A Berkeley, California, Whole Foods Market was forced to apply for a blanket restraining order after becoming the target of a radical vegan group hell-bent on “exposing” the natural foods chain’s animal welfare violations.
The Guardian reports that Whole Foods filed for the order after a group called Direct Action Everywhere, or DxE, threatened to “Occupy Whole Foods” for the entire month of September, subjecting the store and its shoppers to in-person protests, demonstrations of “animal slaughter,” and, perhaps most horrifying, a drum circle.
DxE, which reportedly advocates for “total animal liberation,” began the month by unfurling a giant black “Occupy Whole Foods” banner above a group of chanting protesters, but since the order went into effect, DxE has been relegated to handing out pre-printed leaflets from a set of tables just beyond the Whole Foods parking lot.
The group says that they’re merely looking for “greater transparency in both Whole Foods and Amazon’s supply chain,” and accuses Whole Foods of running a “conspiracy” to hide their animal welfare practices from anti-meat activists (though DxE’s evidence of such a cover up appears scant).
Whole Foods, in turn, says that they take pride in their commitment to animal welfare and that they require farms that produce the meat, milk, cheese, and eggs that end up on Whole Foods’ shelves ascribe to a set of regulations set forth by the Global Animal Partnership. Those regulations are much stricter than the USDA’s and FDA’s, and farms must be inspected every 15 months to ensure ongoing compliance.
DxE says Whole Foods just doesn’t want to have a conversation, but perhaps its DxE and not Whole Foods. Their “Occupy Whole Foods” protest is an annual event, and in the past, it has featured antics that “range from chanting and singing about animal rights to more extreme tactics: splattering eggs with fake blood, acting out scenes of animal slaughter (with members representing the animals) and displaying graphic photos and videos in meat and dairy aisles.”
They aren’t without options, though. Once turned away from Whole Foods, DxE activists “descended” on McCoy Poultry Services, which supplies Perdue, a company protesters claimed in turn supplied Whole Foods. There, DxE held flowers and operated a “volunteer veterinary clinic” for “injured chickens.” Police eventually arrested 67 protesters.
A representative from Perdue told the Guardian that McCoy does not, in fact, supply Whole Foods.