Corporate giant Costco has filed a federal lawsuit against Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) following in the footsteps of Amazon-owned Whole Foods Markets. They are also suing three of the top leaders in DxE separately.
The company is seeking a restraining order against the group in an attempt to end the protesting at their stores and is seeking thousands in monetary damages as well.
Instead of backing down DxE pushed back by putting out a video on Facebook where co-founder Wayne Hsiung breaks down the suit and its juxtaposition to the conditions of the animals raised for Costco as “food”.
Costco says in the lawsuit that the activist group’s non-violent and peaceful protests are somehow endangering Costco’s customers. Mr. Hsiung says in the video response:
“The irony, of course, is that for years the company has been ignoring the diseases and filth that are literally killing human and non-human animals.”
In 2015 Costco famously committed to going “cage-free” as part of a “humane washing” marketing campaign we’ve seen Whole Foods and other retailers execute to put consumers at ease over mounting animal rights concerns.
Even Bill Maher and Brad Pitt celebrated the company’s “cage-free” efforts but the packaging never changed who the suppliers were so DxE investigated. What was revealed were shocking and deplorable conditions that no being should have to live or die in.
The supposedly more humane conditions consisted of large buildings filled with tens of thousands of chickens many of which were starving and cannibalizing each other in desperation.
Dead and dying birds were the norm found throughout the facilities as DxE documented in their investigation with pictures and videos.
Not even pigs escaped the humane lie that Costco has been defrauding customers with. Mother pigs who were supposed to be raised “crate-free” were crammed into small cages where they can’t even turn around to clean their babies or properly lay down to rest and nurse.
Costco promised to give animals “5 Freedoms” as part of their humane initiative including freedom from pain, thirst, and discomfort. It turns out like many other retailers this was just a marketing ploy to defraud consumers into paying a premium so that their minds are more at ease while boosting corporate profits.
The mutilated, blood dripping, infected nipples of mother pigs caused by the stressful and cramped positions of Costco supplier practices will be the inspiration for DxE’s upcoming protest.
At a San Francisco Costco store on January 9th over a dozen protestors from DxE will go topless with blood dripping from their nipples in solidarity with the mother pigs going through the same because of the corporate giant.
This strategy is to draw media and online attention to the animal cruelty they’ve exposed in their investigations on Smithfield factory farms (a Costco supplier) throughout Utah, North Carolina, and California.
This filing is the latest in a pattern of abuse using the legal system and Costco attempting to cover up what’s happening rather than sitting down to discuss the reality at their supplier’s factory farms. These efforts include:
– In August 2017, following DxE’s exposé of animal cruelty at a Smithfield pig farm in Utah, FBI agents raided farm animal sanctuaries in Utah and Colorado, seeking to recover the two dying piglets DxE removed from the farm.
– In May 2018, four felony charges, punishable by up to 60 years in prison, were filed against the five Utah Smithfield investigators.
– In December 2018, following a 2016 investigation revealing cannibalism and extreme crowding in a “cage-free” Costco factory egg farm, two investigators were ordered to pay over $331,000 restitution by a California judge.
“Over the past 4 years, we’ve asked Costco and CEO Craig Jelinek to sit down and discuss our findings, which are shocking and contradictory to everything they claim about the treatment of animals at their suppliers,” said Cassie King, one of the named defendants, who has also investigated Costco factory farms. “But they have refused dialogue, and now they’re weaponizing our legal system in a desperate attempt to conceal the brutal reality.”
150 billion dollars in annual revenue for Costco is what’s at stake here and that’s the real reason they; like Jeff Bezos’ Whole Foods Markets are suing Direct Action Everywhere. Their broken promises should be an alarm bell to all consumers whether vegan, plant-based or pre-vegan / non-vegan.
“We are prepared to escalate this fight,” Said Wayne Hsiung “exposing more of the companies dirty secrets and rescuing more animals…”.
Vegan News has reached out to Costco for comment with no response yet.