Costco Wholesale announced yesterday that it would no longer buy veal from farms that use a crate-and-chain production method. The announcement came on the heels of MFA's release to the public of investigative findings at a Buckeye Veal farm in Ohio. An MFA undercover investigator obtained footage of months-old calves chained by their necks in crates so narrow the animals were unable to turn around, walk, lie down comfortably or engage in other basic natural behaviors.
Costco stated that the company had not known about Buckeye's cruel production methods until viewing MFA's undercover video. Jeff Lyons, Costco's senior vice president of fresh foods, added that Costco employees had never seen calves chained in crates on their farm visits.
Atlantic Veal and Lamb, Costco's sole veal supplier, which buys from Buckeye Veal and over 100 other veal farms, told Lyons that chaining calves in narrow crates is considered acceptable industry practice. Lyons harshly condemned the practice, stating, "We're telling them flat-out that it's not acceptable to us, and we will not accept any veal from those farms, period...[W]e just don't think that's the way to treat an animal."
Costco has adopted a new veal policy that requires, among other things, that calves not be tethered, that their stalls be large enough to move around and lie down, and that there be at least two calves to a stall.
Meanwhile, Giant Eagle, another grocery chain caught selling veal from the facility investigated by MFA, has failed to take any action, or even issue a public statement on the matter. Please click here to contact Giant Eagle and to urge them to address this important issue by removing veal from their store shelves.
While Costco's announcement can be viewed (literally) as a small step forward, it's important for consumers to know that crate-free doesn't mean cruelty-free. The most compassionate choice consumers, and retailers, can make is to reject all veal. Click here for information on adopting a vegan diet.
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