Whole Foods store in California has been granted a restraining order against a group of vegans who won’t stop protesting in the store.
The group Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) has been protesting in the Berkley shop for years and had planned to stage a full week campaign dubbed “Occupy Whole Foods.”
But Whole Foods was granted the restraining order and the protestors are prohibited from even setting foot in the parking lot. The group did their best to attract the attention of Whole Foods customers from the sidewalk, but failed to gain traction, according to DxE organizer Cassie King.
A Whole Foods spokesperson told The Guardian that the protestors had been putting their staff at risk. “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,” the spokesperson said.
DxE—who says they fight for “total animal liberation”—claims to have witnessed animal abuse at dozens of Whole Foods farm suppliers. Whole Foods has strict welfare guidelines for its produce, according to its own website.
Director of the farm animal program for the Animal Welfare Institute, Dena Jones, said organic labels do not guarantee proper care of animals. However, Jones confirmed Whole Foods’ tests were more rigorous. “All suppliers of fresh meat, poultry and eggs to Whole Foods must be certified by Global Animal Partnership (GAP), which is a farm animal welfare rating program,” she told The Guardian .
“On-farm inspections are conducted every 15 months to determine whether the farm is in compliance with GAP standards. Unlike the organic program, GAP standards are comprehensive and cover nearly all aspects of animal care.”
Direct Action Everywhere is known for its extreme stunts. In March, King covered herself in animal feces outside a Trader Joe’s store in San Francisco. She was protesting the conditions of farms where Trader Joe’s sourced their eggs.
“The supposedly ‘humane’ eggs sold at Trader Joe’s come from birds who lived their entire lives in piles of waste,” King said in March, according to San Francisco Gate. She claimed Trader Joe’s “mislead consumers into paying for cruelty.” Trader Joe’s denied the claims made by King.