Sunday, June 04, 2006

Why Whole Foods Rules

During his interview with Whole Foods founder, John Mackey, on 60 Minutes tonight, Dan Rather discussed the company's "Animal Compassion Standards." Such standards, which the company has implemented since its founding in 1980, entail the requirement that all of the company's animal product suppliers practice humane treatment of their animals (e.g., allow free-range grazing, minimize confinement periods, and shun the grotesque factory-farm practices of over-crowding and the administration of steroids and growth hormones). I particulary like this exchange:
Dan Rather: "In the end, what difference does it make whether you have a happy lobster or not? If the lobster's gonna be eventually dropped into boiling water, he's gonna be a dead lobster and it doesn't much matter."
John Mackey: "Oh, Dan, are you gonna die someday?"
DR: "You Bet."
JR: "Does the quality of your life not matter then? Since you're gonna eventually die? Get dropped in your own pot? At the end of the day, the quality of life is all we have, and it's just as important to that lobster, the quality of life that it lives - even if it's not as long - as the quality of your life."
Good stuff. I cannot agree more. I have a genius-friend in San Diego (a happy carnivore to boot) who insists that at some point in the near future, our ancestors will surely look back on our civilization as one inhabited by barbarians based upon our treatment of our furry and feathered friends. You said it, man.
For more bokononist insights on this topic, see here.