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The Austin American-Statesman reports on a speech given by Whole Foods CEO John Mackey to the American Grassfed Association, a Denver-based group that emphasizes raising livestock that is free of antibiotics and hormones. In the speech, Mackey spoke about the company’s new animal welfare standards program.

According to the paper, “Mackey said people have a romanticized image of the American farm. But in reality, he said, the typical large livestock farm often fails to live up to the image. He then played snippets of a film (narrated by someone who sounded like Alec Baldwin) that chronicled horrific conditions: pigs freezing to death before arriving at a slaughterhouse; pigs burning to death; crippled cows herded into a slaughterhouse as blood drips from their nostrils.

“Mackey, a vegan, said the gruesome scene goes to show why Whole Foods is developing a system of labeling meat products. The new system, now in place at its flagship London store, aims to inform consumers about how animals are treated. He also emphasized efforts by Whole Foods to promote local farming, such as the loans it has issued to farmers in Texas, and the farmers’ markets it has helped start across the country.”
KC's View:
Not sure what would be worse – seeing that film clip before or after lunch.

The larger point, though, is a good one – that customers are likely to be demanding a greater level of transparency from retailers and suppliers, and that it makes sense – economically and ethically – to put those systems into place now.