Tag Archives: Starbucks

CEOs push back against Trump’s immigration ban, Starbucks CEO pledges to hire refugees

CEOs of some of the world’s biggest companies are fighting back against President Donald Trump’s temporary immigration ban, calling it un-American and bad for business.

The heads of Apple, Ford and Goldman Sachs said that they don’t support the executive order the president signed last week, which bans immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. Google said it is donating cash to organizations that support immigrants.

Other companies said they will help employees affected by the ban or, in the case of Starbucks, hire refugees.

Businesses already have a complicated relationship with Trump, who has been openly critical of companies planning to build plants in Mexico or charge what he sees as too much for fighter jets. Some have announced hiring plans and investments in the U.S., saying they like Trump’s plans to reduce regulation and lower corporate taxes.

The corporate reaction to the executive order was strong, quick and harsh.

“This is unprecedented,” said Bill Klepper, an adjunct management professor at Columbia Business School in New York.

Trump said the executive order, signed Friday, was necessary to stop “radical Islamic terrorists” from coming to the U.S. It included a 90-day ban on travel to the U.S. by citizens of Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, or Yemen, and a 120-day suspension of the U.S. refugee program.

The White House did not respond to a request for comment Monday.

It could be risky for businesses to speak out publicly, since Trump likes to fight back and criticize companies from his Twitter account. But public-relations experts said businesses have no choice, especially if the ban negatively affects their employees or customers.

“No company has gone out of business putting their customers and employees first,” said Matt Friedman, co-founder of Tanner Friedman Strategic Communications in Farmington Hills, Michigan.

CEOS SPEAK OUT

Executives at technology companies, which employ many immigrants, were some of the first to speak out. Tim Cook, the CEO of iPhone maker Apple Inc., told employees in a memo obtained by The Associated Press that his company does not support the order.

“Apple would not exist without immigration,” Cook said.

CEOs from e-commerce companies Amazon.com Inc., eBay Inc. and Etsy Inc. also said they did not support Trump’s order, as did the head of video-streaming company Netflix Inc.

Coca-Cola Co. CEO Muhtar Kent said the soda maker was against the travel ban, and General Electric Co. CEO Jeff Immelt said the industrial conglomerate would make its “voice heard” with the new administration and Congress.

Ford Motor Co. said it does not support the policy “or any other that goes against our values as a company,” according to a letter signed by the automaker’s CEO Mark Fields and Executive Chairman Bill Ford. General Motors Co. sent a note to employees saying it will support any who can’t return to the U.S. because of the ban. But other automakers, Nissan Motor Co. and Honda Motor Co., were silent.

The auto industry, a frequent target of Trump’s ire for moving jobs overseas, is walking a fine line, trying to avoid punishing tariffs and hoping Trump gives them some relief on corporate taxes and fuel economy standards.

And Goldman Sachs Group Inc., whose former employees are some of Trump’s most trusted advisers, also pushed back.

“This is not a policy we support,” said the bank’s CEO, Lloyd Blankfein, in a voicemail to employees.

DONATING CASH

Google, the internet search company owned by Alphabet Inc., plans to give as much as $4 million to four organizations that provide legal assistance and other services to immigrants.

The crisis fund will consist of $2 million from the company and $2 million in employee donations. Google is worried that Trump’s executive order will harm many of its current workers and their families, and will make it more difficult to hire technically skilled workers from outside the U.S. in the future.

Ride-hailing app Lyft said it will give $1 million over the next four years to the American Civil Liberties Union. Lyft’s co-founders, Logan Green and John Zimmer, said they “will not be silent on issues that threaten the values of our community.”

EMPLOYEE HELP

Drugmaker Merck & Co. said it will offer legal advice and other assistance to its employees, as did furniture seller Ikea.

Uber, the ride-hailing app, said it will offer financial help to employees affected by the ban. The company’s CEO, Travis Kalanick, is part of Trump’s economic advisory group and said he will bring up the issue with the president on Friday in Washington.

