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October 11, 2001

Sir Paul McCartney Speaks out for Ducks During National Duck Week

Events taking place around the country from October 8 - 14

DAVIS, CA – Viva!USA received letters today from Sir Paul McCartney to grocery store chains in the U.S. regarding their sale of duck meat. While McCartney congratulated Trader Joe’s for no longer purchasing duck meat from inhumane suppliers and encouraged them to stay on this path, he criticized Whole Foods for not taking similar steps.

In a separate statement, Viva!USA supporter Sir Paul McCartney, says, "It is a terrible shame that people in a so-called civilized society are involved in the horrific practice of farming ducks. These are water birds -yet in factory farms they can't swim, dive or clean in water. Support Viva!'s Week for Ducks and help end the suffering."

Activists across the U.S. will educate and leaflet during Duck Week to heighten awareness about the tragic lives factory-farmed ducks endure. Whole Foods retailers (based in Texas) will be a primary focus of Duck Week events. Although the grocery chain markets itself as a purveyor of natural, cruelty free items, it continues to sell ducks farmed by Grimaud Farms – a notoriously inhumane duck farm.

National Duck Week events will take place in over 20 cities including Berkeley, San Francisco, Sacramento, Santa Fe; Austin, Houston and San Antonio, TX; Washington, D.C.; Seattle; St.Louis; Atlanta; Manhattan; Montgomery, AL; and Tampa.

Points to consider:

  • Ducks, like other animals raised in food production, are excluded from the federal Animal Welfare Act. Factory farmed ducks are packed by the thousands into dark, stinking sheds.
  • As aquatic birds, ducks have evolved to live their lives in water. Denied enough to water to immerse themselves, factory farmed ducks are unable to preen properly and have difficulty maintaining adequate body temperature.
  • Grimaud Farms cuts off a portion of a ducks’ bill to prevent the ducks from pulling each others' feathers – an unnatural behavior caused by the crowded, “factory farm” conditions. The birds who survive have their throats cut before being immersed in scalding water to be de-feathered. According to the USDA's Food Safety Inspection Service, about 1 million ducks per year are fully conscious when their throats are cut, and many thousand are still breathing when they are plunged into boiling water.

After only a year, Viva!USA successfully negotiated with Whole Foods to end the sale of duck meat from producer Maple Leaf Farms, convinced Trader Joe's to suspend the purchase of duck meat while the company waits for a third party to certify the farms as humane, and persuaded Earth Fare natural food chain to stop selling duck meat from Grimaud Farms.

About us: Viva!, an international organization, has its national headquarters in Davis, CA. Undercover video and photos taken in duck units on U.S. factory farms, as well as Viva!USA’s report on the status of ducks held in these farms, are available through Viva!USA’s website at www.vivausa.org, or by contacting Viva! at 530/759-8482.