The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Animal Rights Protester Grabs Mic From Kamala Harris on San Francisco Stage
Harris was about to answer a question about her plan to address the gender pay gap when a male protester walked onto the stage, grabbed her microphone and began to speak.
"We're asking for a much bigger idea than — " he said before the microphone was cut and he was escorted off stage, POLITICO reported. He was not charged.
You can watch a video of the incident here:
The protester was later identified as Aidan Cook, an Oakland-based activist with the animal welfare group Direct Action Everywhere (DxE).
"I live in Oakland and I'm one of Kamala Harris' constituents. I came to the MoveOn Big Ideas Forum today because there's one big idea that all of the 2020 presidential candidates are ignoring. Which is that is by raising and slaughtering billions of animals every year, not only are we completely ... undermining our values as a nation of compassionate animal lovers but we are literally preparing to drive our society off a cliff. Animal agriculture is one of the leading causes of climate change," Cook told POLITICO of his actions. Agriculture and land use, including livestock raising and deforestation, are responsible for 24 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency data.
DxE said in a press release that Cook's interruption was timed with a San Francisco animal rights march Saturday. Cook wanted Harris to defend the rights of activists to rescue animals from factory farms. Specifically, six California residents are being charged with seven felonies each after attempting to rescue visibly sick chickens from Petaluma Poultry Farm in October 2018 and exposing conditions at the California facility, the group said.
"Progressive candidates should be advocating for vulnerable populations, not abusive corporations," DxE co-founder and former Northwestern law professor Wayne Hsiung said in the release. "Families of ordinary Americans are being endangered, and whistleblowers who expose criminal violations are being targeted. The typical voter — especially in the Democratic Party — doesn't approve, so we're asking for the party to end its support for corporate Big Ag."
The group said more than 1,000 attended Saturday's march.
Cook was roundly criticized for how he chose to draw attention to his cause. Several social media users pointed to the irony of a man interrupting a woman while she was discussing the gender pay gap, BBC News reported.
Guardian reporter Lois Beckett even asked Cook whether "he had considered the optics of literally taking the microphone away from women of color," as the Huffington Post reported.
"I did," he answered. "I tried to show my profound respect for each of the people onstage."
I asked Aidan Cook, an animal rights activist who jumped onstage to interrupt Kamala Harris, if he had considered the optics of literally taking the microphone away from women of color.— Lois Beckett (@loisbeckett) June 1, 2019
“I did,” he said. “I tried to show my profound respect for each of the people onstage.” pic.twitter.com/uyMpV82lVP
Harris, who left the stage when Cook took her microphone, returned once he was removed as people began chanting her name.
"It's all good. It's all good. Don't worry," Harris said, POLITICO reported. "You had a question I want to answer," she then said, addressing the moderator.
MoveOn later apologized to Harris on Twitter.
We sincerely regret that a protestor was able to gain access to the stage at our forum today & we apologize to Sen. @KamalaHarris. The protestor was removed & the program resumed. MoveOn members were excited to hear Harris continue to discuss her Big Idea to achieve pay equity.— MoveOn (@MoveOn) June 2, 2019
Harris isn't the only candidate DxE criticized in their press release for failing to stand up to big agriculture. The group said that almost every Democrat including fellow candidates Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, New Jersey Senator Cory Booker and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren had approved a 2018 Farm Bill that gave more than $100 billion in corporate subsidies to agribusiness. Warren also co-sponsored the 2018 Dairy PRIDE Act, which would prevent plant-based 'milks' from using the word 'milk' in their labeling, and Sanders has long supported corporate subsidies for large dairy farms, the group said.
- Here's What Happened When I Tried to Rescue Piglets From a ... ›
- 39 Arrested in Effort to Save Chickens From 'Horrific Cruelty' at ... ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Cathy Cassata
Are you getting your fill of Starbucks' new Almondmilk Honey Flat White, Oatmilk Honey Latte, and Coconutmilk Latte, but wondering just how healthy they are?
1982 American Petroleum Institute Report Warned Oil Workers Faced 'Significant' Risks From Radioactivity
By Sharon Kelly
Back in April last year, the Trump administration's Environmental Protection Agency decided it was "not necessary" to update the rules for toxic waste from oil and gas wells. Torrents of wastewater flow daily from the nation's 1.5 million active oil and gas wells and the agency's own research has warned it may pose risks to the country's drinking water supplies.
The mounting climate emergency may spur the next global financial crisis and the world's central banks are woefully ill equipped to handle the consequences, according to a new book-length report by the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), as S&P Global reported. Located in Basel, Switzerland, the BIS is an umbrella organization for the world's central banks.