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For Immediate Release For more information contact:
October 21, 2003 Lauren Ornelas at 530/759-8482

Whole Foods Market to Create Humane Farming Standards
Viva! declares campaign moratorium

Austin, Tex. Whole Foods Market, as a result of negotiations with animal rights group Viva!USA, has pledged to totally transform the way animals are raised for its stores, prompting Viva!USA Director Lauren Ornelas, to place a moratorium on the group’s two-year campaign against the corporation.

John Mackey, Whole Foods Market CEO, stated that “Viva! was instrumental in helping Whole Foods Market leadership come to understand the importance and necessity of making changes to animal production methods—changes that both eliminate cruelty and neglect, but also that will allow animals to do the things they would like to be doing. In addition to Whole Foods Market' s corporate commitment to raise the bar, my research on animal welfare issues while in dialogue with Ms. Ornelas, convinced me to personally become a vegan. I believe a vegan lifestyle is the most animal compassionate lifestyle possible.”

Viva!USA director Lauren Ornelas stated, “My conversations with Mr. Mackey have convinced me that he is sincerely interested in improving conditions for farmed animals. The suffering endured by ducks and other farmed animals sold at grocery stores in the U.S. is heartbreaking, and we hope that Mr. Mackey and his company will be able to push the farming industry to make dramatic improvements.”

As a company historically concerned with animal welfare, Whole Foods Market has informed Viva!USA of ambitious plans to take that concern to the next level by designing humane husbandry standards for farmed animals sold in the natural foods retailer’s more than 145 stores (with annual sales of $3.2 billion). According to Mackey, ducks will be among the first animals benefiting from rigorous new policies on humane treatment. This has prompted Viva! to declare a moratorium on its two-year-old campaign to convince Whole Foods Market to stop doing business with farms
that abuse ducks such as Grimaud Farms.

According to Mackey, “Grimaud Farms has agreed to work with Whole Foods Market and animal welfare groups to implement new husbandry techniques. Whole Foods Market has told Grimaud that it will be necessary to cut formal ties with companies related to the production of foie gras as part of its commitment to animal compassionate standards and methods. Whole Foods Market estimates that it will take approximately one year for Grimaud to begin selling ducks produced with animal compassionate methods. If Grimaud is unwilling to implement animal compassionate standards and methods, then Whole Foods Market will seek alternative producers who will.”

Viva!USA is part of an international organization with its USA headquarters based in California. To see more go to: www.vivausa.org.