Amazon is holding its first ever re:MARS conference in Las Vegas, dedicated to high tech themes like AI and robotics. But company founder and CEO Jeff Bezos was interrupted during a talk on stage by a protestor with more basic concerns: the welfare of chickens.
Bezos was being interviewed during a keynote talk when the protestor from Direct Action Everywhere (DXE) walked quickly on stage, wearing what looked like a conference lanyard and holding a single white rose. The protestor said she had been inside “Amazon’s chicken farms,” and called on Bezos to stop the abuses of animals in these facilities.
“You’re the president of Amazon and you can help the animals,” said the protestor.
Although Amazon doesn’t directly own or operate chicken farms, it does buy chicken meat from suppliers that have been previously targeted by activists. DXE has occupied facilities run by Petaluma Poultry and Pitman Family Farms, which supply Amazon and other retailers with chicken and turkey products.
DXE activists claim to have visited a dozen farms which supply Whole Foods with “free-range” chicken products and say they never saw a chicken outside. Amazon bought Whole Foods in 2017 for $13.4 billion.
According to the Humane Society, chickens raised for their meat make up nine out of every 10 land animals bred for food in the US, with over nine billion killed every year. About 70 percent of chickens raised globally live in intensive farming systems, where they’re bred in cramped conditions indoors, raised to a slaughterable weight within just six weeks.
The protestor was quickly removed from the stage, and Bezos looked unperturbed throughout. He quickly returned to discussion of Project Kuiper: Amazon’s recently-announced plan to provide internet in rural areas using low orbit satellites.