Whole Foods stores gets restraining order against animal rights activist group
From staging chicken funerals to sit ins to pouring blood red liquid on eggs in the Whole Foods store in Berkeley, Calif., members of the animal rights group Direct Action Everywhere or DxE have disrupted the store enough to prompt, and win, a restraining order against the group.
An article by Susie Stempley at Berkeley’s KPIX television station said the group has targeted the store for several years, alleging the store sources from farms that exercise animal cruelty.
Whole Foods issued a statement saying the group has “repeatedly entered our store 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.”
According to a video featuring co-founder Wayne Hsuing on the group’s website, they are responsible for, in their words, rescuing a starving piglet from a Utah Smithfield Farms facility. According to the Washington Post, upon raids of two animal sanctuaries in Utah and Colorado, DNA samples were sought as part of a search for the missing piglets. The defendants were charged in May with felony burglary, rioting, and a pattern of unlawful activity.
Videos released of the “rescue” by the group served as video evidence of what Smithfield called “trespassing onto company property, breaking into a barn, stealing animals and violating Smithfield’s strict biosecurity policy to prevent the spread of disease onto our farms.” Smithfield said the videos that alleged poor treatment of animals featured “blatant inaccuracies and assertions.”
Hsuing is no stranger to Whole Foods stores in Colorado. According to the Daily Camera, he was charged in April after trying to interview customers and employees at the Boulder store about eating meat. Members of the group have been arrested previously for protesting at the Boulder store.
Whole Foods initially sought to permanently ban the group from all of its stores in the state and has the option to ask the judge for that at an Oct. 26 hearing. The group still plans to go forward with planned protests next week, despite the restraining order. ❖