Uber, however, already faced backlash on Saturday after Twitter users criticized the company and encouraged riders to delete the app for charging less than it could at JFK Airport in New York as taxi drivers had halted service for an hour to protest the ban. The move was perceived by some as an effort to profit off the protests as more passengers would need to seek alternatives to cabs.

HIRING REFUGEES

Starbucks Corp. said it will hire 10,000 refugees over the next five years at its coffee shops around the world and focusing on employing those that have served with U.S. troops as interpreters.

But taking a position on political matters can be risky for companies: the hashtag #BoycottStarbucks was trending on Twitter Monday after the company announced its move. Starbucks said that it recognizes “that sometimes there are those who may disagree with us, and we respect these diverse points of view and will continue to listen.”

CEO Howard Schultz said he plans to reach out to employees more frequently.

“I am hearing the alarm you all are sounding that the civility and human rights we have all taken for granted for so long are under attack,” he said in a letter to workers.

Read Howard Schultz’s Jan. 29 letter to the company’s partners on Trump’s actions…

Message from Howard Schultz to Starbucks Partners: Living Our Values in Uncertain Times

Dear partners,

I write to you today with deep concern, a heavy heart and a resolute promise. Let me begin with the news that is immediately in front of us: we have all been witness to the confusion, surprise and opposition to the Executive Order that President Trump issued on Friday, effectively banning people from several predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States, including refugees fleeing wars. I can assure you that our Partner Resources team has been in direct contact with the partners who are impacted by this immigration ban, and we are doing everything possible to support and help them to navigate through this confusing period.

We are living in an unprecedented time, one in which we are witness to the conscience of our country, and the promise of the American Dream, being called into question. These uncertain times call for different measures and communication tools than we have used in the past. Kevin and I are going to accelerate our commitment to communicating with you more frequently, including leveraging new technology platforms moving forward.  I am hearing the alarm you all are sounding that the civility and human rights we have all taken for granted for so long are under attack, and want to use a faster, more immediate form of communication to engage with you on matters that concern us all as partners.

I also want to take this opportunity to announce specific actions we are taking to reinforce our belief in our partners around the world and to ensure you are clear that we will neither stand by, nor stand silent, as the uncertainty around the new Administration’s actions grows with each passing day:

Support for DACA: As I wrote to Senators Graham and Durbin this week, we are enthusiastically behind their work to support “Dreamers” across our country – including those young men and women who are part of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. There are nearly three quarters of a million hardworking people contributing to our communities and our economy because of this program.  At Starbucks, we are proud to call them partners and to help them realize their own American Dream.  We want them to feel welcome and included in our success, which is why we reimburse them for the biennial fee they must pay to stay in the program and why we have offered DACA-related services at our Opportunity Youth hiring fairs.

Hiring Refugees: We have a long history of hiring young people looking for opportunities and a pathway to a new life around the world. This is why we are doubling down on this commitment by working with our equity market employees as well as joint venture and licensed market partners in a concerted effort to welcome and seek opportunities for those fleeing war, violence, persecution and discrimination.  There are more than 65 million citizens of the world recognized as refugees by the United Nations, and we are developing plans to hire 10,000 of them over five years in the 75 countries around the world where Starbucks does business.  And we will start this effort here in the U.S. by making the initial focus of our hiring efforts on those individuals who have served with U.S. troops as interpreters and support personnel in the various countries where our military has asked for such support.

Building Bridges, Not Walls, With Mexico: We have been open for business in Mexico since 2002, and have since opened almost 600 stores in 60 cities across the country, which together employ over 7,000 Mexican partners who proudly wear the green apron. We have sourced coffee from Mexico’s producers and their families for three decades and last fall, we also announced the creation of a farmer support center in Chiapas to help accelerate our collective ability to grow and export some of the world’s finest coffees from this important growing region, while donating more than $2 million to support the livelihood, food security and water quality of coffee producing communities in Oaxaca.  With the support of thousands of Starbucks partners and millions of customers, we have also donated over a million coffee trees to support 70,000 families, and we will be expanding the initiative this year to generate another 4 million tree donations. Coffee is what unites our common heritage, and as I told Alberto Torrado, the leader of our partnership with Alsea in Mexico, we stand ready to help and support our Mexican customers, partners and their families as they navigate what impact proposed trade sanctions, immigration restrictions and taxes might have on their business and their trust of Americans.  But we will continue to invest in this critically important market all the same.

