Their Turn - The Social Justice Movement of Our Time Their Turn - The Social Justice Movement of Our Time

Chris Dietrich: Animal Rights Disruptor

December 23, 2015 by Leave a Comment

The News

He has a wife and three kids, lives in the suburbs and has a conventional job, but he is anything but your average Joe. That’s because, several times a month, Chris Dietrich enters businesses where animals are exploited and stages bold disruptions, forcing perpetrators to confront abuses they would much prefer to ignore.

TheirTurn: When did you become an activist? How did it happen?
Chris Dietrich: I went vegan four years ago and became an activist two years ago. I felt that change needed to happen, and I wanted to be a part of it. I started by leafleting, which I still do today, and then began engaging in direct action. Today, I’m an organizer with DxE in Washington, D.C., Virginia and Maryland.

TheirTurn: Why do you think that disruption is an effective approach?
Chris Dietrich: I am passionate about direct action because it’s a proven method. Social justice movements in the past were moved forward, not by those playing nice, but by those who demanded substantive change. Imagine how big an impact we would have if 100,000 of my ethical vegan brothers and sisters took to the streets.

Chris Dietrich

Chris Dietrich

TheirTurn: How often do you take actions like the ones in the video?
Chris Dietrich: Our DxE chapter stages organized disruptions in malls, restaurants and grocery stores at least once a month. Lately, I have also been entering restaurants and doing speak outs on my own.

TheirTurn: In the videos, you appear to be fearless. Are you ever scared going into an action?
Chris Dietrich: When I started a couple of years ago, it was very nerve-wracking, but, like anything else, it gets easier the more I do it.

TheirTurn: Have you exited your comfort zone? If so, what were the circumstances?
Chris Dietrich: I always like to be super prepared, so, when I was asked at the last minute to do the main speak out at a disruption in NYC, I told the organizers I wasn’t sure if I could do it. Luckily, I settled down and found my voice.

Chris Dietrich routinely enters hostile territory to be a voice for the animals

Chris Dietrich routinely enters hostile territory to be a voice for the animals. Fellow DxE organizer Barbara Sharon Glick was behind the camera supporting Chris during two actions at the Howard County Fairgrounds in Maryland.

Your Turn

In an article entitled “Why Activism, Not Veganism, is the Moral Baseline,” DxE Co-founder Wayne Hsiung argues that “it’s time for us to be inspired, not to lonely inaction, but empowered activism.” In other words, if we want to liberate animals, we must take the lead from activists like Chris Dietrich who transitioned from the passive act of not eating them to active approach of boldly and defiantly fighting for them.

To learn more and/or join DxE, please visit Direct Action Everywhere.


DxE has staged dozens of protests in Whole Foods around the country because the company misleads the public by promoting “humane” meat.

Comments via Facebook Comments

  1. vegansfirst says:

    Together we have to end all forms of animal exploitation, we can’t let happen this kind of activity. But Chris! You are just awesome. I wish I were like you!! All the best.

  2. An important message from Dr. Will Tuttle.

    “Harboring the idea of owning another living being is in itself an act of violence. The vegan idea of compassion for all life has as its core this same idea: that we are never, owners of others. We can be their families, guardians, companions, friends and protectors. The move from “owner” to “guardian” frees both the “owners” and the “owned,” and establishes the foundation for peace, freedom, and justice. We are all harmed by the exploitative ownership mentality that reduces our fellow beings to property, commodities and things, whether for food, clothing, entertainment, or the myriad of other uses. It is long past time for us to awaken from this culturally mandated trance of owning our fellow beings, and instead see ourselves as their guardians. I encourage others to support the Guardian Campaign for its objective is to promote nonviolence, compassion, justice and a reverence for all life, for nonhuman animals and each other.” Dr. Will Tuttle, author of The World Peace Diet

  3. Natasha Brenner says:

    I am in love with Chris Dietrich!

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