Protesters egging it on at Whole Foods

Direct+Action+Everywhere+member+Katie+Litchfield+tries+to+educate+Whole++Foods+Market+shoppers+about+the+injustices+animals+encounter+every+day++on+Saturday.+The+protest+by+Direct+Action+Everywhere+was+done+as+a++result+of+the+group+finding+that+an+egg+supplier+for+the+store+was+in++violation+of+standards+that+certify+a+supplier+as+humane.

Karen Lizarraga

Direct Action Everywhere member Katie Litchfield tries to educate Whole Foods Market shoppers about the injustices animals encounter every day on Saturday. The protest by Direct Action Everywhere was done as a result of the group finding that an egg supplier for the store was in violation of standards that certify a supplier as humane.

David Joseph Del Grande

Local members of the animal rights group Direct Action Everywhere descended upon Whole Foods Market patrons on Speedway Boulevard this Saturday in protest of the mogul’s questionable practices, while intending to spark community conversation.

Following a private investigation DxE lead using undercover cameras, the group purported a Petaluma, Calif., egg supplier for the natural food supermarket was in violation of standards that legitimize certification regarding humane treatment of farm animals.

Katie Litchfield has been involved with the group for the past year and was inspired to join the platform because of the impact direct action yields.

“It’s proven effective, and we’ve done more than any other form of animal activism,” Litchfield said. “We are making big changes, and we are forcing the issue.”

She said confronting those in the general public who demand products, instead of battling the producer of goods, is the approach that will effect revolutionary change.

Litchfield further said DxE protests will at least begin a dialog and introduce animal rights to people who have not given thought to the issue.

“Whether their response is negative or positive, it doesn’t matter,” she said. “The main point is that they are talking about it.”

The grassroots protest platform based out of Northern California’s Bay Area was founded in early 2013 and, according to its website, has since expanded its reach throughout 70 U.S. cities and 17 countries.

The group has labeled itself an advocacy platform rather than an organization, because local chapters vying for membership simply need to adhere to the group’s basic founding principles.

Pamela Jay, director at Amity Foundation, supported the actions of the advocacy group. Jay said progressive social change may take time, but protest movements appear to be a part of the community that she believes are unjustly absent.

“If they make a difference for even one person, it’s going to matter,” Jay said. “There has been a great silencing in our country, and we must make our voices heard. … We have accepted too much of what is unacceptable.”

Jeff Smith, a skateboarder from Boston, Mass., calmly packed his Whole Foods’ purchase onto his Harley-Davidson, which he described as a humorous contradiction. Smith praised the group for having beliefs and convictions but said he remained unimpressed.
“I think they could probably have something better to do on a beautiful Saturday,” Smith said. “I think it’s stupid. … Ultimately, if you want to really stand up for something and make a difference, there are better ways to go about it.”

Because of short notification previous to this past weekend’s event, Whole Foods Market was not contacted for rebuttal against the claims.

According to an earlier article by the New York Times on claims by the protest organization, Animal Welfare Approved Program Director Andrew Gunther viewed the video evidence more as “very poor management” rather than “systemic failure.”

Litchfield said violence and cruelty are inherently present on every factory farm, regardless of organic certification. And, the corroborated evidence DxE released has been mistakenly marginalized by skeptical experts.  

“No matter how humane they think the conditions were,” Litchfield said, “that’s just not the case.”

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