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For Immediate Release
June 9, 2003

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

Animal Activists to Protest Whole Foods Market

Grand Opening of Whole Foods in Sacramento is for the birds

…Activists from Viva!, the Animal Protection Institute, and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, will be holding signs, banners and leafleting to alert possible new customers that Whole Foods sells factory farmed duck meat. Three life-sized paper machê ducks will be on display to show how factory-farmed ducks are treated.

Wednesday, June 11 at 11:30am

4315 Arden Way, Sacramento

Whole Foods maintains an image of concern for the environment and for the welfare of animals, although many of their stores continue to sell duck meat from factory farms. "Trader Joe’s, 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 (based in Stockton) and found that 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. Grimaud Farms is the national distributor for one of only two companies in the U.S. that produces foie gras, the enlarged livers of painfully force-fed ducks and geese (force-feeding sometimes kills the birds).

"Whole Foods has continued to defend their use of a factory farm that not only cuts the tips of the ducks' bills off and deprives them of water to immerse themselves, ," said lauren Ornelas, US Campaigns Director Viva!USA, "but is also an integral part of the foie gras industry."

On Donald Ducks’ birthday, Monday, June 9, demonstrations are being staged across the country against Whole Foods.Viva! launched its campaign against duck meat in September of 2000 with the help of Paul McCartney and actress Hayley Mills. Viva!’s USA headquarters is based in Davis, CA. Video footage of duck units; full report; and media briefing and photos are available from Viva! or on their website at www.vivausa.org.