Open Letter to Whole Foods

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Open Letter to Whole Foods

Postby TarekF » Tue Sep 04, 2012 6:42 pm

Historian and vegan activist James McWilliams has written an open letter to the Whole Foods chain (in the US) requesting that they get rid of the meat sections in their stores.

Here is the letter http://james-mcwilliams.com/?p=2116

In the comments he provides the email of someone to contact <Beth.Krauss@wholefoods.com>.

For people who live near whole foods and shop there please write in support of this.
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Re: Open Letter to Whole Foods

Postby Fallen_Horse » Tue Sep 04, 2012 9:20 pm

Hmm, this is a good platform for a debate about animal welfare versus animal rights. If Whole Foods doesn't provide organic and free range meat, more people will simply go back to conventional factory farm meat. I, for one, would much rather have Walmart switch to organic meat instead of Whole Foods getting rid of meat.

The argument is pointless anyway because both companies won't do anything that would hurt their profit margins so drastically. :-\
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Re: Open Letter to Whole Foods

Postby Lordmuppet » Tue Sep 04, 2012 9:42 pm

isn't the CEO or something vegan?

edited to say yeah he is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Mackey_(businessman)
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Re: Open Letter to Whole Foods

Postby beforewisdom » Wed Sep 05, 2012 12:51 pm

He started off as an omnivore, then as the CEO of Whole Foods an AR activist challenged him to read some books and he decided to be a vegan or at least a plant based dieter on his own. Macke was also caught trolling a web board under an alias talking trash about a competitor to drive down their stock value.

Macke has been asked in interviews why he doesn't make Whole Foods go vegan. He said that a CEO isn't a king, that he answers to investors and that he has an obligation to keep the business afloat.

I don't like his reasoning, but I can understand it.

I worked my way through gradschool in a food co-op which got most of its revenue from selling sandwiches at lunch time. We experimented with offering mock meats, which never did well. We also experimented with no-meat days and experienced a huge drop in business. I personally worked those days and saw people just leave after waiting in line rather than trying something else. These were people in their 20s, liberal college faculty and people fine with going to a very crunch alternative place to eat.

The co-op in my current city also experienced similar things. Their business was always on edge as a vegetarian co-op and customers complained for years how they would have to do their shopping at multiple stores since the co-op didn't offer them meat as well as some miscellaneous items. that a supermarket did.

Eventually, the vegetarian board members left, the co-op voted to carry meat and a few products which were not healthy, progressive. The business stabilized and flourished.


I don't think there are enough vegans, vegetarians, plant based eaters and flexitarians to support a vegan Whole Foods.

Which I hate, but I think that is what the reality is.
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Re: Open Letter to Whole Foods

Postby loveliberate » Wed Sep 05, 2012 1:34 pm

I'm sadly forced to agree...

That said, if there is a place where a vegan whole foods can do well, it is likely here in Portland. As it stands, we have a vegan grocery (fairly small) and a vegetarian co-op. Both are doing pretty well it seems. Once upon a time WF had a large scale competitor: Wild Oats. WO had a vegetarian store in Boulder, Colorado (maybe their original store?) that I believe was doing quite well. This was at least 10-15 years back...
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Re: Open Letter to Whole Foods

Postby beforewisdom » Wed Sep 05, 2012 4:56 pm

My area has a food collective that is all vegetarian, but it can do that since it is very small, like an old fashioned grocery store and serves a steady, alternative community.

My opinion is that the customer base of Whole Foods are not people seriously into saving the planet or even their health. They are into buying better quality, trendy, higher priced food while feeling like they are doing those things. I've heard so many go on about how they go to Whole Foods specifically for the higher quality meats.
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Re: Open Letter to Whole Foods

Postby loveliberate » Wed Sep 05, 2012 11:54 pm

In my opinion, the youtube video: "Whole Foods Parking Lot" says all that needs to be said. ;-p
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Re: Open Letter to Whole Foods

Postby Hiking Fox » Sat Sep 08, 2012 8:32 pm

[quote="Fallen_Horse"] If Whole Foods doesn't provide organic and free range meat, more people will simply go back to conventional factory farm meat. I, for one, would much rather have Walmart switch to organic meat instead of Whole Foods getting rid of meat.


I disagree because:

a. In my experience, people who buy organic meat won't touch conventional (i.e. factory farmed) meat because they've made an active choice to avoid hormones/growth promoters/other nasties and will buy vegetarian products if they can't get organic meat, and

b. Organic meat is only very slightly less cruel than factory farmed meat. The last time I looked into it, Soil Association standards allowed 6 sqm per adult pig in an organic unit. Given the size of pigs, this is a tiny amount of space. Ditto free range chickens, etc. If we promote the myth that organic means significantly more humane, it only weakens the argument for animal rights and delays change in ethically-motivated people.

Whole Foods could be a vegetarian supermarket, or one that sells a small amount of meat. If they're expanding their meat range, this is a step to oppose.
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Re: Open Letter to Whole Foods

Postby Fallen_Horse » Mon Sep 10, 2012 12:29 am

Whole Foods has a 'humane score' to all the meat they sell, from 1 to 5+. I would be very happy if they would just stop selling 1-4 and only go with 5 and 5+ meats, but that's also something that would cost them (and the consumer) too much money.

Let me say this for the benefit of the group. 90% of the population today will NEVER give up meat, so the best we can do is to get them to eat less meat and more humane meat, and then wait for those people to grow old and die. Harsh, but there it is.

