People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is not the only animal rights group trying to dictate the food Americans eat. Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) has joined in the fray by calling for the trendy Whole Foods to be occupied in a protest against their parent company, Amazon.
Fed-up with years of demonstrations at the Berkeley Whole Foods store, Amazon filed a restraining order against the disorderly group.
“We are not allowed to even step foot in the parking lot right now,” said Cassie King, a DxE organizer. “We can’t go inside the store and ask our questions,” reported The Guardian.
The vegan activists are calling for total animal liberation and has staged protests at the location over the past several years. The demonstrations include singing, chanting and drum beating on a sidewalk outside the store. A black banner strung along the sidewalk urges protesters to “OCCUPY WHOLE FOODS” in large white letters.
“DxE members have repeatedly entered our stores and property to conduct demonstrations that disrupt customers and team members by blocking access to our aisles, departments and cash registers, interfering with our business and putting the safety of both customers and team members at risk,” a Whole Foods representative said in a statement.
According to Whole Foods’ complaint, filed with the Alameda county superior court, these protests prevent their customers from purchasing items and are dangerous to shoppers, employees and the activists themselves, reports The Guardian.
DxE’s protests run the gamut from chanting and singing about animal rights to providing shoppers with a dramatic rendering of animal slaughter, including the display of graphic photos and videos in the meat and dairy aisles. The more extreme activists splatter eggs with fake blood.
DxE Co-Founder Wayne Hsiung complains that Whole Foods representatives are unwilling to sit down with his organization and discuss their claims that the store accepts products from suppliers who keep chickens in crowded sheds without adequate food and water.
DxE’s antics at the Berkeley Whole Foods is not the first time they have tried to impose their gastronomic edicts in the city. In 2017, the group forced a family-owned butcher to hang an animal rights sign in its window.
The Guardian reported that in exchange for hanging the sign, the group agreed to cease its gruesome demonstrations outside the shop.
DxE had declared it wanted to make Berkeley the first city to ban the sale of meat. The butchers called it “ethical extortion.” Perhaps “unethical extortion” is a better description.
The activists are currently barred from accessing the Berkeley Whole Foods store. A judge will decide on Oct. 26 whether to extend that ban to any Whole Foods store in California.