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ARCHIVE - Ask Kroger To Audit Its Factory Farms

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David B. Dillon, Chair and CEO
The Kroger Company
1014 Vine St.
Cincinnati, OH 45202-1100
ph: 513-762-4000 or 1-866-221-4141; fax: 513-762-1160
customer comments form: customercomments.htm

Dear Mr. Dillon,

The Kroger Company has an opportunity to make a difference for billions of farmed animals and the consumers who care about how they are treated. However, I understand Kroger has promised to adopt animal welfare standards without actually rejecting any routine abuses.

At the very least, Kroger ought to acknowledge the growing consumer base concerned about cruelty on factory farms. I will not patronize your stores until visible strides are made to prevent animal suffering on all contract farms.

Modern livestock farms process animals assembly-line style in artificial settings that call for antibiotics, chemicals, hormones and steroids to keep animals alive. Hog farms warehouse 600-pound sows in gestation stalls for a motionless life atop cement and excrement. At veal factories tiny calves are chained by the neck inside two-feet wide crates, unable to move.

Egg producers pack eight to nine hens into 48 to 64 sq. inch wire coops. Each bird occupies a space the size of a folded newspaper. Many U.S. egg factories also starve birds in 10-14 day cycles (forced molting) to bolster egg output. Meat- yielding chickens and turkeys are overcrowded inside windowless storehouses saturated with ammonia fumes. To curtail fighting and cannibalism, workers amputate the bottom third of each bird's beak.

Other standard practices include slicing off an animal's tail, toe or horns without anesthesia. By the time sick and maimed animals reach the kill floor, many are clinging to life-some more tenaciously than others. Presumably dead pigs, slung upside down by their hooves, wiggle and sway as they move toward the gutting team. “If a few left the kill floor still aware, still kicking, well that was how the slaughterhouse operated,” Los Angeles Times reporter Stephanie Simon wrote in “Killing Them Softly.”

Veteran slaughterhouse inspector Temple Grandin has observed defective stunning devices and incompetent or insufficient staff at two-thirds of the processing plants surveyed. Sadly, animals' throats are commonly slit as they remain conscious.

I strongly encourage you to work with PETA on instituting an “Animal Care Standards” policy for all Kroger stores. Please be accountable for the food on your shelves by conducting audits of all livestock suppliers.

As one of the nation's top grocery retailers, Kroger can take the lead in basic improvements for farmed animals. I look forward to your response.

Thank you,

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