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Whole Foods stops selling live lobsters


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"Whole Foods stops selling live lobsters"

The Austin, Texas-based company said continuing the sale of live lobsters was inconsistent with its commitment to the humane treatment and quality of life for animals. It said many lobsters are held in storage facilities for several months.

"We believe it is too difficult to maintain consistent conditions throughout the entire supply chain to ensure the health and well-being of lobsters outside their natural environment for such a long period of time," said Margaret Wittenberg, the company's vice president of quality standards.

Will frozen lobsters make do as a substitute?

As discussed previously, apparently selling dead animals doesn't seem to bother Whole Foods. It's the live ones that they have problems with.

The cynic in me says this is all a ruse so they don't have to go through the expense of having sea water tanks in every store for live crustaceans. :hmmm:

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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From what I understand, the lobsters that are used to produce the frozen lobster tails have a much more horrific end than those sold live to be killed by the consumer at home.

I like Whole Foods. I shop there, and admire what they do. However, if they are so concerned with the killing and ethical treatment of animals, why do they sell meat at all? Are they absolutely certain that every single morsel of flesh they sell has been raised humanely and killed humanely? I doubt it. I doubt it highly.

-Sounds awfully rich!

-It is! That's why I serve it with ice cream to cut the sweetness!

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When a couple of friends told me they agreed with Whole Foods' strong-arming of Grimaud Farms because they thought foie gras was cruel, I warned them that this decision would be a slippery slope. It didn't take Whole Foods long to prove me right. While I support any private business' right to sell or not sell whatever it wishes (though not to dictate to other businesses what they may or may not sell), I hope I don't have to point out the hypocrisy of this new policy as long as Whole Foods is still selling any animal products whatsoever. Apparently it's OK, though, as long as Whole Foods doesn't have to see the animals alive first.

I miss my Three Korn bread. I miss my buffalo steaks and free-range chicken. I miss my tempeh, which, incredibly, I've not been able to find anywhere else in New Orleans, even the giant Asian supermarket. I miss the beautiful selection of fruits and vegetables. I really miss the wonderful array of butters and cheeses. Even so, I feel more certain than ever that I will never spend another penny at this silly, wingnut-pandering, hypocritical, frequently overpriced chain.

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Ding! Ding! Ding!

docbrite has it right. Here in Austin we get Whole Foods shoved up our noses (usually by a granola-stoned-pierced-I-hate-my-parents-chick), so much so, that many simply don't shop there. A lot choose Central Market, owned by HEB, or Fiesta Market where you can get a live chicken's neck rung right in front of you...

Edited by BigboyDan (log)
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Whole Foods really does a huge variety of great foods, but it's just way too pricey.

Bamboo rolling mat:

Whole Foods / Wild Oats: $17

Asian Markets: $2

Bamboo cutting board:

WF/WO: $22

WalMart: $10

I don't shop at Whole Foods, but I occasionally stop by on the weekend to eat up on free samples ;P. I also don't care for the ultra-yuppie clientele.

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If you're going to treat a lobster humanely, you shouldn't keep him a water tank at all. You should give him a comfy chair, a decent job for fair wages and affordable health care.

I blame Disney.

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If you're going to treat a lobster humanely, you shouldn't keep him a water tank at all. You should give him a comfy chair, a decent job for fair wages and affordable health care.

I blame Disney.

Trust me, Disney is to blame for all things messed up here in Orlando. It is hard to run a restaurant where people demand to be treated like they are at Disney ("Yes Ma'am, you sure can have ketchup for your foie gras kobe burger topped with shredded duck confit and chanterelle mushrooms. Do you want Heinze or Hunts?")

And give me a break. Lobsters are dumb. Almost as dumb as cows. That's why we eat them. From what I have read, they have no real nervous system, they don't know what is going on. They were put on this earth solely to eat shrimp and squid, and for us to eat them. Lovely, I say!! :laugh:

Tonyy13

Owner, Big Wheel Provisions

tony_adams@mac.com

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I occaisionally drive more than a hundred miles, round trip to shop at Whole Foods because they have a great variety of items that just are not available to me in my rural area. I have bought soft shell crabs there (Providence, RI and Framingham, MA) on quite a few occaisions. Once any plant or animal has been ripped from it's normal environment, it has got to be stressful on that particular item, but what is WF suggesting here? Should the lobsters be shipped in tank trucks filled with water from the lagoon from which they were trapped and that recorded sounds from that area be played through hydrophones to keep them comfortable? Maybe when we spend all that money on them we should have the option to have them returned to the point of capture because we changed our minds. My guess is that those two items (lobsters and softshell crabs) are just so perishable that they are taking to the high ground to justify getting rid of the headache of stocking them.

