Walmart is at the Bottom of the Corporate Heap on Animal Welfare

Walmart sucks, and here’s one more reason: they are mean to animals.

The Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare, which is “designed to help drive higher farm animal welfare standards in the world’s leading food businesses,” gave Wal-Mart the lowest possible rating for its performance on this issue. Out of six tiers, Wal-Mart landed at the bottom in Tier 6 because animal welfare is “not on [its] business agenda.”

The report that reached this conclusion, issued on February 25th, “presents the findings of an independent evaluation of around 70 leading food companies on their approach to managing and reporting on farm animal welfare issues.” As “the first global measure of animal welfare standards in food companies,” its publication reflects the growing attention to animal welfare in the food industry. Though its analysis is rigorous, the report does have an agenda: “to help drive higher farm animal welfare standards in the world’s leading food businesses.”

Tiers 1-5 sorted companies by the following criteria: Tier 1, leadership in improving animal welfare; 2, the issue is “integral to business strategy”; 3, attention to animal welfare is “established” in the company but there remains work to be done; 4, “making progress on implementation”; and 5, animal welfare is “on the business agenda but [there is] limited evidence of implementation.” Wal-Mart couldn’t satisfy a single one of these measures.

Wal-Mart’s dismal showing does not surprise animal advocacy group Mercy for Animals (MFA). The organization’s website reports that it has “been touring the country, urging Walmart to phase out inhumane gestation crates — a factory farm practice so egregiously cruel that pigs can’t even turn around or lie down comfortably.” MFA’s demands are not unreasonable: “other major companies, such as Kroger, McDonald’s, Wendy’s, and Safeway, have all committed to end their business relationships with pork suppliers that insist on this horrible practice.”

Bob Barker narrates this sad expose of factory farms’ pig abuse (warning, the footage may be disturbing):

Video courtesy of Mercy for Animals

Click here for more information about “Walmart Cruelty.”

Wal-Mart claims that “it already offers ‘crate-free’ pork products in many U.S. stores and continues to work with suppliers to find ways to increase that number.” Towards this end it says it “will continue on-going discussions with our suppliers, NGOs and food safety experts to find ways to increase that number. We believe in offering our customers a choice.”

Paying companies to torture and brutalize animals should not be on anyone’s menu of choices.

The Business Benchmark report was not limited to the treatment of pigs. It focused more broadly on companies’ attitudes towards animal welfare generally. Criteria for rating companies included:

  • Does the company acknowledge farm animal welfare as a business issue?
  • Does the company publish an overarching corporate farm animal welfare policy (or equivalent)?
  • Does the company have a clear position on the avoidance of close confinement and intensive systems for livestock (i.e. no sow stalls, concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), feedlots, farrowing crates, single penning, battery cages, tethering, veal crates, and force feeding systems?
  • Does the company have a clear position on the avoidance of routine mutilations (i.e. castration, teeth clipping, tail docking, toe clipping, dehorning, desnooding, de-winging, disbudding, mulesing, beak trimming)?

It is old news that Wal-Mart pushes out independent stores, pays suppliers so poorly that some are forced out of business, cheats its employees of overtime and other pay, discriminates against female employees, and otherwise is a wretched corporate citizen. Now we can add to the list that it is indifferent to the suffering of the animals whose chopped-up bodies it sells. No, it’s not a surprise, but it is shameful.


Related Stories:

Wal-Mart: Going Green or Greenwashing?

The True Cost of Walmart’s Low Prices (Infographic)

Walmart Workers Plan Massive Black Friday Strike

Photo: code poet/flickr


.4 years ago


Carrie-Anne Brown

thanks for sharing

marie jones
4 years ago

They also own Asda in the UK!

Katherine Wright
Katherine Wright4 years ago

Corporate greed bought and paid for with the lives of millions of innocent animals. How shameful....

Folks, we do have a choice of not supporting Walmart, but how many of us are willing to do more than just talk about boycotting Walmart and helping to put an end to the abuses lodged against animals? We need action. I, for one, will not support Walmart.

Don't just talk the talk....walk the walk.

Melania Padilla
Melania P4 years ago

Shame!!! Shared everywhere!!!

E. J.
Past Member 4 years ago

Walmart sucks, I never shop there. Shitty corporations and businesses operate ONLY THROUGH PUBLIC CONSENT. If the public chooses better options, they will be forced to change, or shut down.

Jessica Nielsen
Jessica Nielsen4 years ago

Quit giving them money. Order online (you can buy food cheaper in bulk at when you can. Shop at Kroger and Meijers if you are able and do not go to Wal-Mart!

Bmr Reddy
Ramu Reddy4 years ago

Thanks for the article

Rosemary Lowe

A lot of what we humans buy are things we really do not need.

Rosemary Lowe

Walmart not only destroys small businesses and towns, it is also responsible for the slave labor of children and women in other countries, along with abuse of its employees. But, it has lots of $$$, so when another mega store is proposed in an area, their fancy-suited corporate gladiators show up and bribe the city councils, and planning boards.
Anyone who has any conscience, should boycott this abomination. Trouble is, Americans (and now other countries) only care about "cheap prices," but at what cost? And are these prices really cheap, when we factor in the terrible costs to worker slaves, and destruction to our Natural World?