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CANANDAIGUA, N.Y. - An animal-rights advocate was asked to leave a Wegmans supermarket in upstate New York after he dumped a pound of scallops into a lobster tank to protest the way the lobsters were being treated.
Joel Freedman said he felt it was inhumane that the lobsters, with rubber bands on their claws, were piled atop one another in the tank, according to an Associated Press report.
Employees at the store quickly surrounded him, sparking a heated exchange, Freedman said. He refused to leave, so the police were summoned. After several more minutes of loud conversation, he exited the store on police orders not to return.
Freedman, a member of Animal Rights Advocates of Upstate New York, argued that lobsters are inhumanely treated since they're not fed and are often crowded into supermarket tanks.
"As far as I'm concerned, I obeyed the law by feeding the lobsters," Freedman said in Monday's Daily Messenger about his protest last week. "I should have been able to call the cops on Wegmans."
Store manager John VanBlargan said his employees tried to explain to Freedman that putting the scallops in the tank would do more damage than good. He didn't appear to listen to arguments that he was putting "the equipment in jeopardy," VanBlargan said.
The lobsters are placed in 42-degree water, an industrywide standard, VanBlargan told the newspaper. That puts them in a "semi-dormant state," making them less aware of their surroundings, he said.
If Freedman is spotted at the store in the future, he could be arrested for trespassing, police warned.