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Animals Rights Activists Take On Oakland Whole Foods

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Animal rights activists with Direct Action Everywhere are out at Whole Foods on Bay Place in Oakland Wednesday to remind customers that the company may not be as wholesome as they claim. The group began a 24-hour fast as the protest began at noon in an effort to bring attention to what they claim are abusive animal practices at the company’s farm factory suppliers.

This is not the first time the group has taken aim at the grocery chain. In fact, litigation between the company’s legal team and individuals who were involved in prior protests is ongoing. Activists believe the company is attempting to silence them and their questions with restraining orders and costly lawsuits.

Whole Foods meat department. Photo: Oomni/Flickr.

In a news release, Direct Action Everywhere co-founder Wayne Hsiung said:

“Over the past five years, we’ve asked Amazon, Whole Foods and Jeff Bezos to sit down and discuss our findings, which are shocking and contradictory to everything they claim about the treatment of animals at their suppliers.”

The group’s website makes substantial abuse claims and provides disturbing videos of animal rescue attempts, not for thin skinned viewers.

The activist organization lodges five primary complaints against the company, which they explain in detail on their site. The basics of their opposition to the company are:

  1. The company is “massive,” despite their image, and they profit from about $2.4 billion in meat sales per year.
  2. They lie when claiming their animals are “Raised with Care.” Whole Foods largely funds the Global Animal Partnership organization that conveniently sets animal welfare standards that the activists say allow for mutilation, castration and all kinds of nasty treatment you don’t want to think about when you’re making Thanksgiving dinner.
  3. They “prey on people’s concern for animals” with their “Values Matter” campaign that packs a lot less value than it does profit. They make it appear that by purchasing meat and fish from the store, customers are in fact saving animals in some strange way.
  4. Whole Foods is seriously hindering the activist culture by fooling people with “false marketing” into believing that most animals are treated humanely at factory farms.
  5. The company is “buying” the movement. They claim CEO John Mackey “sits on the board of the largest animal protection group in the country” and collects praise while dishing out abuse in the name of profit.

Overcrowded turkeys at a factory farm. Photo: Mercy for Animals/Wikimedia Commons.

Activists are planning to be out at the Oakland store until 3 p.m. Wednesday and then again Thursday to disrupt holiday traffic by “swarming” and holding a die-in to remind last-minute shoppers why they’re protesting.

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Nik Wojcik - East Bay Editor

Nik Wojcik - East Bay Editor

Journalist, editor, student, single mom to a pack of wolves, foodie, music lover, resident smart ass, and champion of vulgarity and human kindness.