PETA in Food Fight With Whole Foods: Meat Case Signs Grossly Misleading to Consumers, Says Group (Images Available)

PETA Is Asking Whole Foods to Remove Offensive Signage That Makes Light of the Suffering of Animals in Transit and at Slaughter

For Immediate Release:
February 25, 2014

Sophia Charchuk 202-483-7382

Austin, Texas

This afternoon, PETA sent a letter to Whole Foods Co-CEO John Mackey asking him to remove the new and arguably fraudulent signs in some Whole Foods meat departments that declare, “A Hearty Helping of Animal Compassion With Every Order,” above the stores’ meat cases. As PETA points out, while marginal reductions in some cruel factory-farming practices may have occurred, the meat still comes from animals who have been castrated and branded (all without painkillers); been trucked to slaughterhouses in all weather conditions; and have been slaughtered in extremely frightening and stressful ways.

“An ‘animal compassion’ sign would be appropriate if it were located over Whole Foods’  produce section, but in the meat department, it leads consumers who do not want to be party to cruelty to animals to believe that this meat is OK to purchase, and that’s fraudulent,” says PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk. “Whole Foods is behaving more like an oil company touting its environmental record than an ethical grocery store when it actively misleads customers who care about animals.”

For more information, please visit Photos of the signs in Whole Foods can be found here.


PETA’s letter to Whole Foods Co-CEO John Mackey follows.

February 25, 2014


John Mackey
Cofounder and Co-CEO
Whole Foods Market


Via e-mail: [email protected]


Dear John:

I regret to have to write this letter to you, but I must request your urgent action. On behalf of PETA and our more than 3 million members and supporters, including, as you know, many Whole Foods shoppers, we must ask for the immediate removal of large new signs in some stores that are misleading and, we believe, fraudulent. They appear over meat selections and read, “A hearty helping of animal compassion with every order.”

Such signs would be truthful and appropriate if put up over your vegan foods, but they have not been. They are in the meat department and are therefore a blatant attempt to sell meat to a public that is hoping to avoid cruelty to animals. The meat they advertise still comes from animals who may have been spared some marginal cruelty in one aspect or another while they were being raised but is still obtained in horribly cruel ways, including transportation in all types of weather on a petrifying journey and slaughter by methods that scare the animals out of their wits. Customers are not fully informed of the facts, and the size and wording of these signs mislead them into thinking that they not only will avoid the mistreatment of animals but also will actively engage in being compassionate by buying your products. In truth, however,  no reasonable examination of the facts would miss the fact that you are deliberately getting otherwise well-intentioned buyers  to support extreme cruelty to animals.

Although some farmers have taken steps to reduce animal suffering, even the few farms that are ranked as “Step 5” under the Whole Foods 5-Step Animal Welfare Rating Standards (which is only 0.6 percent of the farms participating, according to the Global Animal Partnership website) cause great suffering to animals by artificially inseminating pigs and cows, taking piglets from their mothers, and doing even worse things. Other “certified” farms (a third of which are ranked as “Step 1,” which requires only the most basic reductions in suffering) under this program still house animals in sheds and allow such painful mutilations as castration and branding as well as trucking over many hours to slaughter (as long as 24 hours for cows, 14 hours for pigs). Even the very farmers who raise animals in some of the industry’s best conditions are realizing that there is simply no way to produce meat humanely. I’m sure that you have read pig farmer Bob Comis‘ essays on this subject. When animal farmers themselves reject the most “humane” of systems, you know the tide has turned.

Please let us know that you will promptly remove these disturbing signs from all Whole Foods locations. I hope to hear back from you right away. Thank you.

Very truly yours,

Ingrid E. Newkirk

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