Animal Activists Face Felony Charges for Rescuing Dying Birds
By Diane Gandee Sorbi
I'm one of six activists currently facing up to 10 years in federal prison. Our crime? We walked onto a factory farm and carried out a pair of dying turkeys from among thousands languishing in a filthy shed. We then rushed them to a vet for life-saving medical care.
The farm I visited is owned by Norbest, a company that sells turkeys in rural Utah. Its marketing showcases a gorgeous alpine vista and sprawling meadows with "mountain-grown" turkeys.
But the reality we found was a nightmare. The birds were crammed into filthy industrial sheds by the thousands. I saw gaping head wounds, turkeys struggling to stand in their own feces and dying birds amongst the living.
During another visit, on a particularly frigid night, the team spotted a lump in the middle of the road. This something revealed herself to be someone—a young turkey later named Grace. She had likely fallen from a transport truck and, against all odds, had survived her injuries.
Grace was wrapped in a blanket and received personal care before a vet appointment the following morning. She would occasionally make eye contact, accompanied by a gentle chirp. Unfortunately, the vet explained, both of her fragile legs were broken and she had extensive internal injuries. The kindest thing we could do was to let her go. Her small body was given one last kiss before her breathing stopped.
Grace was a precious individual who was never given a chance at life, like millions of other turkeys trapped on farms across the country. Unlike her brothers and sisters, she was at least shown compassion and a gentle touch in her last hours. That makes her, disturbingly, one of the lucky ones.
As a 63-year-old retiree residing in the San Francisco Bay Area, I spend much of my free time volunteering at local animal shelters. I will always consider any opportunity to help those less fortunate, including animals.
And I am not alone. Most Americans care deeply about the suffering of animals; a 2017 study found that nearly half of Americans would support a total ban on slaughterhouses. Yet animals on industrial farms remain largely unseen, unable to speak for themselves. With 85 million families across the U.S. having animal companions whom they love as family members, our connection to other species is already intense, and need only to be expanded beyond traditional "pets." I've witnessed this same interspecies loving kinship between my friends and their rescued chickens, pigs, cows and turkeys. I have seen not only the cruelty that industrial farming inflicts on the animals caught in its cogs, but also the beauty of a turkey who steps outside for the first time in her life, feels the sun's warmth and spreads her wings.
The vast majority of the public would consider the care of an injured and suffering turkey to be noble act of compassion, not a punishable offense. Yet from "ag gag" laws, to the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, to our crew facing felony charges for rescuing dying animals of zero economic value, our political institutions are systematically weaponized at the behest of billion-dollar entities desperate to silence the truth. The proponents of animal cruelty—and related cover-up efforts—are the executives and lobbyists for companies such as Norbest, Smithfield and Tyson—not ordinary people.
As I prepare for ongoing legal matters, I call on each of you—difficult though it is—to look behind Big Ag's closed doors to see these individuals' fear and pain. Take a stand against the corporate and government entities that not only support this brutality but actively seek to suppress transparency efforts—despite societal values very much to the contrary.
And you don't have to wait long to be a part of historic action. Make plans now to join us as we go right back to the Utah frontlines during the upcoming Animal Liberation Western Convergence, Nov. 16-20 in Salt Lake City. There will be trainings, community events and mass actions for animals as hundreds come together to turn repression into liberation at the doorstep of Big Ag. Our mass actions garner the massive social and mainstream media attention to spark a necessary societal dialogue.
Animals' lives—and in many ways our democracy itself—lie in the balance.
Diane Gandee Sorbi is an investigator with Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) living in Redwood City, California.
This article was produced by Earth | Food | Life, a project of the Independent Media Institute.
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By Beth Ann Mayer
Since even moderate-intensity workouts offer a slew of benefits, walking is a good choice for people looking to stay healthy.
