Letter to the Editor: Whole Foods not assisting a trapped bird in the store

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Bird trapped in Whole Foods, click image to expand

Hi Dr. Greer:

Love your website…adds some “fire” to BPC.

You have always taken an interest in dog owners and their pets, the Koi, and Ducklings.  This problem I think you will appreciate – and I hope you can help.

I eat in the Tribeca Whole Foods just about every day. For the past nine weeks a poor sparrow has been trapped in the seating area on the 2nd floor.

After about six weeks, and I just assumed the store would do something, I phoned their main office in Austin, Texas. The person who spoke to me was kind, and she said she would contact Regional HG, and the store.

The next day, one humane trap was put on the catwalk in the West & Warren St. corner where the bird usually is. With such a large area to cover why put up one and not more?  In any event the bird is still flying around and frantically, and sadly, flying into the windows trying to get out. And needless to mention when birds do their “business” watch out below.  In fact, and I have a photo if you want, I went to sit down and came face to face with “bird doo” on the table. Besides the “cheerful” appearance, bird droppings can be a health risk. I also have a photo of the bird.

Last Tuesday I phoned the Regional HQ and left a voice mail message that was not returned. I then called Austin last Thursday, spoke to someone, and she said she would pass the word along.  This Monday I called and asked for a call back – of course they did not.

Its now nine weeks for this poor creature.  I guess they are waiting for it to die: its cheaper to sweep it up than to catch it.

Its ironic, and infuriating, that Whole Foods spends so much time talking about the ethical treatment of animals that will eventually be slaughtered – and I agree totally with that position – but when they have a living, terrified, creature they could not care less about it. Maybe if you can embarrass them into action that bird can find its freedom.

Thanks, John

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4 Responses to Letter to the Editor: Whole Foods not assisting a trapped bird in the store

  1. Judith says:

    They have a laissez-faire attitude towards flies also. I made a special trip to buy their salmon, which was on sale. There were at least three flies buzzing around the fish. Then I discovered the salmon was farm-raised (I only eat wild fish except for mussels). The least they could do is have small portable fans to discourage the flies from landing on the fish. Totally disgusting.

    I’m back to buying from Fresh Direct (which hopefully can control its interior environment better since its doors open less than at a retail supermarket).

  2. admin says:

    John Mackey
    Founder, Co-CEO
    Whole Foods

    Being in the business of procuring ingredients, you should be interested in this. I run a local online TV site called BatteryPark.TV that is interactive with the community near your Tribeca Whole Foods (Isn’t that your largest one in the city?). We have received a few unsolicited emails that were complaints about Whole Foods.

    I have personally purchased portabella mushrooms fill with crab meat that were not sold while fresh on ice at the seafood section, then the staff froze them, making a product that was inedible when heated up. It became a soup in a rubber bowl of mushroom. The managers did not apologize and they still freeze unsold seafood products to this day, including those same portabella mushrooms. I have also stopped eating any of the prepared food sold for lunch or at the food islands because the taste was unsatisfactory. Their cooks seem to be bad at what they do.

    A few months back, I had a very bad experience with your delivery service. It was very late in arriving. When it did arrive, a belligerent man argued with me, which I filmed and sent to you. No one replied back to me about that serious matter.

    Now, more recently, someone sent me a long email about how the store has allowed a trapped bird to stay inside for two months. I spoke with the manger who did nothing about it, even after our story.

    Then, today, someone commented on that story with her experiences with poor food quality at your store and she stated that she has gone back to Fresh Direct as her source.

    I believe the management of your Tribeca store needs to be re-trained. I can spot bad management and you all have lost control of this store.

    Steven Greer, MD

  3. Rosalie says:

    I think maybe the ASPCA or WIldlife Organization will respond more kindly to the poor little bird.

    My experience with WHole Foods is rather dismal. On March 17th
    I got sick from one of the frozen foods and spent the evening
    in ER subsequently an additional medical problem developed because of this. It took about one month to regain my health.

    Whole Foods did not feel concerned at all even after I sent directly to the store and a manager called. After he learned, I was feeling a little bit better his only response was “that is good.”

    No responsibility was taken at all.

  4. Judith says:

    Have you reported this incident to the NY State Department of Agriculture and Markets? If not please take time out of your busy schedule to help protect your neighbors. Thanks much. See:

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