Man Writes Open Letter Asking Whole Foods To Stop Selling Meat, Whole Foods Responds - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 09-12-2012, 11:23 AM
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I write with a simple, if revolutionary, idea: close all your meat counters. Every single one. Forget (for the moment) dairy and eggs and all the animal-based products dependent on systematic suffering that you believe are integral to a robust stock price. We can deal with these items later. For now, as a step toward a better future, just shut down the meat markets. Forever.

Do this because you can afford to do it. Do this because it is consistent with your articulated values. Do this because it is the right thing to do. Do this because you would be doing the gutsiest thing ever done in corporate and culinary history. Do this because, if you don’t, nobody else ever will. As a loyal patron, vegan advocate, and historian of agriculture, I’m asking you to do what you have done so well since the 1980s: lead.

Read the rest of the letter here: http://freefromharm.org/veganism/a-revolutionary-idea-james-mcwilliams-open-letter-to-whole-foods-market/

I think this was an incredibly bold move but also pretty awesome. James brings up some good points, they do have a high number of veg*n customers after all. Still, there's no doubt their profits would be hurt and no big company likes that.

The CEO of Whole Foods John Mackey wrote a response you can read here: http://freefromharm.org/veganism/john-mackey-ceo-of-whole-food-market-responds-to-james-mcwilliams-letter-calling-for-an-end-to-meat-sales/?goback=.gde_1065857_member_160248939

Predictably he said no, and argued that by selling "humane" meat Whole Foods is doing more good than if they only sold vegetarian foods.

It is true that as a huge chain they reach a lot more people, and they do push veg*n food pretty hard along with the meat. Is it possible that by selling meat and being more popular they are actually encouraging people to consume less of it and make more humane choices as he claims?

I don't think killing animals for a taste preference can ever be ethical, and I think this idea of humane meat Whole Foods pushes really just allows people to feel good about themselves and pat themselves on the back. However factory farming is just horrific, and if I'm only given two choices of course I'd rather the animals not suffer abuse before they're slaughtered. thinking.gif
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#2 Old 09-12-2012, 12:31 PM
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Yes, because having meat for people to buy urges them to consume less of it....yeah o.o Humane does not equal slaughter. I have heard from a few people that the concentration camps were actually viewed as at first as a humane method of getting rid of the jews, I suppose because they didn't just slaughter them all at once. Slaughter is never humane, end of story. It can never, and should never be, no matter the "better" conditions.
 

By the way, the vegan's letter was the most beautiful thing I ever read. o.o

 

Whole foods response, was rather disappointing. It takes people in great power to be able to sway the masses with such a switch. It needs to happen or it will be a slow, grueling process for the animals. I think they should commit business suicide at this point if that is there argument for not getting rid of the meat. Jesus, whole foods, be a leader. I also can't believe he told the guy "why don't you take a visit to the humane farms? We'd be happy to show you them." LOOOOOOOOOOOL becuase a guy who understands the humane myth will be swayed.....


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#3 Old 09-12-2012, 12:40 PM
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PLEASE SIGN THEIR PETITION!!!!! ************************************************************************************************

 

http://www.change.org/petitions/whole-foods-close-all-its-meat-counters-2
 


"Why should man expect his prayer for mercy to be heard by What is above him when he shows no mercy to what is under him?" ~Pierre Troubetzkoy
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#4 Old 09-12-2012, 12:52 PM
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Yes, because having meat for people to buy urges them to consume less of it....yeah o.o Humane does not equal slaughter. I have heard from a few people that the concentration camps were actually viewed as at first as a humane method of getting rid of the jews, I suppose because they didn't just slaughter them all at once. Slaughter is never humane, end of story. It can never, and should never be, no matter the "better" conditions.

 

I agree, slaughter can never be humane, especially when it's not even for survival. But is what Whole Foods is doing less cruel than factory farming? Will it have any impact in how people treat animals or encourage people to go veg*n or does selling the humane myth just encourage complacency?

One argument I've heard is that when people eat meat from places like Whole Foods it's more expensive so they have to eat less of it, but I would imagine that a lot of people who buy meat there also still eat at fast food places so I'm not sure how much of a difference that makes.

I find issues like this really confusing, honestly. Lets entertain the idea that the CEO is correct and that by selling meat processed in a less cruel way and educating people about animal welfare they are helping cause less suffering and it results in less animals being killed/abused overall. Could that ever be morally justifiable when animals are still being killed for a taste preference?