WF will continue to sell meat for as long as it is profitable, which will be for many more years. And I would rather have those animals treated well before they are killed rather than treated poorly. 'Humane' meat is a lesser evil than inhumane meat.
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Re: Open Letter to Whole Foods

Postby XkillerX » Thu Sep 20, 2012 2:48 pm

Did you just read what Hiking fox wrote about organic and humane meat?

Besides, there aren't enough "idyllic" places in the world to feed 1 million people with *proper* "humane"/"organic" meat (either way sounds disgusting to me), let alone 7 billion.

The keyword is EDUCATION.

Yes, it is a huge problem if, say, 500 million north americans refuse to give up meat.

But how huge of a problem will we get if 3+ billion asians decide that they had it with their traditional (mostly vegan) diet, and want to eat the "new", "american" way.

Unless they get some serious education really fast about the end of the world etc that will result from their switch, this planet is screwed.
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Re: Open Letter to Whole Foods

Postby loveliberate » Thu Sep 20, 2012 2:56 pm

We *are* probably screwed. That said, we have to keep trying & I could definitely see a rapid shift to most people eating at least a lot less meat than they had been.
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Re: Open Letter to Whole Foods

Postby XkillerX » Thu Sep 20, 2012 3:14 pm

[quote="beforewisdom"]I worked my way through gradschool in a food co-op which got most of its revenue from selling sandwiches at lunch time. We experimented with offering mock meats, which never did well. We also experimented with no-meat days and experienced a huge drop in business. I personally worked those days and saw people just leave after waiting in line rather than trying something else. These were people in their 20s, liberal college faculty and people fine with going to a very crunch alternative place to eat.


I see this more and more as a problem and like always "cultism" is to blame. Deathatarians will never be seen as a cult because of their overwhelming majority, but if you look at their behaviour and refusal to even try anything out of the ordinary, it is very cultist indeed. On the other hand, most vegheads try to stick together into something that to me seems more of a "support group" than an organised effort to actually educate others and make a difference. This is especially closely related to people who tend to get attracted to veg*ism (ESPECIALLY RAWFOODISM. YES I AM TALKING ABOUT YOU.) because they are nutters and find it a convenient opportunity to further exercise their psychological problems/disorders (mostly eating disorders, but there are plenty of other nutcases as well). Thus, doing the exact opposite = exact equal behaviour of the afotermentioned cultish deathatarians = NO CHANGE.

What it all boils down to is, I guess, diving straight into the layers of the deathatarian cultists and slapping some common sense into them. You can practise this at your local falafel place where 99% they sell tons of meat. Next time the workers propose a delicious falafel, but the customers hesitate "because they want meat and never ate, wtf, chickpeas in their life", just cut their drama short and let them know they need to try it because it's the blood of jeebus reincarnated and they need to stop being such squares and try something different.
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Re: Open Letter to Whole Foods

Postby Hiking Fox » Thu Sep 20, 2012 5:38 pm

[quote="Fallen_Horse"] And I would rather have those animals treated well before they are killed rather than treated poorly.


This is a myth. Organically-reared animals are not treated "well", they are units if production in the same way as animals reared in more intensive ways. They are crowded together, loaded onto trucks, driven long distances and killed at a very young age by being hung upside down and having their throats slit.

The fact that there are tight controls over what they are fed and medicated with and have slightly more space is of little consequence. I turned vegan after working on organic sheep and egg farms and realising just how cruel they were.

Why are many vegan and animal activists doing such a good marketing job for this shameful slave industry?

[quote] 'Humane' meat is a lesser evil than inhumane meat.


Only marginally, and the people who buy it aren't usually the same ones who buy non-organic meat, they're statistically more likely to be ex-vegetarians. So the growth in organic meat has not spared animals suffering.

If it is too radical to some activists to promote a totally vegan diet to everybody, then a logical and much more effective step is to urge people to consume fewer animal products.
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Re: Open Letter to Whole Foods

Postby XkillerX » Thu Sep 20, 2012 6:34 pm

also, could a US resident bring me up to speed on the price comparison between meat and 'not-meat'.

For a while now the price of meat has been steadily rising here, one would think the tofu/tempeh/seitan makers would seize the day and increase marketing and lower prices to convince more and more financially challanged people to make the switch.

Sadly that has not happened here and if one thing is for sure, it's that no matter how expensive meat got , 'not-meat' has gotten even more expensive compared to anything.
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Re: Open Letter to Whole Foods

Postby Fallen_Horse » Fri Sep 21, 2012 3:35 am

[quote="Hiking Fox"][quote="Fallen_Horse"] And I would rather have those animals treated well before they are killed rather than treated poorly.


This is a myth. Organically-reared animals are not treated "well", they are units if production in the same way as animals reared in more intensive ways. They are crowded together, loaded onto trucks, driven long distances and killed at a very young age by being hung upside down and having their throats slit.

The fact that there are tight controls over what they are fed and medicated with and have slightly more space is of little consequence. I turned vegan after working on organic sheep and egg farms and realising just how cruel they were.

Why are many vegan and animal activists doing such a good marketing job for this shameful slave industry?

[quote] 'Humane' meat is a lesser evil than inhumane meat.


Only marginally, and the people who buy it aren't usually the same ones who buy non-organic meat, they're statistically more likely to be ex-vegetarians. So the growth in organic meat has not spared animals suffering.

If it is too radical to some activists to promote a totally vegan diet to everybody, then a logical and much more effective step is to urge people to consume fewer animal products.

I disagree, but I'm not on a vegan forum to argue against veganism so I will leave it at that.
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