Our Healthcare Commitment to You: Finally, let me restate what we have recently communicated with you about the Affordable Care Act – our commitment remains that if you are benefits eligible, you will always have access to health insurance through Starbucks.  Many of you have expressed concerns that recent government actions may jeopardize your ability to participate in the Affordable Care Act. If the recent Executive Order related to health care remains in place and the Affordable Care Act is repealed causing you to lose your healthcare coverage, you will always have the ability to return and can do so within 30 days of losing that coverage rather than having to wait for an open enrollment period. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Benefits Center at 877-728-9236.

In the face of recent events around the world, let me assure you that we will stay true to our values and do everything we can possibly do to support and invest in every partner’s well-being while taking the actions that are squarely within our ability to control. This is our focus: providing a Third Place of respite for those around the world who seek it, daily.

Starbucks has and will always stand for opportunity – opportunity for our young people who are working to land their first job in the 75 countries where we do business, opportunity for our farmers who care so deeply for the highest of quality coffee we offer to customers all around the globe, and yes, opportunity for those who come to America in search of their own fresh start – whether that is with Starbucks directly, or through our suppliers or our partner companies.

If there is any lesson to be learned over the last year, it’s that your voice and your vote matter more than ever. We are all obligated to ensure our elected officials hear from us individually and collectively. Starbucks is doing its part; we need you to use the collective power of your voices to do the same while respecting the diverse viewpoints of the 90 million customers who visit our stores in more than 25,000 locations around the world.

So, while we seek to understand what the new Administration’s policies mean for us and our business both domestically and around the world, I can assure you that we will do whatever it takes to support you, our partners, to realize your own dreams and achieve your own opportunities. We are in business to inspire and nurture the human spirit, one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time – whether that neighborhood is in a Red State or a Blue State; a Christian country or a Muslim country; a divided nation or a united nation. That will not change.  You have my word on that.

Onward,

Howard

Starbucks, Amazon pay less taxes in Austria than sausage stand

Multinationals like coffee chain Starbucks and online retailer Amazon pay fewer taxes in Austria than one of the country’s tiny sausage stands, the republic’s center-left chancellor lamented in a recent interview published.

Chancellor Christian Kern, head of the Social Democrats and of the centrist coalition government, also criticized internet giants Google and Facebook, saying that if they paid more tax subsidies for print media could increase.

“Every Viennese cafe, every sausage stand pays more tax in Austria than a multinational corporation,” Kern was quoted as saying in an interview with newspaper Der Standard, invoking two potent symbols of the Austrian capital’s food culture.

“That goes for Starbucks, Amazon and other companies,” he said, praising the European Commission’s ruling this week that Apple should pay up to 13 billion euros ($14.5 billion) in taxes plus interest to Ireland because a special scheme to route profits through that country was illegal state aid.

Apple has said it will appeal the ruling, which Chief Executive Tim Cook described as “total political crap.” Google, Facebook and other multinational companies say they follow all tax rules.

Kern criticized EU states with low-tax regimes that have lured multinationals – and come under scrutiny from Brussels.

“What Ireland, the Netherlands, Luxembourg or Malta are doing here lacks solidarity towards the rest of the European economy,” he said.

He stopped short of saying that Facebook and Google would have to pay more tax but underlined their significant sales in Austria, which he estimated at more than 100 million euros each, and their relatively small numbers of employees – a “good dozen” for Google and “allegedly even fewer” for Facebook.

“They massively suck up the advertising volume that comes out of the economy but pay neither corporation tax nor advertising duty in Austria,” said Kern, who became chancellor in May.

($1 = 0.8965 euros)

General Mills will convert to all cage-free eggs by 2025

General Mills has set a deadline for its conversion to all cage-free eggs by 2025.

The Minnesota-based company, whose brands include Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, Progresso soups and Yoplait yogurt, initially announced its plans to go cage-free in July.

But it updated its animal welfare policy to establish the 10-year time frame.

