Photos: Police Convert Protest Into Drive-By Demonstration

Local Law Enforcement Lets PETA Supporters Exercise Their First Amendment Rights Despite Stay-at-Home Order

For Immediate Release:
April 28, 2020

Megan Wiltsie 202-483-7382

Plainwell, Mich. – When PETA supporters gathered outside the Plainwell JBS USA slaughterhouse on Monday—where 60 workers have tested positive for COVID-19—they were ordered to disperse by local law enforcement, who stated that the protest violated Michigan’s stay-at-home order. The protest went ahead but became a vehicular one. Photos and video footage are available here.

PETA supporters circled the slaughterhouse in their cars to protest JBS USA and to urge it to shut down meat production permanently and start producing exclusively vegan meat.

“Michigan’s stay-at-home order only suspends activities that are ‘not necessary to sustain or protect life,’ and ‘protect life’ is exactly what these protesters were determined to do,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “It’s only a matter of time until the next pandemic as long as stressed animals are packed together on factory farms and in slaughterhouses, which is why PETA is urging JBS USA to reinvent itself as a vegan company.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat” and which opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview—notes that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 75% of recent infectious diseases affecting humans began in animals. The novel coronavirus originated in a meat market, and previous influenza viruses began in pigs and chickens.

Earlier this month, PETA sent a letter to JBS USA’s CEO offering to help with the cost of retraining the company’s employees to produce exclusively vegan meat.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind