In a market awash with vague and misguiding advertising regarding the treatment of animals raised for slaughter, Whole Foods’ proposed GAP Program is a breath of fresh air. Whole Foods announced that it will rate food items that use animal products on a 5-step scale, established by the Global Animal Partnership, indicating the specific conditions which the animals were subjected to. The scale serves dual purposes: it provides consumers with the information which they require to make informed decisions that satisfy their ethical concerns and it also allows companies to sell their products at a premium that accurately reflects the treatment which they provide for their animals.
By establishing this rating system, Whole Foods is proactively addressing the problems posed by the shifting and ill-explained “organic” standards that are set by the Department of Agriculture. The “Organic” standards paints with too broad a brush and does not address the different standards of animal treatment that exist within the industry. The government has lagged behind the market in defining animal welfare standards for meat, poultry and dairy products. Hopefully, by establishing a well-defined and concise set of standards which the consumer can trust and easily comprehend, Whole Foods has used its significant market influence to reset the bar for the Department of Agriculture and will encourage them to follow suit, despite the Department of Agriculture’s recent and hard-fought alteration of the “organic” standard.
Filed under: animal advocacy, animal ethics, animal law Tagged: | animal advocacy, animal ethics, animal law, animal product rating, animal suffering, animal welfare, diet, farmed animals, GAP Program, industrial farming, USDA, Whole Foods