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15-Year-Old Threatened with Years in Prison for Protesting Whole Foods Animal Abuse
Arrest Warrants Issued After Protest Following Investigations of Retailer's Suppliers
March 2, 2017, Boulder, CO – Today, the Boulder, CO police department issued warrants for the arrest of two activists with the animal rights network Direct Action Everywhere (DxE), following a protest at Whole Foods’ Ideal Market in Boulder. Ateret Goldman, a 15-year-old sophomore at Boulder’s New Vista High School, and Maximilian Knight, an engineering student at the University of Colorado at Boulder, are being charged with “criminal mischief” and “criminal tampering”; additionally, Knight is charged with burglary and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Goldman entered Ideal Market on the evening of Sunday, February 26, and laid flowers in the butcher case while speaking about treating animals with compassion. The activists cite a recent investigation uncovering mass violence at a Whole Foods turkey supplier as a motivation. If convicted, Goldman and Maximilian could be sentenced to multiple years in prison.
“Threatening animal advocates with years in prison for laying a flower in the butcher’s case is just the latest example of an increasing tendency to stifle dissent,” said Knight. “It’s clear that Whole Foods will do anything to hide the multiple investigations into their farms that have exposed horrific violence against animals.”
The protest follows investigations exposing violence at Whole Foods suppliers’ farms, including a top-rated turkey farm and the farm that provides the White House turkey on Thanksgiving. Recent investigations into Whole Foods egg suppliers and a pork supplier exposed mass suffering as well. Goldman said she wanted to share the stories of exploited animals at Whole Foods’ farms and inform customers that “humane” animal products are marketing rather than reality.
Goldman and Knight entered the Whole Foods in Boulder on Sunday night with a bouquet of flowers as shown in a video posted to YouTube. Goldman stepped behind the butcher’s counter and spoke about the ideal of treating others as you would want to be treated while placing flowers in the case.
“When I see [animal] bodies I want to place flowers, a symbol of love, on top of them,” Goldman said as she stood behind the counter.
When Goldman had finished her speech, the two activists left the store. On Monday, police released a security camera photo of Goldman and Knight and offered a cash reward for information on them, despite the protest having been public. On Thursday, police informed an attorney for the activists that warrants for their arrest had been issued.
The arrest warrants follow another recent attempt to prosecute a DxE activist, Diane Gandee Sorbi, who had rescued a sick hen from an egg farm in California. The charges against Sorbi were dropped following public outcry in support of her. Goldman and Knight expect a similar result in their case.
Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) is a network of animal rights activists working to challenge speciesism throughout society. We use creative protest to challenge the use of animals for food, clothing, experimentation, and entertainment. Visit Direct Action Everywhere on Facebook and at http://directactioneverywhere.com/. Follow us on Twitter @DxEverywhere.