‘Animal Rescuer’ Sees 1 Felony Charge Dropped in Perdue Poultry Case – Still Faces Other Charges

By The Vanguard Staff

SANTA ROSA, CA – A UC Berkeley student saw at least one of her felony charges dismissed here in a Santa Rosa County Superior Court preliminary hearing Friday involving the “rescue” of four chickens from a Sonoma County slaughterhouse last June 2023.

Prosecutors tossed a felony conspiracy to commit vandalism count against UCB student Zoe Rosenberg, 21, who still faces three felonies and three misdemeanors in Santa Rosa, just north of San Franciso.

According to Direct Action Everywhere (DxE), Rosenberg was arrested in November, while she was “en route to deliver evidence of animal cruelty, documented at several area factory farms, to the Sonoma County Sheriff’s office.”

DxE said the “rescue occurred at Petaluma Poultry, which is wholly owned by Perdue Farms.”

Judge Lynnette Brown, added DxE, will rule May 12 if there is enough evidence to pursue the remaining charges.

“As Ms. Rosenberg’s years-long efforts to obtain enforcement of animal cruelty laws shows, prosecutors are more focused on silencing those who expose animal cruelty than stopping the cruelty itself,” said Chris Carraway, Rosenberg’s lawyer and a staff attorney at the Animal Activist Legal Defense Project.

Carraway said in a statement released by DxE that Rosenberg and other activists with Direct Action Everywhere “have attempted to report to authorities unlawful animal cruelty at Petaluma Poultry and other Sonoma County factory farms—as, indeed, Ms. Rosenberg was doing when she was arrested.”

“While authorities have aggressively prosecuted animal rights activists, they have taken no action in response to the extensive documentation of animal cruelty. In response, activists have begun rescuing sick and injured animals, rehabilitating them back to health, and finding them permanent homes at sanctuaries,” added Carraway.

DxE, whose investigators enter farms, slaughterhouses, and other facilities to document abuses and rescue sick and injured animals, noted, “Sonoma residents will vote on a proposed ban on factory farms, otherwise known as Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs), in the county” later this year.

Rosenberg is founder of Happy Hen Animal Sanctuary, which she started at age 11, and since 2014, Happy Hen has “saved almost 1,000 animals from factory farms, slaughterhouses, cockfighting rings, and other abusive situations,” claimed DxE.

Wayne Hsiung, an attorney, was convicted of two counts of misdemeanor trespass and one count of felony conspiracy to trespass last year after six days of deliberation by a jury in Santa Rosa, again, about an hour north of San Francisco.

“The case emerged from Hsiung’s role in helping lead two mass protest actions in 2018 and 2019, in which activists removed 70 chickens and ducks from two Sonoma County factory farms: Sunrise Farms, a major egg supplier, and Reichardt Duck Farm. Activists took the animals to receive veterinary care and ultimately to live at animal sanctuaries,” according to a Vox story.

Vox said the conviction represented a “major turning point for the group Hsiung co-founded in 2013, Direct Action Everywhere (DxE), which has become an increasingly important part of the animal rights movement.

“DxE is known for its bold, uncompromising tactics, including a practice it calls ‘open rescue,’ in which activists enter factory farms, slaughterhouses, and other places where animals are exploited for profit, film conditions there, and rescue animals who are especially sick or suffering.”

Vox added that “activists openly invite prosecution, hoping to flip the script of a criminal trial by presenting evidence of animal cruelty to the jury and arguing that their actions were not only defensible, but necessary. Success, they hope, would set a legal precedent in favor of intervening to help animals suffering in the factory farm system.”

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