Behind The Lies Of Whole Foods Market – Is There Such Thing As “Humane Meat”?
By Annie Hudson
All throughout my childhood, my family always kept several to a few dozen chickens around. These curious critters got to roam freely throughout our wooded 6 acres of land, dust bathing, playing “keep away” over grasshoppers and getting affection from the humans who kept them. At night they would come in to roost and we would tuck them away in a comfy coop to protect them from predators. Sure, they even had names and (most) got to live out their natural lives… and, yes, we ate their eggs.
Fast forward years later and I find myself no longer keeping chickens of my own and pondering the choices between various “cage free,” “free range,” and “organic” egg options at the market. I’ve seen all the commercials and all of the ads and, given my past experience, I am convinced that these animals lived the best of lives and were treated with dignity. And because I care, I am going to only purchase eggs with these labels. I would hate the thought of supporting those dreadful factory farm battery cages!
Can we actually have the animals’ best interest in mind while profiting from and consuming their bodies and secretions? And even if the answer was somehow “yes” – is there really ever a nice way of killing someone who did not want to die? Whether they are “free range,” “cage free,” grass fed,” “wild caught,” or factory farmed these animals have interests and desires and they want to live. Are we really that conditioned that we believe these “baby steps” are progress?
How many of us have received emails from certain animal protection organizations with an update that a corporation will soon transition a (small) percentage of its eggs to “cage free” and thought, “Well that is just so great! Progress is happening! Good news for the animals!”? But what is in this label exactly? Are these animals really being treated well? Can we actually have the animals’ best interest in mind while profiting from and consuming their bodies and secretions? And even if the answer was somehow “yes” – is there really ever a nice way of killing someone who did not want to die? Whether they are “free range,” “cage free,” grass fed,” “wild caught,” or factory farmed these animals have interests and desires and they want to live. Are we really that conditioned that we believe these “baby steps” are progress?
Whole Foods has recently put out a 20 million dollar ad campaign called “Values Matter,” where they have brilliantly disguised all the ways their store’s suppliers practice animal agriculture as “humane.” We all know that big corporations like to paint a pretty picture for the public to mask atrocities. So I ask you, why would Whole Foods Market be any different? This is a company that continues to grow at alarming rates. They tell us that they care about animals and, in fact, they profit from this very act. Many people, my old self included, buy their animal products there solely based on their “humane” labeling. As Brian Burns, a lead investigator from the organization Direct Action Everywhere’s “Truth Matters: It’s Not Food. It’s Violence.” states: “these companies are actively trying to cultivate and create a culture around the idea of humanely killing animals.” Whole Foods is capitalizing on the compassionate consumer by making them feel good about purchasing the bodies of the animals they sell in their stores. These are consumers who might otherwise abstain from animal consumption altogether if the issue was not so muffled by the welfarists in the animal rights movement who cheer for “progress.” We would withdraw our support from a company that told the public they took excellent care of their workers but behind our backs they were using them as slave labor, denying them health care, a living wage, or any worker’s rights. So why on earth are we applauding companies like Whole Foods for the same disgraceful lies?
Whole Foods has also adopted a 5 Step® Animal Welfare Rating program which is supposed to protect animals. However, in CF’s video below, The Whole Truth Behind The Humane Lie, you will see that mutilations, confinement, forced impregnation, separation of families and unnecessary physical and mental suffering still exist. This is the same method of violence being sold under a different label and boy are we buying it.
The truth is that we are far too often happy to believe whatever lie they tell us as long as we are not inconvenienced all that much. This is why groups like Collectively Free and Direct Action Everywhere are taking an outward stance against the company through direct action inside of the very establishments who sell us these lies. It is not about more vegan options but about dismantling the humane myth to shift the public’s consciousness and bring us away from speciesism. We have faith that once the public understands the truth, there will be a price that companies like Whole Foods will have to pay. CF is asking the company to lead the way into a truly more sustainable and compassionate way of doing business.
Whole Foods, you have a choice. What is the message you would really like to send to the world?
When we speak of rights and equality, we apply it to all humans. Non-human animals feel pain and joy and want to be happy and free. It’s time to stop this violence for both human and non-human animals. We are asking people all over the world to join us in speaking out against the injustice happening right in front of us. Does Whole Foods offer vegan options? While it is actually a very small percentage of their full product line, sure they do. They are smart and do realize that this will continue to keep animals right advocates happy and content. But this is no excuse to perpetuate the humane washing and we have an opportunity to speak up for those who cannot. Join our actions!
From the people who have never considered the animals’ suffering, to the person who believes that “cage free” means the quality of life that her yard chickens had, to the vegan animals rights activist who loves the vegan cheese options. Whole Foods is doing their best to sell us lies and keep us in the dark. We simply cannot let them get away with this any longer.
Whole Foods, we have a suggestion for you: Step 1: Let all animals live.