Breaking! 67 DxE Activists Arrested In California After Occupying “Free Range” Amazon Chicken Supplier, Citing Inhumane Conditions
While WAN does not support factory-farming of any kind, we unwaveringly support the efforts of animal advocates everywhere who are fighting to improve and save the lives of innocent sentient beings.
Yesterday, according to grassroots animal rights network Direct Action Everywhere (DxE), 67 activists were arrested and charged with felony conspiracy, felony burglary and misdemeanor trespass charges following a vigil and sit-in inside an industrial shed at a Petaluma, California factory farm which supplies chicken to Amazon Fresh. Most of the activists are expected to be held on $20,000.00 bond each until at least Tuesday.
Activists cite grisly undercover footage of sick and starving birds that they claim amounts to criminal animal cruelty, a view supported by a legal opinion from a criminal law scholar.
Many chickens were removed from a huge shed on the farm and provided preliminary veterinary care at an on-site medical tent. One activist, Rachel Ziegler, nursed a hen to stable condition before she was ripped from her arms by a deputy and later euthanized, along with all-but-one of the chickens activists removed. The lone chicken who was saved was transported to an undisclosed animal sanctuary for lifetime care.
As per the organization, activists say they took the action to highlight both corporate and government inaction in the face of animal cruelty. Already facing felony charges for prior investigations, DxE stated that yesterday’s charges were another instance of corporate misuse of the legal system to silence whistleblowers.
“Ordinary people don’t support violence towards animals,” DxE investigator Priya Sawhney said in a statement. “Companies like Amazon sell a lie of animal compassion and seek to silence any who expose them.”
Chicken from the Petaluma Poultry farm is marketed by Perdue as free range, and has made national headlines for its supposed humane animal care. But, DxE notes that its undercover camera footage shows thousands of birds crowded in industrial sheds and no evidence of the birds stepping outside. DxE claims this is a result of the rollback of the organic animal welfare rule by the Trump administration, allowing factory farmers to falsely market their facilities as “free range.” Petaluma Poultry is the leading producer of USDA certified organic chicken.
A neighbor, who wants to remain anonymous, said that he had never seen any chickens outside at the farm in the past eight years, before the animal activists showed up yesterday.
“Animal abuse is the crime here, not animal rescue,” DxE investigator Cassie King said. “It’s time Amazon and other companies take a stand for transparency rather than actively suppressing the truth.”
An estimated 140 activists walked onto the farm, holding flowers in their hands. The activists, who donned veterinarian-approved biosecurity gear, entered one of the industrial sheds to document conditions, provide food and water to starving and or thirsty birds, and rescue those in need of immediate care.
Without accountability or transparency, the activists say they have no choice but to take action themselves.