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National Campaign Raises Factory Farm Issue with Whole Foods

Two Regions pull factory farmed duck meat from Maple Leaf Farms in response to national campaign

Viva!USA is sponsoring a nationwide series of events to convince Whole Foods to drop duck meat from its over 100 stores. In conjunction with groups around the country, Viva! will hold demonstrations and leafleting events from now until mid-February at Whole Foods stores (including those operating under the names Fresh Fields & Bread & Circus) in such major cities as Atlanta, Dallas, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, DC.

Viva! has been informed by both the Midwest and MidAtlantic Whole Foods that they will no longer carry duck meat by Maple Leaf Farms, one of the main companies investigated by Viva! The announcement from the Mid Atlantic region includes D’Artagnan and International Gourmet.

However, some Whole Foods still carry duck meat from Maple Leaf Farms and also Grimaud Farms of California - another company investigated by Viva! Earth Fare, a health food chain with five stores in North & South Carolina, pulled duck meat from Grimaud Farms after seeing Viva!’s investigation.

“We felt we were doing Whole Foods a service by informing them of the cruel practices of these companies,” said lauren Ornelas, US Campaigns Director, “but since some regions of Whole Foods are still carrying Maple Leaf Farms and Grimaud Farms, we feel we have to take our message to their customers.”

Whole Foods maintains an image of concern for the environment and for the welfare of animals killed for food, however, many Whole Foods continue to sell duck meat from factory farms.

Viva! investigated both Grimaud and Maple Leaf Farms and found that the ducks are forced to live in crowded conditions, indoors, without enough water to immerse their heads. Most farms offer ducks water only in the form of nipple drinkers (a pipe with holes where water drops out). Without an adequate amount of water, these aquatic birds find it difficult to keep warm and may also develop eye problems that can result in blindness. Both companies practice de-billing. De-bililng is done to prevent feather pulling - a behavior caused by the stressful environment. In the US, thousands of ducks are boiled alive in the slaughterhouse!

Video footage of duck units; full report; media briefing and photos, are available from Viva! or on our website.