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AUSTIN, Texas - Whole Foods Market will announce today that it is adopting humane animal treatment standards, becoming the first supermarket chain to do so.
According to a report in today's editions of USA Today, the move follows nearly two years of intense pressure from two animal rights groups that have previously persuaded the fast-food giants, including McDonald's and Burger King, to improve standards.
According to a recent Gallup Poll, an overwhelming 96 percent of Americans say animals deserve "some" protection from harm and exploitation. Whole Foods will allow an independent third party to be named to audit its changes.
John Mackey, Whole Foods' c.e.o., insists the move was neither motivated by a desire to be politically correct, nor the result of outside pressure.
"Whole Foods does not respond to coercion," he said in a statement. "We re-examined (activists') claims and decided they were basically right."
Meat prices may have to rise slightly at Whole Foods as a result, but the chain will clearly communicate to consumers why.
According to USA Today, Mackey himself recently shifted from being a conventional vegetarian to a vegan who abstains from all foods with animal byproducts. "I came across an argument I could not refuse: Eating animals causes pain and suffering to the animals."