We, here at Supermarket X, will no longer sell Raid products because our research has indicated that it is stressful to ants.

Cheers,

HC

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docbrite has it right. Here in Austin we get Whole Foods shoved up our noses (usually by a granola-stoned-pierced-I-hate-my-parents-chick), so much so, that many simply don't shop there. A lot choose Central Market, owned by HEB, or Fiesta Market where you can get a live chicken's neck rung right in front of you...

I feel the same way.

I am boycotting Whole Foods now. They have really gone too far. Not that I shopped there often to begin with. Central Market for life!

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Whole Foods in our area was selling Dungeness crabs. Will they go, too?

"Last week Uncle Vinnie came over from Sicily and we took him to the Olive Garden. The next day the family car exploded."

--Nick DePaolo

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I think HungryChris has the right idea on real reason behind Whole Foods elimination of crabs and lobster..too hard to handle and, maybe also, not enough customers for those to justify expense and hassle.

But what about clams, oysters and mussels? They are alive - they'd better be - until eaten and they have feelings too.

As for selling only cooked lobster and crab products as Whole Foods says it will do, how do they think those lobsters were treated before they were cooked and did whoever cook them have teams of workers who pierced each lobster between the eyes before dropping into scalding steam or water? Retailers who sell fur coats did not do the killing but they are targets of animal rights people just the same..In PETA minds shouldn't that also apply to those who sell cooked lobsters?

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Gee whiz, in 2008 when Whole Foods is supposedly opening here we too can have these

problems to debate...... :wink: a hui hou

"You can't miss with a ham 'n' egger......"

Ervin D. Williams 9/1/1921 - 6/8/2004

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This all smacks of the same stench as the rabid vegetarian wearing leather shoes telling me what I should eat or not to wear fur. Pfft.

I think others have hit the nail on the head. This is a chance to try and look like humanitarian/animal rights heroes when the real issue is an economic one for the store chain.

Which makes me want to boycott their opportunistic hypocritical selves as well...

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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Lobsters and crabs "have some degree of awareness, feeling pain and having the ability to learn," Whole Foods said in a statement.

http://www.nydailynews.com/business/story/...8p-360374c.html

The CEO of Whole Foods is a vegan by the way.

Who cares if they have "some awareness of pain". They are big sea bugs--members of the spider/scorpion/cockroach clan. Do we think about a cockroach's pain when we stomp on it?

And they have the ability to learn! Don't make me laugh! I used to be a lobsterman, and if they are so smart, then how come trap design has not changed in over a hundred years? Because they do not learn! Lots of things get in and out of those traps, like octopi, but not lobsters and crabs.

Anway, if he is such a big vegan, then how does he justify selling meat? Or honey? Or cheese? Or milk?

Edited by scordelia (log)

S. Cue

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The CEO of Whole Foods is a vegan by the way.

No kidding?! That boggles the mind -- that's beyond hypocracy. It's positively delusional. I've seen vegetarians accusing pet-owning meat eaters of cognitive dissonance... This like Jimmy Swaggart running the Mustang Ranch, in full view of the public.

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I remember reading the issue is really that a lobster can spend six months in that awful environment. Maybe if the economic model allowed for a shorter period from catch to table, this wouldn't be such an issue.

I'm not saying I agree or disagreee, but I want to make sure we're talking about the real issue.

Visit beautiful Rancho Gordo!

Twitter @RanchoGordo

"How do you say 'Yum-o' in Swedish? Or is it Swiss? What do they speak in Switzerland?"- Rachel Ray

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Lobsters and crabs "have some degree of awareness, feeling pain and having the ability to learn," Whole Foods said in a statement.

http://www.nydailynews.com/business/story/...8p-360374c.html

I would argue that the preponderance of the best scientific evidence we have on lobsters does not agree with this assertion. See, e.g., this thread.

