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For Immediate Release: March 28, 2003

For more information
lauren Ornelas 530/759-8482 -
Video and photo available

Animal Activists to Protest Whole Foods Market

Shareholders Meeting

National Campaign Raises Factory Farm Issue with Natural Food Store

Santa Monica Activists from Viva!, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, UCLA Students for Animal Liberation and the Foundation for Animal Liberation will be holding banners to tell Whole FoodsÕ shareholders and the public that Whole Foods sells factory farmed duck meat. Three life-sized duck mannequins will be on display to show how factory-farmed ducks are treated.

A representative of Viva! and PeTA will go into the meeting to address the shareholders. Events will also be taking place at their regional offices or stores in Chicago; Austin, TX; Needham, MA; Rockville, MD; Roswell, GA; Plantation, FL; San Francisco & San Diego, CA.

When: Monday, March 31 8:30am

Where: Fairmont Miramar (101 Wilshire Blvd. at Ocean)

"Whole Foods has continued to defend their use of a factory farm to obtain their duck meat from a farm that not only cuts the tips of their bills off and deprives the ducks of water which they need to maintain health," said lauren Ornelas, US Campaigns Director Viva!USA, "the farm is also a integral part of the foie gras industry."

Foie gras is produced by force-feeding ducks (or geese) until their livers are about 10 times their normal size. Birds are restrained and then force-fed through a tube or pipe. Many European countries including Denmark, Germany, Norway, Poland, the UK and Switzerland have specific legislation prohibiting force-feeding of animals or general animal protection legislation such that force-feeding would be prohibited.

"Whole Foods affiliation with this type of business is shameful", said Ornelas.

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. "Trader JoeÕs, Wild Oats and Earth Fare have all stopped carrying duck meat from this farm out of concern for their inhumane practices. We are shocked that Whole Foods has not immediately done the same," said Ornelas.

Viva! investigated Grimaud Farms and found that the ducks are forced to live in crowded conditions, indoors, without enough water to immerse their heads. Without such water, these aquatic birds find it difficult to keep warm and may develop eye problems that can result in blindness. Bill trimming, practiced by Grimaud Farms, 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 2000 with the help of Paul McCartney and actress Hayley Mills. Viva!Õs USA headquarters is based in Davis, CA. Video footage of duck units; full report; media briefing and photos, are available from Viva! or on their website at www.vivausa.org.