PETA Calls on Whole Foods to End Misleading Claims After 'Happy Meat' Producer Found Packing Pigs Into Hot Sheds, Denying Them Adequate Care
For Immediate Release:
September 17, 2015
Catie Cryar 202-483-7382
Ephrata Township, Pa. – Whole Foods’ meat department and website have been plastered with signs and claims reading, “Treated Humanely,” “Enriched Environment,” and “No Crowding.” But a new PETA eyewitness investigation has revealed crowding, lameness, rectal prolapses, and a lack of prompt veterinary care at Sweet Stem Farm, LLC, in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania—a supplier to Whole Foods stores in the Philadelphia area. Sweet Stem Farm is featured by Whole Foods as a certified “Step 2” pig farm, in accordance with its “5-Step™” standards. The majority of pig farms that supply Whole Foods meet only “Step 1” requirements, so as a “Step 2” farm, Sweet Stem Farm is expected to meet higher welfare standards than most of the others—yet PETA’s video footage, available here, exposes glaring discrepancies between the mandated standards and the daily reality:
- Whole Foods assures customers that its “Step 2” suppliers provide animals with enrichment and room to “stretch their legs,” but aside from some straw, “enrichment” was, at best, improper and, at worst, nearly nonexistent. Some pigs at Sweet Stem Farm were given only about 5 square feet of space on a concrete floor, and none of them had access to the farm’s lush, green grass.
- Whole Foods supplier standards require sick or injured pigs to be promptly euthanized if necessary, but pigs at Sweet Stem Farm were left to suffer from fever, lameness, bleeding rectal prolapses, and other conditions for weeks without being examined or treated by a veterinarian. Some were finally shot to death on site in view of other pigs.
- The standards require “thermal comfort” for pigs at all times, yet pigs at Sweet Stem Farm were packed into a metal trailer as the heat index exceeded 90 degrees Fahrenheit more than 24 hours before they were hauled to slaughter for Whole Foods.PETA also notes that although Whole Foods claims, “Our Meat: No Antibiotics, Ever,” many pigs who were given antibiotics were sent to slaughter for Whole Foods. Some dead pigs at Sweet Stem Farm were found to have had salmonellosis, which is transmissible both to humans who eat pork and to other pigs.”Consumers need to know that pigs were found lame, so miserably crowded that they had to stand on each other’s backs, and suffering in other ways at this Whole Foods ‘happy meat’ supplier,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “PETA has exposed the myth of ‘humane meat’ and is asking well-intentioned shoppers to steer clear of the meat case altogether and instead choose truly humane, vegan foods.”