Photo: Direct Action Everywhere
A 15-foot-high clip of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' head tower over the roof of the Whole Food Store in San Francisco's Noe Valley neighborhood Monday morning. A speech bubble that read "I serve on criminal animal cruelty" was linked to Bezos equality.
Antiquity was part of a protest by an animal rights group that claimed that undercover investigations have found cruel conditions in California farms selling products marketed as "free range" and "human."
According to one activist, a group of 150 people representing the Oakland-based nonprofit Direct Action Everywhere, outside the store that was forced to close after people stood chained together and blocked the doors. Some protesters held Bezos masks over his face. The protest is expected to continue throughout the day.
Whole Foods responded to the incident with a statement saying that the group's "repeated" targeting "jeopardizes the safety" of Whole Foods customers and employees.
"We respect everyone's right to express their opinion, but our responsibility is to provide a safe environment for our customers and our team members," the statement reads.
The Amazon-owned company added that stores aim to "provide transparency in animal welfare" and use third-party certifiers such as the Global Animal Partnership to conduct farm audits.
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Newer UC Berkeley graduate Cassie King was among the activists in the store on the 24th Street, and she says she would consider the protest a success if Bezos says Whole Foods and Amazon buy from farms with conditions Direct Action considers cruel.
"We are both here asking Jeff Bezos to reject prosecution of whistleblowers and to support the right to rescue animals suffering from factory farms," said King, who claims to face eight criminals in her attempt to expose animal abuse on farms and rescue animals. [19659012EthadozenactivistslinkeduptogetherwiththeAmazonofficeintheSFFinancialDistrictFormer"Baywatch"actorAlexandraPaulerblantdemonstrants
Direct Action Everywhere says it uses creative non-violent protest to fight for animal rights. They are known for peaceful flash-bullying restaurants with an activist who leads the charge, announces their arrival and then delivers a heartfelt story about a particular animal.
Amazon operates 500 Whole Foods stores in North America and the United Kingdom.
Amy Graff is digital editor at SFGATE. Email their story tips at firstname.lastname@example.org.