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Costco Wholesale Corp. blasted a veal producer’s treatment of calves after seeing footage shot by an animal rights group.
The group, Mercy for Animals, released video footage this week that it said was taken by hidden recorders at Buckeye Veal Farm in Apple Creek, Ohio, that shows calves chained inside small stalls where they are unable to lie down or turn around and are covered in feces. Several states prohibit confining calves in such crates, though Ohio does not.
After being made aware of the video showing some young animals being mistreated, Jim Sinegal, CEO of Costco, said in a statement that the Issaquah, Wash.-based club store operator “had not been aware of the issue before we saw the video. We are extremely disappointed, not only with the performance of our supplier in this instance, but with our own performance as well. We hold ourselves to a high standard, and in this case, we plainly did not perform to that standard."
Costco is in the process of developing a more definitive written policy to make clear its long-standing position that any type of cruel treatment of animals is unacceptable, according to a statement, which went on to say that its suppliers are aware that it “insists upon ethical treatment of all animals involved in producing products for sale in its warehouses, without exception. The company has an inspection program to ensure that its suppliers are in compliance with its standards, but in this case that inspection program did not uncover the problem. Costco takes full responsibility for this error. It will increase its vigilance in the future to see that its policies are adhered to by all of Costco's suppliers.”
Costco currently operates 572 warehouses, including 416 in the United States and Puerto Rico, 79 in Canada, 22 in the United Kingdom, seven in Korea, six in Taiwan, nine in Japan, one in Australia and 32 in Mexico.