Through hail and 40-degree weather, animal rights activists held an overnight hunger strike outside of an Oakland Whole Foods on Thanksgiving to denounce what they say is mistreatment of animals by the company.
Thirteen activists from the animal rights group “Direct Action Everywhere” spent the night outside the store on Harrison Street and Bay Place, with a banner that said “Don’t buy the humane lie.” Protesters also intermittently blocked traffic outside of the store and held a “die-in” in front of the store’s entrance.
Direct Action Everywhere spokesman Matt Johnson, in an interview, said the purpose of the protest was to dissuade customers from falling for the company’s marketing of “humane” animal products. Johnson said animal rights groups have discovered inhumane conditions at Whole Foods suppliers’ farms.
“Whole Foods puts out this message we refer to as ‘humane washing,’ where corporations put out an image that they’re doing great things for the environment but you dig deeper and find out its a lot of fluff,” Johnson said.
The group also targeted a Whole Foods in San Francisco’s Noe Valley neighborhood in September. More than 30 activists were arrested at that protest after they chained themselves in front of the entrance and exit.
The group has also held similar actions at Whole Foods stores in San Diego and Petaluma.
Whole Foods representatives were not available Thursday, but have denounced Direct Action Everywhere’s tactics, and filed a restraining order against the group barring them from entering the stores.
Whole Foods officials, in a statement issued after the San Francisco protest, said Direct Action Everywhere’s “repeated targeting of Whole Foods Market stores jeopardizes the safety of our customers and Team Members.”
“Whole Foods Market caters to customers with a wide variety of diets, and we’re proud to provide transparency in animal welfare and growing practices through third-party certifiers like Global Animal Partnership,” the statement said. “Our high-quality standards, including a commitment to animal welfare, have established us as an industry leader for nearly forty years. We respect everyone’s right to voice their opinion, but our responsibility is to provide a safe environment for our customers and our Team Members.”
Read the original article by Ali Tayadon at mercurynews.com here.