How to Rock Your Walk<p>Walking isn't just fun and healthy. It's accessible.</p><p>"Walking is cheap," says Dr. John Paul H. Rue, a sports medicine doctor at <a href="https://mdmercy.com/" target="_blank">Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore</a>. "You can do it anywhere at any time; [it] requires little to no special equipment and has many of the same cardio benefits as running or other more intense workouts."</p><p>Want to up your walking game? Try the tips below.</p>
Use Hand Weights<p>Cardio and strength training can go hand-in-hand when you add weights to your walk.</p><p>A <a href="https://journals.lww.com/acsm-msse/Fulltext/2019/03000/Associations_of_Resistance_Exercise_with.14.aspx" target="_blank">2019 study</a> found that weight training is good for your heart, and <a href="https://www.mayoclinicproceedings.org/article/S0025-6196(17)30167-2/abstract" target="_blank">research</a> shows it reduces the risk of developing a <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/nutrition-metabolism-disorders" target="_blank">metabolic disorder</a> by 17 percent. People with metabolic disorders have a higher chance of being diagnosed with high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes.</p><p>Rue suggests not carrying weights for your entire walk.</p><p>"Hand weights can give you an added level of energy burning, but you have to be careful with these because carrying [them] over a long period of time or while walking could actually lead to some overuse injuries," he says.</p>
Make It a Circuit<p>As another option, consider doing a circuit. First, put a pair of dumbbells on your lawn or somewhere in your home. Walk around the block once, then stop and do some bicep curls and tricep lifts before walking around the block again.</p><p>Rue recommends <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/exercise-fitness/running-with-weights" target="_blank">avoiding ankle weights</a> during cardio workouts, as they force you to use your quadriceps rather than hamstrings. They can also cause muscle imbalance, according to the <a href="https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/wearable-weights-how-they-can-help-or-hurt" target="_blank">Harvard Health Letter</a>.</p>
Find a Fitness Trail<p>Strength training isn't limited to weights. You can get stronger by <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/bodyweight-workout" target="_blank">simply using your body</a>.</p><p>Often found at parks, fitness trails are obstacle courses with equipment for pullups, pushups, rowing, and stretches to build upper and lower body strength.</p><p>Try searching "fitness trails near me" online, checking out your local parks and recreation website, or calling the municipal office to <a href="https://calisthenics-parks.com/" target="_blank">find one</a>.</p>
Recruit a Friend<p>People who workout together stay healthy together.</p><p><a href="https://bmcgeriatr.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12877-017-0584-3" target="_blank">One study</a> showed that older adults who exercised with a group improved or maintained their functional health and enjoyed their lives more.</p><p>Enlist the help of a walking buddy with a regimen you aspire to have. If you don't know anyone in your area, apps like <a href="https://www.strava.com/" target="_blank">Strava</a> have social networking features so you can get support from fellow exercisers.</p>
Try Meditation<p>According to the <a href="https://www.nccih.nih.gov/research/statistics/nhis/2017" target="_blank">2017 National Health Interview Survey</a>, published by the National Institutes of Health, meditation is on the rise, and for good reason.</p><p>Researchers <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29616846/" target="_blank">found</a> that mind-body relaxation practices can regulate inflammation, <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/biological-rhythms" target="_blank">circadian rhythms</a>, and <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/glucose" target="_blank">glucose</a> metabolism, as well as lower <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/high-blood-pressure-hypertension" target="_blank">blood pressure</a>.</p><p>"Any form of exercise can be turned into a meditation of some type, either by the surroundings you are walking in, like a park or trail, or by blocking out the outside world with music on your headphones," Rue says.</p><p>You can also play a podcast or download an app like <a href="https://www.headspace.com/headspace-meditation-app" target="_blank">Headspace</a> that has a library of guided meditations to practice while you walk.</p>
Do Fartlek Walks<p>Typically used in running, fartlek intervals alternate periods of increased and decreased speed. These are <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/benefits-of-hiit" target="_blank">high-intensity interval training (HIIT)</a> workouts, which allow exercisers to accomplish more in less time.</p><p><a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0154075" target="_blank">One study</a> showed that 10-minute interval training improved <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/metabolic-syndrome" target="_blank">cardiometabolic</a> health, or lowered the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, just as well as working out at a continuous pace for 50 minutes.</p><p><a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0111489" target="_blank">Research</a> also shows that HIIT workouts increase muscle <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/fast-twitch-muscles" target="_blank">oxidative</a> capacity, or the ability to use oxygen. To do a fartlek walk, try walking at an increased pace for 3 minutes, slow down for 2 minutes, and repeat.</p>
Gradually Increase Pace<p>A faster walking pace is associated with a lower risk of <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/copd" target="_blank">chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)</a> and respiratory diseases, according to a <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30303933/" target="_blank">2019 study</a>.</p><p>Still, it's best not to go from a stroll to an Olympic-worthy power walk in a day. Instead, increase your pace gradually to prevent injury.</p><p>"Start by walking at a brisk pace for about 10 minutes per day, 3 to 5 days per week," Rue says. "Once you've done this for a few weeks, increase your time by 5 to 10 minutes per day until you get to 30 minutes."</p>
Add Stairs<p>You've likely heard that taking the stairs instead of an elevator is a way to add more movement into your daily routine. It's also a way to step up your walking. Stair climbing has been shown to <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2211335519301123?via%3Dihub" target="_blank">decrease the risk of mortality</a> and can easily add a bit more challenge to your walk.</p><p>If you don't have stairs in your home, you can often find them outside a local municipal building, train station, or at a high school stadium.</p>
Is Your Walk a True Cardio Workout?<p>Not all walks are equal. A walk that's too leisurely may not provide enough burn to qualify as cardio. To see if you're getting a good workout, try to <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-check-heart-rate" target="_blank">measure your heart rate</a> using a monitor.</p><p>"A target goal for a good walking workout heart rate is about 50 to 70 percent of your maximum heart rate," Rue says, adding that maximum heart rate is <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness-exercise/fat-burning-heart-rate" target="_blank">typically calculated</a> by 220 beats per minute minus your age.</p><p>You can also monitor how easily you can carry on a conversation while you walk to gauge your heart rate.</p><p>"If you can walk and carry on a normal conversation, that's probably a lower intensity walk," says Rue. "If you are slightly breathless but can still have a conversation, that's probably a moderate workout. If you are out of breath and can't talk normally, that's a vigorous workout."</p>
Takeaway<p>By shaking up your routine, you can add excitement to your workout and reap even more rewards than a basic walk provides. Increasing the pace and intensity of a workout will make it more effective.</p><p>Simply pick your favorite variation to add some spice to your next walk.</p>
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