Protesters reportedly chained themselves to the front of a Whole Foods in San Francisco on Monday morning, prompting the store to close.
The animal rights group held the protest outside of the grocery chain’s Noe Valley location, where they appeared to block the doors, and hung a giant image of Jeff Bezos’ head on the roof of the store. Bezos is the CEO of Amazon, which owns Whole Foods.
Direct Action Everywhere is appearing to take credit for the demonstration. A live stream of the incident was broadcast on the group’s Facebook page, showing activists seemingly chained to the store’s front doors.
According to the post, the protest was held to show support for Rose’s Law, a proposed animal bill of rights supported by multiple animal rights groups.
The post was captioned, “Activists are chaining their necks to the doors of Whole Foods and locking down Amazon, asking Jeff Bezos to support the #RightToRescue animals from factory farms.”
Several posts on Twitter also claimed that protesters, possibly from the same group, had staged a scene at one of Amazon’s offices in San Francisco.
Based on the images, it appears that the demonstrators are hoping to get a response from Bezos.
A source from Whole Foods confirmed the store closed, and all customers had exited. A tweet from someone claiming to be the sister of an employee had claimed "a store full of customers and other employees" had been held "hostage" at the location.
In a statement to Fox News, a spokesperson for Whole Foods said the protest "jeopardizes the safety" of its customers.
"Direct Action Everywhere’s repeated targeting of Whole Foods Market stores jeopardizes the safety of our customers and Team Members, including today at our Noe Valley store," the statement said. "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. 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."
A spokesperson for Direct Action Everywhere confirmed their involvement in the protest but denied that any employees or customers were being held against their will in the store. According to them, only a few of the store’s doorways had activists present at them and they weren’t preventing anyone from leaving.
They also supplied a statement confirming that the protesters represent Direct Action Everywhere and that the demonstration is motivated by authorities not taking action to enforce animal cruelty laws, despite “years of accumulated evidence of criminal animal cruelty inside factory farms that supply to Amazon and Whole Foods (which was acquired by Amazon in 2017). Instead, it’s the whistleblowers -- those who exposed the misconduct, and tried to help dying animals -- who are facing felony charges and potentially years behind bars.“
The statement includes a quote from animal rights activist Priya Sawhney, who is reportedly facing eight felony charges for “trying to rescue dying animals from factory farms.” It says, “We've tried everything to help animals being criminally abused at these factory farms that supply to Amazon. The authorities continually ignore the misconduct, then throw us in jail when we try to help dying animals ourselves. And through it all, Amazon stands by its supplier, refusing to even have a conversation with us.”
Direct Action Everywhere is asking Jeff Bezos to endorse Rose’s Law and disavow the prosecution of “six peaceful activists facing seven-plus felony charges each” for allegedly trying to rescue animals from factory farms associated with Amazon.