The grocery chain made headlines this year when it implemented a new animal welfare rating system for its meats and other livestock products. While Whole Foods has long had its own set of animal compassion standards, officials say they will eventually require all their meat suppliers to comply with the new, more stringent rating system. And they helped launch a third-party group, the nonprofit Global Animal Partnership — which includes retailers, farmers, ranchers, scientists and animal advocates — in the hopes that other grocers will adopt the same standards.
There is no doubt that Whole Foods has the clout to dictate the growing conditions for its vendors. The question is will the rest of the industry follow?