Josh Balk, a spokesman for the Humane Society of the United States, it’s a further sign that major food manufacturers recognize consumers are turning against the idea of confining food animals to cages.

McDonald’s, which buys two billion eggs a year, set a goal in September to buy all cage-free eggs in 10 years. Other companies going cage-free include Burger King and Starbucks.

Poll: Donald Trump most likely candidate to spoil Thanksgiving

Donald Trump is the candidate most likely to spoil a Thanksgiving dinner agree 46 percent of Americans in the recent holiday-themed poll by Public Policy Polling.

His number is higher than all the other candidates combined — Democratic and Republican.

Hillary Clinton came in second at 22 percent, followed by Bernie Sanders at 7 percent, Jeb Bush and Ben Carson at 6 percent, Ted Cruz at 4 percent and Marco Rubio at 1 percent.

When asked about the candidate they’d most like to have Thanksgiving dinner with, Clinton was the favorite. About 24 percent would like to dine with Clinton. Carson was second at 18 percent, then Trump at 17 percent, Sanders at 11 percent, Cruz at 8 percent and Bush and Rubio at 6 percent.

In other questions, Republican voters are still annoyed with President Barack Obama’s decision to pardon two turkeys instead of the customary one turkey last Thanksgiving. PPP said, “That’s a pretty clear sign that if you put Obama’s name on something, GOP voters are going to oppose it pretty much no matter what.”

Democrats by a strong majority favored the double pardon.

The poll also revealed a partisan divide over Starbucks, in the news for a minimalist design — red – on seasonal coffee cups. Democrats have a positive view of the company and Republicans have a slightly negative view. Still, only 21 percent of Republicans think Starbucks has enlisted in a “War on Christmas.”

A majority of U.S. voters agreed that it is too early to hear Christmas music. Men more then women say it is too early.

PPP also found pumpkin pie wins the preferred dessert of choice at Thanksgiving dinner but with only 27 percent, followed by apple pie, sweet potato pie, chocolate pie, blueberry pie, then cherry pie.

Mashed potatoes, of course, are more popular than sweet potatoes and only 30 percent of those polled like marshmallows on sweet potatoes.

By a 17-point margin, Americans say it’s “stuffing,” not “dressing.”

WiGWAG gets ready for Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday

Instant undies

OffTheWagonShop.com specializes in the unique and, well, the unwanted gift — like the gift exchange goodie for the office guy who still gets a kick out of tricking people into saying “underwear.” OffTheWagon’s “funny underwear gifts” selection includes Instant Underpants, which retails for $3.99. Compressed into a compact pellet, the underpants expand in water. Uh, oh. Emergency Underpants are packed in a little tin that fits easily in a front pocket. Allegedly great for on-the-go emergencies — or overnighters.

Stocking stuffer?

This time of year, WiG gets inundated with pitches from PR reps promoting potential gifts. This is one of the more unique appeals, made on behalf of the Fun Factory, an “innovator” in the adult toy industry: An adult toy is “the ideal self-pleasure gift that releases feel-good brain chemicals called endorphins — you know, the clear-mood, confidence-building and stress-busting feeling you get after a great workout.” Plus, it’s a tool to boost brain productivity and help with weight loss. So, a little something for those making new year’s resolutions?

Red cup collection

For that cousin or brother-in-law who religiously reads the newsletter from the anti-gay Traditional Values Coalition or the magazine from ultra-right Focus on the Family, WiGWag suggests a complete collection of Starbucks’ red “holiday” cups — preferably used. And, while you’re enjoying your pumpkin spice lattes, we suggest tweeting a selfie and “Feliz Navidad” to Donald Trump. The GOP presidential candidate with the ugly hair and uglier platform has suggested a boycott of Starbucks over the minimalist cup design and vowed, “If I become president, we’re all going to be saying, ‘Merry Christmas’ again. That I can tell you.” Let’s tell him.

Don’t wear and drink

What On Earth offers dozens of T-shirt designs for the “me, me, me” character on your holiday gift list. The catalog specializes in “Your Name” gear. This year, with the craft brew revolution bubbling, the company expects to print a lot of T-shirts with customized personal beer labels and logos. Just be a pal and make sure that your beer-loving bud’s acting responsibly when advertising his or her brew.

