Monday, December 22, 2008

The "Animal Compassionate Standards" of Whole Foods

Every company that sells animal products now has a section on their website about their commitment to the humane treatment of the soon-to-be slaughtered animals.  At companies like Hormel, at least, these statements are tempered by the subtext of teeth gritted as they feign concern for the well-being of the animals, laughter suppressed as they wonder how anyone could possibly fall for their trumped up indignation over the undercover videos of hog abuse at their suppliers' farms.  All their talk about humane treatment is a PR necessity forced upon them, and it's pretty evident they want to lash out and strike the people responsible for making them do it.

But then you've got companies like Wild Oats and Whole Foods, who actually seem to believe what they're saying.  When they talk about humane treatment, you can practically see the conviction glittering in their eyes.
We have also been working on species specific Animal Compassionate Standards which require environments and conditions that support the animals' physical, emotional and behavioral needs to an even higher level.
"to an even higher level," implication being the level was already pretty darn high to begin with.  I'm still not quite grasping the concept of how slaughter meets the animals' physical, emotional and behavioral needs, though I do see how it meets the pecuniary needs of Whole Foods executives and shareholders.  Now we get to the kicker.
Although no producers have met these standards yet, many are exploring the opportunity.
Say what?  I believe "exploring the opportunity" is PR speak for although no producers have met these standards yet, many have told us, fuck no, are you fucking nuts?  Hog farmers exploring the opportunity to treat the hogs with compassion?  What's next, PR executives exploring the opportunity of telling the truth?

So how about the piglets?  What does the Whole Foods Animal Compassionate Standards have to offer them?
Although at this time there are few alternatives to blunt trauma for piglets, there is research being conducted to develop more humane euthanasia possibilities.  Whole Foods will stay abreast of these developments and when there are viable alternatives, investigate them to determine whether they should be added to our Animal Compassionate Standards.
Few alternatives to blunt trauma (stun bolt to cranium) for piglets?  Here's one alternative:  no blunt trauma.  No captive bolt stun guns, no shackling and hoisting, no blades.  Sending them to a farm sanctuary.  Now that would be animal compassionate. Well, that's just being ornery.  I know what they meant.  Few alternatives within the more narrow confines of slaughter methodology.   When an alternative method of acceptable slaughter is finally discovered, you'd think maybe that proverbial light would go on over their heads.  Did we maybe choose an inappropriate name for our standards?  Compassion and slaughter seem kind of, I don't know, like total opposites.  Should we go back to PR and have them do another brainstorming session?  Tell them to come up with something more believable, like our animal savagery standards or our horrific butcheries standards?

You guys at Whole Foods have no animal compassionate standards.  You subject animals to a life of misery and then you kill them.  If your strict adherence to your corporate brand image as good global citizen forces you to feign concern for the animals you slaughter, at least have the integrity to follow the lead of the people at Hormel and Tyson and tell us your PR lies through gritted teeth, with fists clenched and nostrils flaring.