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For more information contact: lauren Ornelas 404/315-8881

April 6, 2001

Activists Spring Into Action for Ducks
Viva! Victory: Whole Foods Market Drops Maple Leaf Farms

Viva!USA is sponsoring a nationwide series of events to persuade Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s markets to drop the sale of duck meat. In conjunction with groups around the country, Viva! will hold demonstrations and leafleting events from April 7 - 14, in cities such as Austin, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, and San Francisco.

Viva! launched its campaign against duck meat in September of this year with the help of Paul McCartney and actress Hayley Mills after investigating Maple Leaf Farms and Grimaud Farms of California.

Whole Foods has dropped duck meat sold by Maple Leaf Farms in all of their stores but Trader Joe’s continues to carry their products.

“It is tragically ironic that stores who have built a niche market on ‘healthy, socially-conscious’ specialty foods, cannot live up to an image that has put them where they are today,” said lauren Ornelas, U.S. Campaigns Director, Viva!

According to Viva!, Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s are currently selling duck meat from Grimaud Farms where some of the ducks are not allowed access to the outdoors, fresh air, natural light, free access to swimming water and where the ducks have the tips of their bills cuts off. Hundreds of birds are kept in filthy sheds.

Viva!’s response to Whole Foods claims can be seen here.

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-billing 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 at www.vivausa.org.