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Whole Foods gets restraining order against vegan activist group

By Ray Downs
Whole Foods gets restraining order against vegan activist group
This month, Whole Foods won a restraining order against vegan activist group Direct Action Everywhere barring members from entering its Berkeley, Calif., location. Photo courtesy Whole Foods

Oct. 9 (UPI) -- A Whole Foods in Berkeley, Calif., won a restraining order against a vegan activist group that held protests inside the store.

After saying the group repeatedly "illegally trespassed," Whole Foods filed the complaint against 150 members of Direct Action Everywhere -- also known as "DxE," an organization that holds protests around the country to bring awareness to inhumane treatment of animals.

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"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," Whole Foods spokesperson Betsy Harden said in an email to the Daily Californian in September.

At that time, DxE was planning a week-long protest in and around the store in response to alleged animal welfare violations by Whole Foods suppliers. But with the restraining order, DxE members said they're not allowed inside the store.

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"We are not allowed to even step foot in the parking lot right now," DxE organizer Cassie King told the Guardian.

DxE has previously held actions inside Whole Foods stores. Last year, at the grand opening of a store in Walnut Creek, Calif., a DxE activist posed as an employee and told customers about the chain's "five steps of torture" in how animals are treated before they are killed.

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In its court filing last month, Whole Foods sought to bar DxE from all of its stores in California on grounds that they posed a danger to customers, employees and themselves.

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A ruling is scheduled to be made on Oct. 26.

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