I don't see how it could ever be, but at the same time the amount of abuse and suffering factory farming causes is so appalling to me that any alternative seems better. It seems like accomplishing way too little too slowly, but it might be true that if Whole Foods never sold meat they wouldn't have become as big as they are and then there would be no welfare reforms at all. I want to see factory farming end, but I really want people to just stop killing animals for food altogether. undecided.gif

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#5 Old 09-12-2012, 12:55 PM
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PLEASE SIGN THEIR PETITION!!!!! ************************************************************************************************

http://www.change.org/petitions/whole-foods-close-all-its-meat-counters-2

 

I signed it. I don't think changing their minds is too likely, but having a lot of signatures shows a lot of people care at least.

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#6 Old 09-12-2012, 12:58 PM
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I don't see how it could ever be, but at the same time the amount of abuse and suffering factory farming causes is so appalling to me that any alternative seems better. It seems like accomplishing way too little too slowly, but it might be true that if Whole Foods never sold meat they wouldn't have become as big as they are and then there would be no welfare reforms at all. I want to see factory farming end, but I really want people to just stop killing animals for food altogether. undecided.gif

You're right...it's like a roundabout o.o It seems like either way you go, you eventually get to the same place. o.o If they never sold meat,  there would be no welfare reforms for animals (at least by them anyway), but maybe more people would go vegetarian because it was exposed more? Since they do sell meat, I'm assuming there are less vegetarians because people, like you said, are patting themselves on the back for supporting "humane (NOT) meat, and welfare reforms come about. Hmmmmm, I'm assuming we will get to the end goal eventually. Liberation for all animals <3


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#7 Old 09-12-2012, 01:39 PM
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I'm on board with more ethically raised meat, although by ethical I mean still not ethical for animals, but better for the planet. I always tell people, not eating meat is best, but if you're gonna, go organic and BECAUSE it's crazy expensive, eat way less of it.

 

I like that organics cost more to some degree, at least when it comes to meat, because I feel like the organic supporters maybe buy less simply due to cost, which can't hurt. Less meat is always better than more. 

 

That letter was pretty bold. I wonder what would happen if tons of people sent letters like that... prob nothing, but... 


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#8 Old 09-12-2012, 02:54 PM
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Yes, because having meat for people to buy urges them to consume less of it....yeah o.o Humane does not equal slaughter. I have heard from a few people that the concentration camps were actually viewed as at first as a humane method of getting rid of the jews, I suppose because they didn't just slaughter them all at once. Slaughter is never humane, end of story. It can never, and should never be, no matter the "better" conditions.
 

By the way, the vegan's letter was the most beautiful thing I ever read. o.o

 

Whole foods response, was rather disappointing. It takes people in great power to be able to sway the masses with such a switch. It needs to happen or it will be a slow, grueling process for the animals. I think they should commit business suicide at this point if that is there argument for not getting rid of the meat. Jesus, whole foods, be a leader. I also can't believe he told the guy "why don't you take a visit to the humane farms? We'd be happy to show you them." LOOOOOOOOOOOL becuase a guy who understands the humane myth will be swayed.....


yeah, "humane" farms.. it's all fun and games, until it's time for slaughter.

I don't see Whole Foods going vegan at all.


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#9 Old 09-13-2012, 12:24 PM
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I'm completely amazed that Mackey wrote back at all...asking a major grocery store chain to stop selling meat is like asking BP to stop selling fossil fuels. In other words...ain't gonna happen until the consumer market for those products is eliminated.


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#10 Old 09-13-2012, 06:57 PM
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Mackey is a horrible communicator.  I actually do think that Whole Foods, given its size, can make beneficial changes in the way that animals for that market ("natural foods") are farmed, but he didn't communicate that well.  Given the many people who will buy animal product regardless of if WF went vegan, it may be that WF can do more good for animals by setting standards for their farmers than if they got out of the business entirely.  With their philosophy and buying power, they're doing more for animal welfare than any other sizable natural foods market that I know of that isn't vegan:

 

http://www.vivausa.org/newsreleases/10-02.htm

http://vegan.com/blog/2010/11/16/evaluating-whole-food-markets-animal-welfare-rating-system/

 

That said, there's no such thing as humane animal farming and meat/dairy eaters shouldn't feel great about themselves - actually they should feel like crap.


