California does a lot of things that make the rest of us raise our eyebrows. This latest piece goes well beyond that though.
Berkeley, California’s Peace and Justice Commission passed a resolution supporting nonviolent animal-rights activists and protects animals in commercial operations. The resolution asks state leaders to stop prosecuting activists who trespass onto animal farms to either expose alleged animal cruelty or rescue abused animals. The recommendation is now forwarded to Mayor Jesse Arreguin and the City Council for consideration.
So let’s put this in some context. Direct Action Everywhere recently held demonstrations at three animal farms in Sonoma County. One of those farms was the Petaluma Poultry farm. Members trespassed onto the farms, set up “medical” tents, and proceeded to “treat” the allegedly sick animals. Activists then walked off with live and dead birds, supposedly choosing the chickens that needed the most medical treatment. When police arrived, the remaining protesters were holding a vigil for the dead birds. Almost 70 activists were arrested at the farm.
The Sonoma County District Attorney charged six of the activists for felony conspiracy, felony burglary and misdemeanor trespass.
DxE, as the group is also known, stages these types of events a lot. Their website boasts of their “animal rescues.” That’s where activists break into a farm, find the animals the members think needs the most care, and then leaves with the animals. They also set members up to work at the farms and perform “investigations.” And, naturally, they stage regular protests.
Can you even imagine? Your farm is suddenly inundated with a hundred protesters. They enter your animal facilities (without proper hygiene practices). They randomly choose animals to “treat.” These people have no veterinarian training. They aren’t animal-husbandry experts. They likely have no idea how to even care for these animals. And then, most appalling of all, they walk off with your animals! How is that anything other than theft?!
So the Sonoma County District Attorney was absolutely correct to charge these individuals with conspiracy, burglary, and trespass! People participating in these activities need to be held accountable and prosecuted!
But Berkeley’s Peace and Justice Commission says otherwise. Because they believe that animal farmers are evil and bad people who mistreat and abuse their animals. And these activists are just peaceful and nonviolent saviors trying to help these poor animals. So California needs to be kind to them. (You can read the full proposal here, page 21.)
In truth, these “rescues” and “investigations” are crimes. And the people doing them are endangering the animals they’re misguidedly trying to help (and maybe even staging this so-called abuse?). Farmers give a lot of time and thought to animal care and animal welfare. They seek the advice and counsel of veterinarians and experts. Just entering those barns without the proper procedure could infect the entire facility.
And as silly and laughable as the Peace and Justice Commission seems, it’s also pretty scary. At some level, this is still a local governmental entity. They’re making decisions and taking positions and making recommendations. That terrifies me. And so does DxE.
I hope these activists will be prosecuted. And I hope law enforcement and prosecutors around the country will also do their job wherever the radical DxE shows up next.