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For Immediate Release
For more information contact: lauren Ornelas/Viva! 404/315-8881 or Carol Moon/F.S. 212/567-4556

Animal Activists Target Whole Foods Shareholders Meeting

National Campaign Raises Factory Farm Issue with Whole Foods

New York...Members of Viva! and Farm Sanctuary will converge on the Whole Foods shareholders meeting at One UN Plaza, 44th St. at First Ave., on Monday, March 26 at 8:30am (meeting starts at 9am) to educate shareholders about Whole Foods’ stocking of factory farmed duck meat. Viva! has been coordinating events educating Whole Foods customers about this issue for several months. Events have taken place in cities such as Atlanta, Austin, Dallas, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, DC.

“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 as well as their shareholders.”

A representative of Viva! and Farm Sanctuary will go into the meeting to address the shareholders and to deliver a stack of petitions to Whole Foods.

Whole Foods maintains an image of concern for the environment and for the welfare of animals while many of their stores 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. Bill trimming is done to prevent feather pulling - a behavior caused by a stressful, crowded environment. In the US, thousands of ducks are boiled alive in the slaughterhouse!

Viva! launched its campaign against duck meat in September of this year with the help of Paul McCartney and actress Hayley Mills. As of October, one grocery store chain pulled the duck meat by Grimaud Farms, one of the companies investigated by Viva!

Viva!’s USA headquarters is based in Atlanta. Video footage of duck units; full report; media briefing and photos, are available from Viva! or on our website at www.vivausa.org.