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Whole Foods New Animal Welfare Label

Whole Foods, Austin, Texas

Last week, Whole Foods announced that it was going to be participating in Global Animal Partnership’s (GAP) animal welfare certification. The GAP certification rates animal products based on steps that producers can take to ensure that their animals are living humane lives, such as enhanced access to pasture.

Lane Jost did an excellent Q&A with Whole Foods’ global animal production and welfare coordinator over at our sister site, The Inspired Economist. It’s definitely worth checking out.

While I’m glad to see Whole Foods taking animal welfare more seriously, you do have to wonder: is there really such a thing as humane meat? One way to be absolutely certain that your food is cruelty free is to ditch the meat all together! Want to learn more? Check out our Eating Vegan column for tips and recipes.

Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by austins_only_paper

5 comments
  1. Jenn the Greenmom

    Ooh, thank you for this! I discovered this system the other day when I was shopping, and I’m very very pleased that they are instituting this practice. (And I hope that other stores will do the same.)

    One of the things I appreciate most is that if they can’t find meat that at least meets their lowest level of acceptability, they just won’t sell pork that week, or that month, or until they find someone who meets at least some of the standards. And I also appreciated talking to the woman who said, “Well, our chickens are level 2 now” (not the most humane but still marginally better than other supermarket meat) “but we are talking with a supplier who may be able to get us to level 4…” –I love that even the store (mine, anyway) is using the system themselves to try to improve their own sales, not just for some fringy customers’ information, you know?

    And yeah, you’re right…questions of “humane” when you’re talking about an animal you’re going to kill and eat may sound a little…weird. But on the other hand, at least people are beginning to think and ask the questions. (I’m not fully veggie yet; I still buy and eat meat a couple of times a week. But we’re heading in the right direction…)

    Thanks for this!

  2. Catherine

    Seems upon further investigation that it’s not accurate to say they “adopted” GAP like it was some separate thing…when looks like WFM started GAP. John Mackey is on the board of GAP and funded its start up with his bonus money acording to an article I found. I found the entire system confusing…why are they making it harder to figure otu?

  3. talmis

    I found this new labeling system in Wholefoods a few days ago. I think is a great thing but I am wondering why in the world suddenly we have everything with the welfare level but none of the meat (chicken, beef…etc) did not have any indication of USDA organic or similar…..

    I think animal welfare labels are fantastic but I am also concern about what these animals eat and pass to us in our diet….I left wholefoods the other day without buying any meat and I will not buy meat there again until I see the organic labels back…..

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