Friday, May 22, 2015

Walmart (yawn) pedges changes

Walmart and Sam’s Club in the United States announced today that they have adopted new positions around animal welfare and antibiotics in farm animals.

But it seems to be more bluster than real change because it is basically asking farmers to keep records about what they do and to “adopt and implement” the antibiotics recommendations of the American Veterinary Medical Association and not use “medically important” antibiotics.

That’s already being done on most progressive farms, including the vast majority of Canadian farmers who have implemented protocols developed by their marketing associations and commodity organizations.

“Walmart is committed to selling products that sustain people and the environment,” said Kathleen McLaughlin, president of the Walmart Foundation and senior vice president of Walmart sustainability.

“We have listened to our customers, and are asking our suppliers to engage in improved reporting standards and transparency measures regarding the treatment of farm animals.”

Walmart wants its farm suppliers to “publicly report antibiotic use on an annual basis.”

It’s not clear how it can enforce those requirements because it rarely buys any meat or poultry products directly from farmers. 

 “Our customers want to know more about how their food is grown and raised and where it comes from.

“As the nation’s largest grocer, Walmart is committed to using our strengths to drive transparency and improvement across the supply chain,” McLaughlin said.

“We believe it’s important to promote transparency in this process, helping to put our customers in charge of their food choices by providing clear, accurate information about food ingredients. 

"We appreciate the leadership our suppliers have shown to help us accomplish these goals.”

I don't see anything about animal welfare in its publicity. It is, in short, much ado about very little and by inference, it casts stones on the livestock and poultry industry. As may mother often said, " people in glass houses should not throw stones."