Costco Looking Into Veal Supplier’s Practices

September 8th, 2010 · 1 Comment

Some US Costco locations sell veal, mostly along the East Coast, and that veal is supplied by Atlantic Veal and Lamb of New York, which buys meat from multiple farms, including Buckeye Farms from Apple Creek, Ohio.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like Buckeye Farms is living up to anyone’s ideals of how veal calves should be raised.  So, Costco is investigating the matter and taking responsibility for the possible lapse in their animal treatment standards.

The animal rights group, Mercy for Animals has recently released some video taken at Buckeye Farms that depicts the horrendous conditions in which they are raising their veal calves.  It’s horrible: calves chained inside small stalls where they are unable to lie down or turn around and are covered in feces.  Apparently, it isn’t against state regulations in Ohio to raise veal calves in crates, though it is prohibited in several other states, so while they might not be doing anything illegal in their state, it is still very cruel.  The current industry standard for raising veal calves is in group pens where they have more freedom of movement. [Personally, I don’t know if the group pens are any better, but I’m thinking they certainly couldn’t be worse.]  Costco was not aware of the cruelty issue until it saw the video and said the company had inspected other Buckeye farms where it did not see such treatment but they are still taking full responsibility for the situation.  As a result, Costco is now investigating the treatment of animals at Buckeye Farms.

“We are extremely disappointed, not only with the performance of our supplier in this instance, but with our own performance as well,” Jim Sinegal, Costco CEO, said in a statement. “We hold ourselves to a high standard, and in this case, we plainly did not perform to that standard.”

Buckeye Farms claims that none of the mistreatment shown in the video is actually occurring at their farms, but it also says that the footage shows calves in two of its facilities that are in the process of being converted to group pens.  Those two statements seem to contradict each other though, to me.

Costco said veal is not one of its more popular products and only about half of its clubs offer veal, largely along the East Coast. Costco is working with Buckeye Farms to gather more information and will carry the product until the investigation is complete.

Jeff Lyons, Costco’s vice president of fresh foods, said if its supplier can’t assure the company that all its veal is raised in conditions that meet its standards it will discontinue carrying the meat.”We are going to do the right thing, that is the model of our company,” he said. “If it can’t be done properly … no one wants to stand for that.”

Mercy for Animals is using video to pressure the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board to approve legislation phasing out use of “veal crates” by 2017.

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1 Response so far ↓

  1. 1 Emily (Bentobloggy) // 2010.09.08 at 7:37 pm

    That’s horrible =(

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