Whole Foods Promotes Veganism -- But What Kind?

Whole Foods Promotes Veganism -- But What Kind?

We must get off the shelves and onto the streets

by Wilson Wong

Bruce Friedrich, probably one of the most well-known animal activists today, is someone I’d always looked up to ever since I started doing activism. I’m blessed then, to have both the privilege and pleasure of chatting to Bruce Friedrich a few times now. While Bruce generally agrees with DxE’s use of nonviolent direct action, he vehemently disagrees with our choice of target: Whole Foods Market.

In Bruce’s view (which is representative of many other vegans): Why target the corporation that does the most to promote veganism?

Our answer: because Whole Foods promotes the type of veganism that will never lead to animal liberation.

Whole Foods is a corporation. And as an entity with corporate interests marketed towards hip, wealthy, and predominantly white patrons, it promotes veganism as just another label hipsters can adorn themselves with. In Whole Foods’ worldview, veganism is just another chic product to be found between their gluten-free facemasks and asparagus infused water.  With Whole Foods, veganism and animal compassion are optimised for corporate profits, not true justice for nonhumans.

Make no mistake: Whole Foods wants it this way. They want us to express our yearning for nonhuman justice by meekly purchasing one type of products over others without challenging the purchasing decisions of neighbouring customers. Like the violence Whole Foods so desperately tries to keep within their dark, faceless warehouses, they want their vegans obediently performing consumerism within their aisles, silent.

This is the ‘civil’ vegan. This is the profitable vegan.

So if you want to see a world where veganism is just another fashion trend, a trend people can retire to after they decide being paleo is too mainstream, then Whole Foods is indeed the strongest ally. But if you want to see a world where animal liberation is a reality, where animal rights can’t be purchased on shelves (often right next to the bodies of actual animals) but is instead practiced, lived, and breathed - then speak up for animals: get animal rights off the shelves, and onto the streets.