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People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), which owns 180 shares in Winn-Dixie, said yesterday it has submitted a shareholder resolution calling on the Jacksonville, Fla.-based grocery chain to report any progress it has made toward adopting animal welfare policies that pertain to the purchase of eggs and pig, chicken, and turkey meat.
In the resolution, PETA claimed that Winn-Dixie lags far behind retailers such as Safeway and Harris Teeter, who have "updated their purchasing practices" to improve animal welfare standards for some animals.
PETA complained that the chickens and turkeys that Winn-Dixie purchases are conscious when their limbs are broken (which often happens), and their throats are cut during slaughter. It also said that the grocer buys eggs from suppliers who cram hens together into cages, and buys pig meat from factory farms where pregnant sows are kept virtually immobilized for months at a time.
Winn-Dixie responded in a statement saying, "We are aware of the press release that PETA has issued and are committed to supporting good animal welfare practices."
Since being targeted by PETA, Safeway and Harris Teeter have enacted policies to increase the amount of cage-free eggs that they purchase, the number of birds that they purchase from suppliers that use a "less cruel" form of slaughter called controlled-atmosphere killing (CAK), and the amount of pig meat that they purchase from suppliers who are phasing out cruel "gestation crates," according to PETA.
"The food industry is finally starting to address the suffering of animals on factory farms, but Winn-Dixie is way behind," said PETA president Ingrid E. Newkirk. "Consumers care about animal welfare, and if Winn-Dixie doesn't keep up with its rivals, shareholders could pay the price in diminishing returns."