DxE Activists Are Facing 60 Years In Prison For Rescuing A Sick Piglet From Slaughter In Utah; DxE President, Wayne Hsiung, Talks With WAN

Photos from Direct Action Everywhere

Activists with the animal rights group Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) face felony charges, and up to 60 years in prison for removing a dying piglet from a Smithfield Foods pig farm where they found animal cruelty, including pigs rotting in piles of feces.

The Utah Attorney General’s Office filed the charges days before the organization’s annual Animal Liberation Conference which begins tomorrow on May 23rd and runs through May 29th in Berkeley, CA,

The largest grassroots animal rights conference in North America, the Animal Liberation Conference is “the best place to learn from experts in open rescue, bearing witness and community organizing. Meet incredible activists from around the world, take part in high-impact actions and vigils, and empower yourself to be the best activist you can be.”

“It’s no surprise that they filed this case two days before our big conference. It’s a transparent attempt to intimidate,” DxE co-founder Wayne Hsiung, one of the five defendants in the case told WAN. “But people who care about animals are not so easily scared. I’m confident that this case will just bring more attention (and support) to the plight of animals in factory farms.”

The charges originally stem from the release of a video shot last year at Smithfield Food’s Circle Four Farms in Milford, Utah. The footage documented activists as they removed a sick piglet from a massive industrial shed before “giving her a bath and a family.”

According to DxE, the piglet, named Lily, was sought by the FBI in a nationwide “pig hunt.”

DxE activists contend that abuses in animal agriculture are systematically covered up by the industry, often with tacit government support via laws such as the repealed Utah “ag-gag” law.

The California-based activists charged in this incident include Wayne Hansen Hsiung, Paul Picklesimer, and Andrew George Sharo from Berkely; Samer Thomas Masterson from San Francisco; and Jonathan Frohnmayer from Santa Clara.

Each is charged with engaging in a pattern of unlawful activity, two counts of burglary committed against an animal enterprise, and theft of livestock, all second-degree felonies. All but Masterson were also charged with riot, a class A misdemeanor.

“It’s very sad that doing the right thing in order to save a dying piglet and other animals who are suffering on factory farms is considered a “felony.” Where did our compassion go? Is this really what our world has come to and what we want to pass down to our children? We must fight and work harder to ensure that one day animals will not just be considered property, but have nonhuman rights in order to be protected worldwide,” said Katie Cleary, President of Peace 4 Animals & World Animal News.

In the midst of such sadness where doing the right thing is apparently a “felony,” a generous donor is offering $100.00 for every new monthly donor that signs up during the month of May. DxE has secured 144 new monthly donors out of its goal of 200.

You can sign up as a new monthly donor or make a one-time donation to Direct Action Everywhere HERE!

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