Vegans stage Christmas protest in Waitrose turkey aisle in demo against animal slaughter

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

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 protestor with a loud speaker 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 ten 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 whilst 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 protestor then goes on to scream that birds are killed between nine and 21 weeks old when their natural life span is ten years.

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

Shouting, she goes on: “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.”

Before long, the store security staff turn up and one appears to say: “Outside the store is different, inside the store it’s people's business and livelihoods.”

The protestors stand still as a man attempts to access meat on a shelf behind them.

Another gets into an argument, calling them “intellectually barren.”

But many shoppers simply ignore them, walk past and continue shopping.

Eventually the police turn 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 chant: “It’s not food, it’s violence.”

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

DxE is an international movement with several UK subgroups.

They say their actions are done to “denormalise activities that involve animal exploitation through non violent disruption.”

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

They eventually left to jeers from customers who included a stag do where the groom to be was chained to a dwarf.

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

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.

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