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39 Arrested in Effort to Save Chickens From 'Horrific Cruelty' at Industrial Egg Farm
By Jon Queally
Thirty-nine people were arrested in California on Tuesday after approximately 500 animal rights activists organized by the Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) network staged a non-violent vigil and attempted a rescue operation at an industrial egg facility in the town of Petaluma.
Marching outside the farm entrance carrying flowers and denouncing the "horrific cruelty" they say takes place within the facility, the group was confronted by local police who barred them from entering and later arrested those who tried.
The group cited this video footage as evidence that Sunrise Farms—one of the region's largest egg farms and which provides eggs to Amazon-owned Whole Foods grocery chain—is keeping the birds in cruel and unhealthy confinement.
"Americans do not want to see animals exploited in our food system," former Northwestern law professor and DxE co-founder Wayne Hsiung said. "But when we have gone to authorities or corporations like Amazon with absolutely horrific footage of cruelty, no action has been taken."
Along with Hsuing—already facing the potential of decades in prison for previous investigations and similar rescue operations—dozens of other activists were arrested by local law enforcement after, according to the group, they attempted to enter the farm and access one of the industrial chicken sheds to document conditions and demand the transfer of sick or mistreated birds to the city animal shelter.
As the local Press Democrat reported:
Organizers claim the egg farm is an example of a systemic pattern of criminal animal abuse in California that isn't being addressed by either the justice system or by state and local animal welfare agencies.
"When the law is failing us, consumers and individuals have the right, and even the obligation, to reveal what's happening behind closed doors," said Cassie King, one of the organizers arrested Tuesday.
King maintained that California law expressly allows the protesters the right to provide aid and care to sick and injured animals and to document violations of the state's animal cruelty laws.
"These birds are living creatures, not things, but Amazon and other major retailers treat them like commodities,"DxE lead investigator Priya Sawhney said. "Whether it's foie gras or fur or factory farms, Amazon is shipping cruelty into millions of households across the world."
Hsiung, who was ultimately one of those arrested, said that when more Americans see "what's happening behind the doors of factory farms, they know it's against their values."
But, he added, "as long as corporations control our food system—including sending whistleblowers to prison—we won't have a food system with integrity." He concluded by saying he hopes Tuesday's demonstration "will chip away at their power."
Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Ben Jervey
Drivers of electric cars are being unfairly punished by punitive fees in several states, according to a newly published analysis by Consumer Reports. Legislators in 26 states have enacted or proposed special registration fees for electric vehicles (EVs) that the consumer advocacy group found to be more expensive than the gas taxes paid by the driver of an average new gasoline vehicle.
By Oliver Milman
Two-thirds of Americans believe climate change is either a crisis or a serious problem, with a majority wanting immediate action to address global heating and its damaging consequences, major new polling has found.
By Mark Hertsgaard and Kyle Pope
It's been 30 years since Bill McKibben rang the warning bells about the threat of man-made climate change — first in a piece in The New Yorker, and then in his book, The End of Nature.
Thousands of protestors marched in front of Frankfurt's International Motor Show (IAA) on Saturday to show their disgust with the auto industry's role in the climate crisis. The protestors demanded an end to combustion engines and a shift to more environmentally friendly emissions-free vehicles, as Reuters reported.