SAN FRANCISCO -- Following its successful campaign to get the nation's three largest fast-food restaurant chains to adopt more stringent animal welfare standards, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals directed its efforts toward the supermarket industry, and announced a chainwide boycott of Safeway.
PETA officials charged the retailer has taken no action to ensure that meat and poultry suppliers adhere to humane slaughtering standards.
"We buy meat and poultry from the same mainstream, reputable sources as our competition," Brian Dowling, Safeway's vice president for public affairs, told SN. "We routinely visit the facilities to ensure they're meeting standards."
The nation's fourth-largest retailer was chosen because "we have extensive undercover [video] footage of Safeway's suppliers engaged in abusive animal practices," said Bruce Friedrich, spokesman for the animal-rights group.
In announcing the protest, PETA broadcast an undercover video depicting hogs being shot and beaten by workers at a facility operated by Seaboard Farms, a Safeway supplier. The video led to the arrest of the farm manager last year, and Dowling said Safeway was satisfied by the processor's actions following the incident.
"We believe it was an isolated incident," he said. "We talked to the supplier, they addressed the issue, took corrective action and we're happy with the result."
Using similar tactics in the past year, PETA won pledges from McDonald's, Burger King and Wendy's to adopt stricter guidelines.