AUSTIN, Texas (January 2, 2006) Whole Foods Market (NASDAQ: WFMI) announced today it will donate five percent of its total global sales on Tuesday, January 24 to the Animal Compassion Foundation ( The Animal Compassion Foundation is an independent non-profit 501c(3) organization created by Whole Foods Market in January 2005 that works to improve the lives of farm animals by serving as an interactive resource for ranchers, meat producers and researchers to learn and share practices that support the animals' physical needs, behaviors and well-being.

“The quest for cheap food in our society has created an industrialized model of meat production in which animals are bred and raised in conditions focused on efficiency rather than on the basic needs of the animal,” said John Mackey, co-founder and CEO of Whole Foods Market. “As another important milestone on our path to being a responsible tenant of the planet, Whole Foods Market created the Animal Compassion Foundation to act as a forum in which meat producers can learn, share and be inspired to ensure animal welfare as a top priority.”

Whole Foods Market has consistently gone to great lengths to set strict requirements for food safety and high standards for animal welfare in its Natural Meat Program. The launch of the Animal Compassion Foundation in 2005 parallels the development of Whole Foods Market's next generation of meat standards — which will include the Animal Compassionate Standards, requiring that environments and conditions provide enhanced support of animals' physical, emotional, and behavioral needs. In the future, as the specific standards for each species are completed and the labeling logistics are finalized, producers who successfully meet the specific Animal Compassionate Standards will be able to label their products with a designation.

“The Foundation was created to help producers make the transition to these higher levels of animal welfare that we are encouraging producers throughout the world to achieve. Over the long run, with access to the information available through the Animal Compassion Foundation, we hope more producers will see the intrinsic merits of raising animals in a compassionate manner and will be inspired to follow this lead,” added Mackey.

Five percent of the day's sales at Whole Foods Market on January 24th will be used to continue the Foundation's work providing the opportunity for producers and researchers to learn, share ideas, and collaborate on projects that focus on animals' welfare and well-being. All money generated through the Global Five Percent Day will go solely to research projects and on-farm experiments, not to Foundation administrative purposes.

“The Foundation's goal is to bring animal welfare to the forefront by utilizing information and skills from the past, enhanced by present and future innovations,” said Anne Malleau, executive director of the Animal Compassion Foundation. “The Foundation will act as an interactive center for knowledge gleaned from research and farm animal producers to enable producers to see the intrinsic merits of raising animals in a compassionate matter and to improve the lives of animals on farms.”

The Foundation's focus is in four primary areas:

  • Searching the globe for ideas and innovations from ranchers and farmers who are raising their farm animals compassionately
  • Creating a worldwide network of animal compassionate producers to share knowledge and improve practices
  • Collecting knowledge of compassionate husbandry methods in an online library to assist interested producers to successfully adopt these techniques
  • Providing research money to producers for on-farm research and to animal scientists to seek solutions to current husbandry issues