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NORFOLK, Va. - PETA last week declared a moratorium on its boycott of Safeway, saying the retailer has agreed to its demands to implement new minimum standards of animal welfare. The animal-rights group said Albertson's and Kroger will be its next targets.
PETA pressured Safeway by holding more than 100 demonstrations in all 20 states and four Canadian provinces where the company and its subsidiaries operate.
The announcement makes Safeway the first grocery chain in U.S. history to publicly pledge to hold suppliers accountable for slaughterhouse standards, and follows similar agreements made by fast-food chains McDonald's, Burger King, and Wendy's.
According to a press release issued by PETA, the agreement with Safeway includes:
- Immediate implementation of unannounced audits of Seaboard Farms in Oklahoma, a major supplier of pig meat, where a PETA undercover investigator videotaped screaming pigs being beaten, bludgeoned, and slammed to the floor. Safeway has pledged to cut off suppliers that fail audits.
- Implementation within six to 18 months of soon-to-be-released guidelines from the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), which are expected to include unannounced inspections of slaughterhouses, animal-handling verification guidelines, increased cage space for laying hens, humane handling procedures for chickens in slaughterhouses, and refusal to buy from suppliers that starve chickens in order to induce an extra laying cycle.
PETA had planned to read a letter from actor Richard Pryor at the company's annual meeting last week in San Ramon, Calif., criticizing the company's intransigence. Instead, PETA said it would praise Safeway's decision makers for the pledge.
"We still feel that every package of chicken parts and pork chops in the supermarket represents animals' being hurt and killed, but Safeway's new pledge takes a bite out of the worst cruelties. Now, we're turning our attention to Safeway's top competitors, Kroger and Albertson's," says PETA Vegan Campaign Director Bruce Friedrich.