For the 1 percent that has almost everything

The 2015 Neiman Marcus Christmas Book is out and the 89th edition does not disappoint. You probably can’t afford any of the featured oddities, but it’s worth a look just to see what the handful of people who’ve made billions off your labor and tax dollars are buying this year. For instance, there’s a journey for him and seven of his closest friends aboard a luxurious capsule attached to a balloon that rises more than 100,000 feet above Earth for 360-degree views ($90,000 per person). And the KRGT-1, the first bike produced by Arch Motorcycle Company, owned by Keanu Reeves and Gard Hollinger. Framed of steel and aircraft-grade billet aluminum with carbon fiber fenders and front cowling, the KRGT-1 has a 124-cubic-inch v-twin engine that produces 121 horsepower and matching 120 pound-feet of torque. The limited edition vehicle comes with a two-day ride experience for two along the California coast with Reeves and Hollinger. Hotel and airfare to California are included, along with a donation of $5,000 to The Heart of Neiman Marcus Foundation. The Arch Motorcycle and Ride Experience can be gifted for $150,000.

REI’s Reddit adventure

Jerry Stritzke, CEO of the outdoor gear company REI, tried to capitalize on the Internet buzz about his decision to close all stores on Black Friday by appearing on reddit to participate in an “Ask Me Anything” thread. The session might have been intended to generate positive comments but it backfired when former and current employees hijacked the forum to complain about the company’s allegedly toxic employment practices — particularly the emphasis on selling REI co-op memberships above all other performance metrics, including customer service and product knowledge. After reading over the lively — and long — thread, we’re guessing Stritzke lost more customers than he gained.

ILLICIT FOAM

Smugglers hoping to give the gift of illicit Heinkens were foiled in Saudi Arabia, when customs officials intercepted 48,000 cans of beer with a wrapping that disguised them as cans of Pepsi. Drinking or possessing alcohol is a criminal offense in Saudi Arabia, ruled by an ultra-conservative Sunni government.

If you ask us, the smugglers should have stuck with Diet Pepsi wrappers — any confusion over the taste could just be chalked up to the lack of aspartame in the company’s new formula.

Donald Trump suggests maybe boycotting Starbucks over red cup design

Donald Trump is suggesting boycotting Starbucks over the minimalist design of its annual holiday cups.

“Did you read about Starbucks? No more Merry Christmas on Starbucks,” Trump told a capacity crowd of thousands gathered to hear him speak at a pre-debate rally in Springfield, Illinois on Nov. 9.

“Maybe we should boycott Starbucks. I don’t know,” he said. “Seriously, I don’t care.”

Some religious conservatives have expressed anger over the coffee company’s annual holiday-time cups – a minimalist all-red design with no images aside from the company’s green and white logo.

Previous years’ cups have featured snowflakes, winter scenes and sometimes Christmas ornaments. But a small number of critics see the design choice as part of a larger movement away from exclusively Christian-themed holiday decorations.

Trump, who is working to win the support of evangelical and other conservative Christians in a crowded field, has often expressed frustrations over companies using the term “Happy Holidays” in place of “Merry Christmas.”

He said:”If I become president, we’re all going to be saying, ‘Merry Christmas’ again. That I can tell you.”

He added that Starbucks operates a store in one of his buildings and that “that’s the end of that lease, but who cares?”

The rally came on the eve of the next Republican presidential debate, which will be taking place on Nov. 10 in Milwaukee.

Brian Oaks, general manager of the Prairie Capital Convention Center, said the billionaire businessman and reality television star had attracted a record-setting crowd for the convention center of 10,200 in downtown Springfield, a solidly Republican city in a Democratic-leaning state.

Trump did not mention the debate during his rally speech, but previewed some of the attack lines he may choose to use against rivals, including retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who is now running neck-and-neck with him in several polls.

Trump expressed near-exasperation at Carson’s continued popularity in the face of growing questions about discrepancies in his autobiography, “Gifted Hands,” which included claims that he tried to hit his mother with a hammer and unsuccessfully tried to stab someone when he was an angry youth.