I remember reading the issue is really that a lobster can spend six months in that awful environment. Maybe if the economic model allowed for a shorter period from catch to table, this wouldn't be such an issue.

I don't know how long they spend in tanks. I would assume that it might, in some circumstances, be as many as six months. However, again, we have to be careful not to anthromorphize here. We're talking about a situation that is not dissimilar from keeping a big box of scorpions or cockroaches. This is to say that what seems like an "awful environment" to you and me, may not be so awful to the lobster.

The one thing I do know about lobsters is that they apparently stop eating once they are in captivity (sorry, I don't have a citation). This places serious limitations on how long lobsters can be kept in tanks prior to finding their way to the table, and the quality if the meat declines the longer the lobsters spend in the tank.

On the other hand, there is no substitute for live lobster. Frozen or cooked and refrigerated is not even an approximation, even to lower quality too-long-in-the-tank lobster. So, what is one to do? If we decide to eliminate lobster tanks, that would be fine with me, I suppose. I'm from New England and I live in NYC. I have plenty of access to short-time-out-ot-the-ocean lobster. But, although they can be found as far south as North Carolina, the range of decent quality Homarus americanus is more or less from here and North (with quality generally increasing in the colder waters of the North) on the East coast only. Eliminate lobster tanks, and Keller's sous vide lobster will only be available at Per Se. None of the fancy California restaurants will be able to serve lobster, lobster will be unknown in the better dining establishments of Chicago. People in Texas will never be able to eat lobster. Etc.

Interestingly, lobster was once known as trash food for the servants. At one time there was a New England law that you could feed your servants lobster only three times a week. Anything more was considered inhumane. It was only with the development of modern transportation (and live tanks) that lobster came to be considered a luxury food.

--

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Interestingly, lobster was once known as trash food for the servants.  At one time there was a New England law that you could feed your servants lobster only three times a week.  Anything more was considered inhumane.  It was only with the development of modern transportation (and live tanks) that lobster came to be considered a luxury food.

There also was a Massachusetts law that prisoners could not be fed lobster more than seven times a week. I have a feeling that prisoners were not getting nice little boiled potatoes and plenty of butter with their lobsters.

But back to the tank issue. If lobsters are not purchased, then they do spend time in a tank at your local grocery store, but on the supplier end, lobsters await their turn to grace your plate in pools and "pounds" which are holding areas, fed by ocean water. The lobsters are banded, but they do not really use the big claws for eating (just fighting and eating eachother) and have lots of fresh ocean water. In this way, suppliers can insure a steady and fresh live lobster supply, even though most fishing is done in the summer.

S. Cue

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There also was a Massachusetts law that prisoners could not be fed lobster more than seven times a week.

As I heard the story, it was Maine. But no matter, since Maine was once part of Massachusetts.

If lobsters are not purchased, then they do spend time in a tank at your local grocery store, but on the supplier end, lobsters await their turn to grace your plate in pools and "pounds" which are holding areas, fed by ocean water.

Not quite so. While that's certainly the case for lobsters you buy along the coast in Maine, few supermarkets or fishmongers buy direct from the pounds. Instead, their purchases come from wholesalers who hold many thousands of lobsters. These are large warehouses, not the pounds you describe.

Here's how John McPhee described it in the opening paragraph of "Out In The Sort", an article about UPS operations which appeared on the April 18, 2005 New Yorker:

In an all but windowless building beside the open ocean in Arichat, Nova Scotia, a million lobsters are generally in residence, each in a private apartment where temperatures are maintained just above the freeze point. In a great high-ceilinged room known as the Dryland Pound, the lobster apartments are in very tall stacks, thirty-four levels high, divided by canyon-like streets. The size of the individual dwellings varies according to the size of the, inhabitants . . . . The cold water comes down from above and, in a patented way, circulates through the apartments as if they were a series of descending Moorish pools. Beguiled into thinking it is always winter, the lobsters remain hard, do not molt when summer comes, and may repose in Arichat for half a year before departing for Kentucky.

i have no objection to this system, though for matters of taste I generally limit my lobster consumption to my visits to Maine and Canada. So, on a personal level I really don't care whether or WF carries lobsters. And they certainly have the right to carry or not carry any product line they desire. But I do object to their making a moral stink about it, for all the reasons previous posters have noted.

Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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