PETA Becomes Whole Foods’ Latest Shareholder

The animal-rights organization buys stock to challenge the organic grocer’s claims of “humane meat.”


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On Wednesday, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) purchased 115 shares—$4,000 worth—of Whole Foods Market stock to confront the organic grocer’s “humane meat” claims. PETA’s goal is to have Whole Foods remove terms such as “humane,” “humanely raised,” and “raised with care” from its marketing materials. This move comes after the animal-rights organization released undercover footage documenting poor treatment of pigs at a Whole Foods pork supplier. Lack of veterinary care, overcrowding, abuse, and keeping the pigs primarily indoors were just some of the contradictions of the grocer’s “5-Step Welfare System” that PETA found in its investigation. “PETA’s exposé revealed that pigs were lame, crowded into sheds with concrete floors, and denied the lush green grass that they can see but never set foot on,” PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman said. “As PETA works outside the company to remind everyone that the only truly humane meal is a vegan one, we’ll be working from the inside to demand an end to Whole Foods’ lies.” After the animal-rights organization released the footage, they filed a lawsuit in a California court asserting that the “humane” marketing claims violate the state’s consumer protection laws by charging higher prices for meat that is raised similarly to conventional meat. However, not all animal-rights groups shared PETA’s criticism of Whole Foods. Last month, Humane Society of the United States president Wayne Pacelle came to Whole Foods’ defense, saying, “Not one (grocery store) has done as much as Whole Foods has to promote more plant-based eating and to advance farm-animal welfare and fight factory farming in very practical terms.”