|Enewsletter • November 5, 2001|
There is enough violence;
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Inside Grimaud Farms (click for larger image).
by Jack Norris
In spring of 2000, Viva!USA conducted the first ever U.S. investigation of duck farms. They videotaped and took pictures of duck farms scattered throughout the country. Most of these farms were owned by the largest duck producer in the country, Maple Leaf Farms (MLF). Viva! also received anonymously-taken footage of Grimaud Farms (GF), a duck farm in Stockton, California. Viva! discovered that both MLF and GF are factory farms.
Ducks normally spend much of their lives on water. The ducks in factory farms live indoors in crowded sheds. Sometimes there are open windows for fresh air. However, at some MLF, and at GF, there are no open windows. Injured, dying, and dead ducks were found at most of the farms. Eye problems (most likely due to a lack of water) were also found at most of the farms. The smell of excrement is powerful (especially in the farms without windows). The ducks were often dirty, sometimes covered in mud and excrement. At GF, the ducks had the ends of their bills trimmed off.
After their investigations, Viva! approached some of the stores selling meat from MLF and GF. Earth Fare, a small natural foods chain in North and South Carolina, was selling GF. After being informed of the conditions there, they promptly dropped meat from GF.
A duck covered in mud and excrement at MLF
(click for larger image).
Trader Joe's, a specialty foods grocery store chain, was also selling GF and MLF. At first, there was some confusion over Trader Joe's stance. Eventually, Trader Joe's decided to sell their current inventory of duck meat, but will not reorder unless they find a duck farm certified by a "reputable and independent agency" as being cruelty-free.
After Viva! approached Whole Foods, the largest "natural foods" chain in the U.S. (which includes Fresh Fields and Bread & Circus), their corporate office quickly decided to discontinue selling MLF. Some of their store managers and regional managers decided to discontinue selling GF as well. However, at the corporate level, Whole Foods has defended GF. I found this strange given that, while being a larger farm, MLF appears to be better than GF in terms of the animals' welfare.
Trimmed bills at Grimaud
(click for larger image).
There are many people who say, "As long as the animal was raised and killed humanely, then I don't have a problem eating it." In fact, this seems to be the sentiment of the average educated person living in the United States. Although very few of these people actually make any effort to ensure the meat they consume comes from an animal who was raised and killed humanely, but of those who do, many assume that Whole Foods provides them with such meat.
As of October 23, 2001, Whole Foods' website says:
Since, by their own words, some of their animals are not raised in a free-roaming setting, it should not be a great surprise that Whole Foods is defending a factory farm such as GF. In fact, Whole Foods and GF joined with poultry science researchers at UC Davis who gave GF their stamp of approval. This should not make anyone feel better as animal scientists at universities have been designing cruel confinement systems for decades.
People should understand that Whole Foods supports factory farming and that when they purchase meat at Whole Foods, they are not necessarily buying meat from humanely raised animals. By joining Viva!'s campaign and sending Whole Foods an email or letter asking them to drop Grimaud Farms, you can help encourage Whole Foods to leave their support of factory farming behind. Please ask anyone you know who is against factory farming, whether they are vegetarian or not, to do the same.
You can contact Whole Foods at:
John Mackey, CEO/Founder
Viva! also has an online (and in VHS format) video of some of the footage taken at duck farms in the U.S. as well as leaflets and other campaign materials.