Outrage over ‘bloody’ vegan protest

VEGANS have targeted a UK supermarket by staging a demonstration in the turkey aisle as they protested against Christmas meat.

The activists were seen encouraging shoppers at the Waitrose store in Brighton, England to shun animal products as they held up plates covered in fake blood, The Sun reported.

The vegan group, called Direct Action Everywhere (DxE), walked into the store yesterday waving placards saying: "It's not food, it's violence."

Standing side-by-side in an impenetrable line, shoppers were prevented from reaching packs of steak, mince, chicken, turkey and other meats from the shelves.

A protester with a loudspeaker then began a speech, saying: "This Christmas time you might be worried about what presents to buy and how to organise family get-togethers, but the animals are facing carnage.

"Around 10 million turkeys are slaughtered this time of year so they can end up on your Christmas table in the United Kingdom.

"Catching and transporting birds can cause considerable pain and distress.

"Many birds may be injured while being removed from sheds and put into crates. Poor handling frequently results in bruising, skin grazing and broken blood vessels.

"Loaded into trucks, piled next to their friends and not knowing where they are headed, no chance of escape.

"Transport to slaughter can be long with birds experiencing extremes of temperature, stress, suffocation and shock."

The protester then screamed that birds are killed at between nine and 21 weeks old, while their natural life span is 10 years.

She described how the birds are dragged headfirst through an electrically charged water bath to make them unconscious before having their necks cut.

"Animals are not things. Lives are not commodities. It's time to end these cruel and bloody traditions. Take the death off your plate this Christmas," she said.

Eventually, a member of the store's security staff arrived and said: "Outside the store is different, inside the store it's people's business and livelihoods."

At one point, the protesters stood still as a man attempted to access meat on a shelf behind them.

Another got into an argument with customers, calling them "intellectually barren".

But many shoppers simply ignored them, walked past and continued shopping.

Eventually the police turned up, with an officer saying: "I am still going to ask you all to leave as you are not allowed to be in here.

"I will advise you that if you don't you will be liable to arrest.

"I am just being polite and respectful. You obviously have a cause you are quite passionate about but you can do it outside."

Leaving the store, the group chanted: "It's not food, it's violence."

They then stood outside screaming: "What do we want? Animal liberation. When do we want it? Now!"

DxE is an international movement with several UK subgroups.

The group says its actions are done to "denormalise activities that involve animal exploitation through nonviolent disruption".

Members of the Brighton group made headlines last month when they stormed a steakhouse, playing the sounds of animals being slaughtered to shocked diners.

They eventually left to jeers from customers who included a bachelor party where the groom-to-be was chained to a dwarf.

"We pride ourselves on exceptional animal welfare, with our turkeys farmed to high standards at farms we know and trust," a Waitrose spokesman said.

He added that Waitrose was Compassion in World Farming's retailer of the year and is also in the top tier of the Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare.

Sussex Police have been contacted for comment.