Costco reacts quickly to animal rights video

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by GARY CHITTIM / KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on August 31, 2010 at 5:56 PM

Updated Wednesday, Sep 1 at 1:58 PM

SEATTLE - Former game show host and long-time animal rights activist Bob Barker narrates the undercover video reportedly taken at an Ohio farm which supplies veal to Costco and other stores.

The video, shown simultaneously to reporters in Seattle and other cities, shows calves tethered by chains in small wooden pens.

"This confinement is so extreme," says Barker in the video, "that the calves can't even turn around or lie down comfortably."

The video also shows calves covered in what Barker describes as their own waste and includes pictures from a separate facility where newborn male cows are snatched from their dairy cow mothers and whisked off to pens to become veal.

Groups, like Barker's Mercy for Animals, will release tapes like this to raise donations and shock consumers. And while it can have a dramatic effect on some consumers, it rarely forces immediate changes by farms and store outlets. But this time, Costco acted swiftly.

A spokesman told KING 5 the company  will not buy veal from this farm or any other engaged in tethering techniques. A statement released by Costco CEO James Sinegal late this afternoon also shouldered some of the blame.

The statement read in part, "We are extremely disappointed not only with the performance of our supplier in this instance, but with our own performance as well. We hold ourselves to a high standard, and in this case, we plainly did not perform to that standard.”

A spokesman for Mercy for Animals said that is a positive step but said the public needs to demand changes in other common veal farming techniques.

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