FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Margo DeMello, President, House Rabbit Society
lauren Ornelas, Founder and Executive Director, Food Empowerment Project 530-848-4021
Marcy Schaaf , Founder and Executive Director, SaveABunny, Inc.
Store Manager Arrested Activist for Distributing Information on Sales of Bunny Meat
Mill Valley, California (January 19, 2015) – Food Empowerment Project Founder and Executive Director lauren Ornelas was arrested by the manager of Whole Foods Market (WFM) in Sebastopol, CA on November 16, 2014, for handing out educational pamphlets. The store manager had complained to police, and when the officer did not make the arrest, the manager chose to make a citizen’s arrest.
Ms. Ornelas will be appearing at the Superior Court of California, County of Sonoma, in Santa Rosa, on January 21, at 8:30 am – supporters will be outside the courthouse. Following activists will proceed to leaflet and protest at two locations in Sonoma County.
Ms. Ornelas, who was participating in a peaceful, legal protest organized by the Rabbit Advocacy Network as part of a national boycott asking WFM to stop the recent additional sales of domestic bunny meat, said, “This arrest is simply an attempt to silence me and other people who are speaking out against Whole Foods Market.”
The Rabbit Advocacy Network, an international coalition of organizations, animal lovers, and activists led by Mill Valley’s SaveABunny and Richmond’s House Rabbit Society, has been protesting WFM’s June 2014 decision to begin selling bunny meat. In response, WFM has replied with form letters promoting their humane standards, has blocked social media users from posting comments about bunny meat, and has deleted negative customer feedback on WFM’s Facebook pages.
Arresting a peaceful protester who was exercising her constitutionally protected free speech rights reinforces the fact that Whole Foods Market has something serious to hide in their rabbit meat program.