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#11 Old 09-13-2012, 10:21 PM
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It is entirely unrealistic to expect a company operating for profit to alienate 97% of their customers to satisfy 3%, especially given that the 3% of vegans will still continue to purchase WF products regardless of whether WF stocks animal products. Those who currently purchase meat, dairy etc. at WF will just shift to another grocery store if WF stops selling these products. It makes no economic sense for WF to lose out on the profits they make from the sale of these products. They are widely recognised as one of the most responsible and compassionate businesses in the United States; it’s not as if they desperately need to gain ground in this area.

This is not some sort of endorsement of WF. I find their peddling of so-called “compassionate” animal products to be wholly deplorable. One only needs to visit their website to find all manner of bizarre promotions and statements:
“Holy cow, goat, sheep and buffalo! We'll admit it. We're obsessed with cheese.”
“Ground grass-fed beef on sale today only. ”
“Lamb is wonderfully flavourful.”
“Our veal is the way to go.”

In their own way, they are creating and sustaining the demand for animal products. People are desperate to reconcile their concern for sentient non-humans with their continued consumption of animal flesh and other animal products. This type of WF marketing provides them with the opportunity to do so and mollifies the public instead of tackling the real question of whether use, slaughter and commodification can ever be morally justified.

Nevertheless, they are acting in a sensible way from the perspective of a corporation. Most animal protection groups publicly laud WF’ efforts, the overwhelming majority of their customers already regard them as a leader in the field of animal welfare and they are experiencing tremendous economic growth and success. They will not change their tactics or policies until a strong and vocal group of vegans constitute the clear majority of their consumer base.
 

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#12 Old 09-16-2012, 06:13 AM
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What happened to the idea of "be the change you want to see in the world?" James McWilliams letter is one more example of telling others what to do, rather than doing it yourself, and leading by example. Mr McWilliams, if you are so sure that not selling meat can be a profitable venture, and that a large company that up to now sells flesh, can stay in business without selling meat, you do it.

 

And why do the same people who think the way to reduce drug consumption is to target the use of drugs, and reduce the demand, rather than have draconian laws that are designed support using force and violence to prevent the sale of drugs- why do these same people think flesh consumption can be reduced by writing letters to the people that sell flesh? In my humble opinion, if you want to reduce flesh consumption, be the change you want to be: stop eating flesh yourself, and be an visible example for other to follow. I think talking to the  flesh sellers is a waste of time. Reduce the market demand for flesh, and they will no longer wish to sell it. That is the only thing that will work. And the way to do that is to cause change of hearts in the people who buy and eat flesh. John Mackey is right when he says that if WF's was to get out of the flesh-selling business, some other company would take up the slack. He points out that only 3% of his customers are vegan and only 10 percent are vegetarian. 90 percent of his customers would go to the other store, the store that makes shopping a one-stop affair for them.

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#13 Old 09-16-2012, 06:37 AM
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They will not change their tactics or policies until a strong and vocal group of vegans constitute the clear majority of their consumer base.
 

Egg-replacer-zactly. That's why as vegans we have to focus on reducing the demand for flesh rather than focus on the flesh peddlers. See my previous message.

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#14 Old 09-16-2012, 06:48 AM
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Mackey is a horrible communicator.  I actually do think that Whole Foods, given its size, can make beneficial changes in the way that animals for that market ("natural foods") are farmed, but he didn't communicate that well.  Given the many people who will buy animal product regardless of if WF went vegan, it may be that WF can do more good for animals by setting standards for their farmers than if they got out of the business entirely.  With their philosophy and buying power, they're doing more for animal welfare than any other sizable natural foods market that I know of that isn't vegan:

 

http://www.vivausa.org/newsreleases/10-02.htm

http://vegan.com/blog/2010/11/16/evaluating-whole-food-markets-animal-welfare-rating-system/

 

That said, there's no such thing as humane animal farming and meat/dairy eaters shouldn't feel great about themselves - actually they should feel like crap.

Mackey is a horrible communicator? He communicated his ideas pretty well. I understood them when he wrote them, and I understood them when you paraphrased them, in manner that was almost as clear. But then you contradicted yourself. First you said "I actually... think WF.. can make beneficial changes... do more good for animals by setting standards... than if they go out of business... [have] Buying power. Then you contradict yourself by saying there is no such thing as humane animal farming - as if the standards set by Mackey are meaningless. I think the truth is somewhere in the middle: the standards set by WF for their farmers are significantly, but not substantially, meaningful. Meaning there will be a slight decrease in suffering for farm animals. Their standards aren't completely meaningless. But a switch to veganism among the eating people of the world would be far far more meaningful.

