A group of anti-dairy activists, including topless women, upstaged Democratic race frontrunner Bernie Sanders at his own campaign rally ahead of the Nevada primaries. The senator kept his cool, laughing off the stunt, however.
Keen on capitalizing on his success in Iowa and New Hampshire, Sanders was holding a rally in Carson, Nevada on Sunday. He was barely a couple of minutes into his speech when a young woman, who could be seen lurking behind the podium during the live broadcast, rushed the stage and attempted to wrestle the microphone from the Vermont independent.
Sanders did not give in, taking a few steps away from the podium, which allowed the activist to grab another mic and go on chiding the progressive Democrat for his support of the local dairy industry.
“Bernie, I’m your biggest supporter. And I’m here to ask you to stop propping up the dairy industry and to stop propping up animal agriculture. I believe in you!”
When the activist was in the midst of her spirited tirade, the audio was cut but the broadcast continued, capturing the moment a topless woman with “Let Dairy Die” scrawled on her bare breasts jumped the stage. In the background, several activists were escorted away by security while sporting images of cows.
With things apparently getting too heated, the video feed was cut off as well.
The activists were members of Direct Action Everywhere (DxE), an international animal rights network, famous for staging disruptive but non-violent protests to further its cause – which is to protect animals.
While the cameras were not rolling, the activists doused themselves in milk mixed with pinkish “blood,” displaying a banner that read “LET DAIRY DIE” to protest against what they said was “the dairy industry’s abuse of female bodies.”
In a press release, DxE said that it timed the protest for the publication of its investigative report into Vermont’s Ben & Jerry’s dairy farms, where they claimed they “found piles of dead mothers and babies and baby calves isolated in small hutches, exposed to snowfall and below-zero wind chills, without food and water.”
Ben & Jerry’s co-founder Ben Cohen is co-chair of Sanders’ national campaign.
Sanders himself laughed off the incident, saying: “This is Nevada. There’s always a little bit of excitement… at no extra cost.”
Carson City Sheriff Ken Furlong later confirmed that three women were booked on suspicion of indecent exposure. Each is being held on $2,500 bond, the group said.
Other actions by the group have seen them attempting to “rescue” farms animals, such as chickens and pigs.