“With what’s going on with this election? I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Trump. He went on to mimic the back-and-forth between Carson and reporters trying to verify the story of his rise from poverty to acclaimed surgeon, including a claim by Carson that the person he’d tried to stab had been saved by his belt buckle.

“You stab somebody and the newspapers say, ‘You didn’t do it.’ And you said, ‘Yes I did, I did it!'” said Trump.

“This is the only election in history where you’re better off if you stabbed somebody,” he said. “What are we coming to?”

Wine and tapas? Taco Bell to test new menu in Chicago

Yo quiero a glass of wine and tapas?

Taco Bell will open a location that serves wine, beer, sangria and frozen mixed drinks in Chicago next week, marking the first time the chain will serve alcohol in the United States. The new restaurant will also feature a variety of trends the chain says it is seeing among millennials: a menu of “tapas-style” appetizers, a mural by a local artist and an open kitchen.

“You will literally be able to see the food,” said Meredith Sandland, Taco Bell’s chief development officer. “(Customers will be) able to see all the beautiful ingredients.”

A similar location will open in San Francisco later this month, according to Taco Bell, which is owned by Yum Brands Inc. Aside from the alcohol and group appetizers, Taco Bell says the menu and food preparation will be the same as regular locations. 

The plans for the Chicago location were announced earlier this summer, although an exact opening date and other details weren’t disclosed at the time. It is just the latest evidence that traditional fast-food chains are trying to revamp their images to be more in line with changing expectations. 

In addition to beer ($4), wine ($4) and sangria ($4.50), the new Taco Bell location in the Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood will offer “Twisted Freezes” or frozen drinks that have rum, tequila or vodka mixed in. The latter will come in Mountain Dew Baja Blast, Cantina Punch and Cantina Margarita varieties, and cost between $6.19 and $7.19. The restaurant will open on Sept. 22. 

The San Francisco restaurant will have beer and wine, but no sangria or mixed drinks. Taco Bell says it will be by the city’s AT&T park and feature a patio and window where people can pick up orders. The company hasn’t said exactly when it will open.

Taco Bell says the new restaurant concept reflects the “millennial trend of seeking more urban environments.” Right now, the company says the vast majority of its nearly 6,000 U.S. locations are in suburban areas, with less than 1 percent in urban neighborhoods.

But Taco Bell said it planned to add 2,000 locations in the U.S. over 10 years. And Sandland said “several hundred” of them will have the design catered to urban environments, with a portion of those likely serving alcohol.

Restaurants that serve alcohol will be called “Taco Bell Cantina” and offer a “tapas-style menu of shareable appetizers.” They include nachos, quesadillas, chicken tenders and rolled tacos. 

In a push to try and boost sales later in the day, Starbucks has also been rolling out wine, beer and tapas at select U.S. locations.

General Mills joins pledge to stop using eggs from caged hens

Within the last six months or so, we’ve worked with many of the biggest names in the food business to announce their commitment to stop selling eggs from caged hens. Aramark, Compass Group, Dunkin Brands, Hilton, Kellogg, Nestle, Sodexo, Starbucks, and Walmart have all made public pledges to shift their egg-purchasing practices away from battery cage confinement systems. Today, we’re pleased to announce that General Mills, one of the nation’s largest food makers, is joining the list.

“We commit to working toward 100 percent cage free eggs for our U.S. operations,” says General Mills — which owns brands like Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, Progresso Soups, and Hamburger Helper — in its new policy. “We recognize that the current avian influenza outbreak has been deeply disruptive to the U.S. egg supply and producers. As the industry works to rebuild its supply chain, we will work with suppliers to determine a path and reasonable timeline toward this commitment.”

General Mills is grounding its policy on the Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare, a set of principles that will translate into better outcomes for all of the animals in its supply chain. With the Five Freedoms in mind, the company’s policy pledges continual improvement by also examining solutions to solve other key animal welfare concerns, including subjecting animals to tail docking, de-horning, and, without the administration of pain killers, castration. It’s also translating into an examination of issues related to rapid growth of broiler chickens and turkeys.

