By Mitchell Byars
An animal rights group has claimed responsibility for ruining about $1,000 worth of meat products at Ideal Market in Boulder on Sunday after a teen protester placed flowers on top of raw lamb, pork and beef.
An unidentified man and a girl walked into Ideal Market, 1275 Alpine Ave., shortly after 6 p.m. Sunday, according to Boulder police spokeswoman Shannon Cordingly.
Cordingly said the two suspects “laid flowers on the slain animals residing in the butcher cabinet,” and filmed themselves chanting things such as, “Meat is murder!,” “This is not love!” and “Meat is not food!”
According to a police report, the flowers were “small, white carnations” and were placed directly on a variety of raw meats, including lamb, pork and beef.
The animal rights activist group Direct Action Everywhere sent out a press release identifying the teenager in the incident as Ateret Goldman, 15.
The Daily Camera normally doesn’t publish the names of juveniles but is in this case because her name was released by the organization.
“All of us have compassion for animals when we are young,” said 15-year-old activist Ateret Goldman in a statement. “But as we grow up, we are taught to see them as things. We refuse to accept that, and by laying flowers on their bodies, we are trying to help people make the connection between those products and the violence that goes into them.”
In a video sent by the group, Goldman walked behind the meat counter and placed the flowers on the “aisles of bodies,” while saying, “This is not food, this is violence.”
Direct Action Everywhere disputed in the press release that Goldman ever said, “Meat is murder,” and she does not make that statement in the video.
One witness who was interviewed by police spoke to the Daily Camera about the incident, but only on condition of anonymity due to concerns about retaliation.
“We noticed this girl standing behind the meat counter shouting at the top of her voice,” the woman said. “We just kind of looked at each other and said, ‘Is this a web commercial?’ We didn’t even really understand what was happening.”
According to the report, the employee near the meat counter was told not to interact with the suspect.
“This poor young guy just has no idea what to do,” the woman told the Camera. “He was just trying to help a lady get some turkey sausage and this girl is next to him yelling, ‘Meat is murder!’ I felt sorry for that kid.”
The two suspects left the store on foot. The witness said she followed them for a short while before they split up and “headed into the night.”
The store cannot sell the meat due to the tampering, and Cordingly said the market’s loss is estimated to be more than $1,000.
“People are willing to spend extra money at Whole Foods because they care about animals, but if they knew what these farms were like, they would be horrified,” said Direct Action Everywhere Colorado organizer Aidan Cook in a statement. “We believe it is our duty to make people aware of these animals’ stories, to remind them that their choices have consequences for others.”
A manager at Ideal Market declined to comment on the incident, and officials from Whole Foods — which owns Ideal Market — did not return requests for comment.
Cordingly said that if the two suspects are identified, they could face criminal mischief charges.
The male suspect was described in the report as a white man in his early 20s with a thin and tall build, and with long blonde hair, a scruffy beard. He was wearing glasses, a black beanie, blue jeans, a black backpack and dark tennis shoes at the time.
The female suspect was described as a white woman with a heavy-set build and short brown hair. She was described as wearing glasses, dark pants, a light blue T-shirt, a black backpack and grey tennis shoes.