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#15 Old 09-16-2012, 06:50 AM
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I'm completely amazed that Mackey wrote back at all...asking a major grocery store chain to stop selling meat is like asking BP to stop selling fossil fuels. In other words...ain't gonna happen until the consumer market for those products is eliminated.

Egg-replacer-zactly again.

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#16 Old 09-16-2012, 07:01 AM
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Yes, because having meat for people to buy urges them to consume less of it....yeah o.o Humane does not equal slaughter. I have heard from a few people that the concentration camps were actually viewed as at first as a humane method of getting rid of the jews, I suppose because they didn't just slaughter them all at once. Slaughter is never humane, end of story. It can never, and should never be, no matter the "better" conditions.
 

 

Apparently the Germans did indeed make an effort, at first, to slaughter their victims humanely. They even used Temple Grandin-like methods for lining Jews up to go into the gas chamber. For example their explanation for telling the victims that they needed to take off all their clothes off and line up outside the building, to take a "shower," was that their would be less fear, and less suffering, for the victims, this way. Although some would argue that the real reason for telling the victims they were going to take a shower was to make the job easier for the there is no denying that it made the job easier for the victims, too. If the Jews were, as the Germans claimed, non-human, Temple Grandin would have been proud of the Germans, for the way they slaughtered them. Showed a good knowledge of victim instincts and psychology. Of course it was easier for Germans to sort through clothing and belongings, if they were neatly piled up, rather than having to remove clothes and jewelry from dead bodies. And the Germans were not lying when they said "shower." They just didn't say what kind of shower. The victims indeed got a shower - of Zyklon B. But no-one had said anything about water. Truth in labeling. All in all, another win-win situation.

 

But eventually, the Germans found out that it cheaper, and easier, to just starve the victims. Simply keep food from reaching them. That was easier and cheaper than providing food. Made the job of providing toilet facilities simpler too. No more poop to clean up, and the bodies were smaller and easier to bury.

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#17 Old 09-16-2012, 09:47 AM
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Apparently the Germans did indeed make an effort, at first, to slaughter their victims humanely. They even used Temple Grandin-like methods for lining Jews up to go into the gas chamber. For example their explanation for telling the victims that they needed to take off all their clothes off and line up outside the building, to take a "shower," was that their would be less fear, and less suffering, for the victims, this way. Although some would argue that the real reason for telling the victims they were going to take a shower was to make the job easier for the there is no denying that it made the job easier for the victims, too. If the Jews were, as the Germans claimed, non-human, Temple Grandin would have been proud of the Germans, for the way they slaughtered them. Showed a good knowledge of victim instincts and psychology. Of course it was easier for Germans to sort through clothing and belongings, if they were neatly piled up, rather than having to remove clothes and jewelry from dead bodies. And the Germans were not lying when they said "shower." They just didn't say what kind of shower. The victims indeed got a shower - of Zyklon B. But no-one had said anything about water. Truth in labeling. All in all, another win-win situation.

 

But eventually, the Germans found out that it cheaper, and easier, to just starve the victims. Simply keep food from reaching them. That was easier and cheaper than providing food. Made the job of providing toilet facilities simpler too. No more poop to clean up, and the bodies were smaller and easier to bury.

Wow. You've shown incredibly real insights to the meat industry, and the importance of taking individual responsibilities.

I agree, until animal consumption is frowned upon we can't expect large corporations to take the first step.

 

I would rather ask Whole Foods, and other NFS, to corral their meat/dairy displays, and label vegan items. In our store you smell fish right next to daiya cheese and field roast products.


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#18 Old 09-17-2012, 10:06 AM
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I'm completely amazed that Mackey wrote back at all...asking a major grocery store chain to stop selling meat is like asking BP to stop selling fossil fuels. In other words...ain't gonna happen until the consumer market for those products is eliminated.

This.

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#19 Old 09-18-2012, 02:10 PM
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The reasoning to deny the request comes off like a way to say they're only interested in maximizing their profits, but at least they'll do it in a way to get the vegetarians to keep shopping there. That might be the case, it might not be, but truth of the matter I would go out of my way to support Whole Foods if they took honest steps to become a completely vegetarian store, and I know many other vegetarians who would as well.

As it is now I don't shop there and I'm not going to go out of my way to support them, but something as awesome as not selling any meat products for food would get me to be a strong supporter. I hope the day will come where something like that will happen.


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#20 Old 09-19-2018, 04:15 AM
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nice post, i also know very well how to stop to eat the meat foods.
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