Certainly the highlight of this announcement is the commitment to switch to 100 percent cage-free eggs. And as the egg industry considers its production strategies in light of the impact of bird flu on cage confinement facilities, there’s an opportunity for the industry to pivot away from caging hens altogether and make the transition to higher-welfare, cage-free systems.

Commodities expert Urner Barry recently reported that cage facilities have been hit much harder by bird flu than cage-free facilities. In many parts of the country, prices for battery-cage eggs doubled at the height of the outbreak. Because the volume of birds in a single cage confinement facility is so large, if even a single bird gets sick, then the entire flock must be killed — a devastating outcome for the birds and the farmers.

Common sense and sound science tell us that warehousing animals in cramped cages is bad for both the animals and for us. The veal industry is eliminating its cruel crates. Many of the largest pork producers are eliminating gestation crates. And now, with many food companies like General Mills pledging to eliminate chicken cages from their egg supplier chains, the egg industry can accelerate its own shift toward cage-free housing. For the sake of animals and consumers, it can’t happen fast enough.

Wayne Pacelle is president and CEO of the Human Society of the United States. This piece appeared in his blog “A Humane Nation.”


Starbucks CEO met with family of Dontre Hamilton

The chief executive of Starbucks met privately with the family of a Milwaukee man killed by a police officer.

Dontre Hamilton, a mentally ill black man, was shot 14 times by white former-officer Christopher Manney outside a Starbucks in downtown Milwaukee in April 2014 after employees of Starbucks’ Red Arrow Park location twice called police to report that Hamilton was sleeping outside.

Police who responded to both the first and second calls said Hamilton was doing nothing wrong, but Manney still insisted on visiting the site. He shot Hamilton, who was unarmed, 14 times after a scuffle.

“We began a dialogue about social and economic justice, and discussed what efforts corporations can make towards fixing racial inequality, which is so present in Milwaukee,” Nate Hamilton Jr., Dontre’s brother, said in the statement following the meeting.

Police Chief Ed Flynn fired Manney for violating MPD policy when he initiated a pat down of Hamilton. The Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission, a citizens’ board that oversees the police department, upheld Manney’s firing.

Hamilton’s shooting drew national attention and sparked demonstrations in Milwaukee.

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz recently launched an initiative called “Race Together” to generate discussions about diversity. Some customers complained on social media when baristas were asked to initiate conversations about race. Starbucks has since dropped that aspect of the initiative.

Starbucks to switch to cage-free eggs, implement new animal welfare policy

Starbucks this week announced the planned elimination of the sale of eggs that come from caged hens throughout its supply chain. The company will switch to cage-free eggs, including for its pastries.

The policy was announced a week in advance of new animal welfare legislation in California — Proposition 2 and AB1437.

Proposition 2 is the 2008 California ballot measure banning the inhumane confinement of egg-laying hens, breeding pigs and veal calves in cages so small the animals cannot stretch their limbs, lie down or turn around.

AB 1437 is the 2010 law that requires all shell eggs sold in the state to be produced in compliance with Prop 2.

Both measures have been under attack by food manufacturer associations and producers but are set to take effect on Jan. 1.

Starbucks’ new animal welfare policy includes:

• Phasing out cages for egg-laying hens and the use of gestation crates for pigs.

• Eliminating artificial growth hormones and fast-growing practices that cause chickens to suffer chronic pain.

• Ending the dehorning, tail docking and castration of animals without anesthesia.

• Moving away from “inhumane” chicken slaughter practices.

The company has more than 2,000 stores in California, and more than 12,000 stores in the United States. The new policy applies to Canada and Mexico as well.

“California voters have made it clear that extreme confinement of farm animals is inhumane and unacceptable,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States. “Starbucks is meeting and exceeding the standards of California’s new farm animal welfare laws, and we applaud them and ask for other food retailers to make similar announcements. The best enforcement of Prop 2 will come from retailers who decide not to purchase eggs from hens in any kind of cage.”

Whole Foods, Burger King and food service giants Compass Group and Aramark also have made cage-free pledges, according to The Humane Society.