well, you’ll be glad to know that this top grocery chain, which operates 520 stores in the South, has just made some improvements in how some of the chickens and pigs killed for its products are treated.
Now before anyone jumps all over us, yes, we are vegans; yes, we spend buckets of money trying to get other people to go vegan; and yes, as long as one chicken is going to be killed because we aren’t able to prevent people from buying and cooking birds, we want that death to be as painless as possible.
Following about five months of discussions with PETA (and there was that matter of the shareholder resolution we submitted to the company), Winn-Dixie has adopted an animal welfare plan. The company has agreed to do the following:
- Give purchasing preference to suppliers that use or switch to controlled-atmosphere killing (the least cruel method of bird slaughter) and begin purchasing 5 percent of its turkeys from suppliers that use this method by the end of 2010.
- Give purchasing preference to suppliers that don’t use gestation crates—restrictive metal enclosures that confine pregnant pigs—and increase the total amount of pig meat that it purchases from crate-free facilities by 5 percent over each of the next three years (to reach a total of 15 percent).
- Give purchasing preference to producers of cage-free eggs, increase the amount of cage-free eggs that it sells to 4 percent by the end of 2009 and 5 percent by the end of 2010, and work toward increasing that amount to 10 percent within the next five years.
Winn-Dixie is following in the footsteps of other major grocery and restaurant companies that have recently made animal welfare improvements after working with PETA. Those companies include Safeway, Harris Teeter (another large Southern grocery chain), Burger King, Carl’s Jr., and Hardee’s.
While this certainly doesn’t mean that the eggs and meat at Winn-Dixie (or any other chain) are produced without causing animals to suffer (check out Meat.org to see what I mean), it does mean that the worst abuses have been eliminated for some of the animals. And we welcome any improvements in animals’ living and dying conditions!
Posted by Christine Doré