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Animal Rights Protesters Planning To Shut Down Traffic In Hollywood This Afternoon

Could get ugly here this afternoon. (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)
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You might want to avoid Hollywood for the next few hours, as a group of animal rights activists are planning to shut down traffic at Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue with a protest. Zach Groff, an organizer with Direct Action Everywhere, tells LAist that the group plans to meet Dorothy J. and Benjamin B. Smith Park on Franklin Avenue around 1:30 p.m., and then will proceed in a march to Hollywood and Highland where they plan to shut down the street, likely around 2 p.m. or 2:30 p.m.

Hollywood and Highland is more than just a tourist destination. It's also one of the city's most-trafficked intersections, with Hollywood Boulevard funneling east-west traffic through a busy section of the city, and Highland Avenue providing a major north/south thoroughfare that links Mid-City to Cahuenga Boulevard and the 101. The intersection is a clusterf*ck on the best of days, and a total shutdown—even for a relatively short time—could snarl traffic in all directions. Groff, who told the L.A. Times that they haven't coordinated with local authorities, estimates that the protesters will probably manage to keep it closed for at least fifteen minutes.

According to Groff, Direct Action Everywhere is an international grassroots network of animal rights activists. He said their goal with this protest is to raise awareness and rally people to the cause of keeping animals free from harm, as well "send[ing] a signal to businesses and industries that profit off of violence and killing of animals that their time is coming."

The Times report that Direct Action Everywhere activists took the field during the ninth inning of a Dodger game on July 3 to protest Dodger Dogs and the terrible conditions at the Hormel-owned factory farm that produces them. Vin Scully was not amused.

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Today's protest is also tied to the Hormel investigation, which Direct Action Everywhere released about a week ago, according to Groff, who said that the investigation into the Hormel-owned Farmer John's facility "found rampant infections including antibiotic resistance, pigs that were so crowded that they could not turn their heads around, and pigs that were so sick they couldn't escape being cannibalized."

That all sounds horrific and barbaric, but we are having a little trouble wrapping our heads around the act of protesting anything not directly related to black lives at the moment. When asked about timing, Groff said that his activists stood in solidarity with other social justice movements, and that they had taken to the streets to take part in recent protests.

"We stand completely in solidarity with Black Lives Matter and we just see our protest as representing the way in which violence against all animals, human and non-human, is pervasive in this country." What? Pretty sure those are two very separate categories.