Trader Joe’s demonstration.

By Leslie Goldberg

Elbow to elbow, animal rights protesters lined up in front of a Berkeley Trader Joe’s meat counter last Thursday.

Despite a security guard’s plea: “Hey, you guys can’t do this here, I’m sorry,” members of the nonviolent activist group, Direct Action Everywhere (DxE), shouted out for animal liberation one by one, in languages as diverse as Spanish, Greek, Hebrew, Chinese, Hindi, Danish, Persian and Ukrainian.

DxE members from all over the world gathered in the Bay Area for a conference last week which included lectures, protests and social gatherings.

The group, which started only two years ago with five people tossing around ideas in somebody’s living room, has now spread to 110 cities in 25 countries. Why the groundswell? I asked one of the key organizers Chris van Breen.

“I think people have been waiting for this for a long time,” he said.

Yelling out loud is a kind of joy, albeit somber, when one has been screaming inside for years. Yelling feels like an authentic human response after one has had to see the dead body parts laying in grocery store “meat” departments every single week. Yelling is a demand for freedom inside these serene even cheerful places of business that calmly traffic in unspeakable cruelty to animals, including some which add insult to injury by claiming you can be humane to animals and kill them at the same time for trivial reasons such as the oft-repeated “It tastes good.”

But why would activists trying to win people over to veganism do such an “extreme” thing?

Compared to stealing someone’s baby or skinning her alive or cutting his throat, practices common in the animal foods industry, yelling, carrying signs or even blocking traffic is not extreme.

– A Vicious Vegan blog post –

3 thoughts on “LIVING OUT LOUD”

  1. That’s great that yelling out loud makes you feel better about animal exploitation. But I think DxE needs to ask themselves how people respond to being yelled at. In my experience, people don’t respond positively. Another thing – you seem star struck by Wayne. Don’t be – he’s not as wonderful as he thinks.

  2. Thank you ALL for this. I am crying and full of joy to see that there is this movement of people together for the animals. I am a 5 year vegan. Every day I talk to people everywhere about the animals too, but I know that I can do more and more and more. Thank you ALL!! Until Every Animal is Free!!!

  3. Lets talk about rights. How about the right to drive down the street without protesters in the way? How about the rights of going to the store without having protesters screaming at some poor dude who is doing a job and has nothing to do with the store’s policy? I respect your point of view and your right to protest. Convince the rest of use that meat is murder and the reasons for your cause. I can tell you if I was driving down the street and was held up for your protest I would be pissed off. It’s like you protesters are some religious cult with no middle ground. I agree with a lot of your protest. Meatless diets can be more healthy, or meat production wastes water and adds to climate change. And factory farming is cruel. In my opinion your protests come off as shrill and too extreme. I hope no one gets hurt in one of these protests that may get out of hand.

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