When Animals are at Work: Opening Rescues: How Animals Are Mistreated and How We’re Going to Feed (and Why We Eat)
A jury in southern Utah let me walk free earlier this month after I took two injured piglets from a farm in the middle of the night that I had no permission to be on. A shock was felt by me, when the jury found me guilty on the felony theft charges, but not on the more serious felony charge of breaking and entering. We had admitted to what we had done.
We sneaked into the farm one night in March 2017. Inside, we found and documented sick and underweight piglets. One of them could not walk properly or reach food because of an infected wound to her foot, according to a veterinarian who testified on our behalf. The other piglet’s face was covered in lesions and blood, and she struggled to nurse from a mother whose teats showed gruesome reproductive injuries, the veterinarian, who reviewed video of the piglets and spoke to caretakers, said in a report. Given their conditions, both piglets were likely to be killed and potentially tossed into a landfill outside of Circle Four Farms, in which millions of pounds of dead pigs and other waste are discarded every year. Nationally, an estimated 14 percent of piglets die before they’re weaned.
Over the past few years DxE has conducted a string of such “open rescues,” in which activists record themselves, often in daylight, taking a small number of chickens, pigs, beagles and other animals from facilities where they have documented inhumane treatment. In addition to saving the lives of the animals, the rescues are an attempt to provoke law enforcement into pursuing criminal trials against the rescuers — trials in which the activists want to publicize the unseen brutality that pushed them to act.
Shouldn’t the same be true of animals we’re going to eat? We have a moral duty to help the animals who are mistreated in factory-farming facilities, or not to punish people who try to help, at the very least.
I am not a vegan or even a vegetarian, but I think it is wise for people to speak out about the big issues such as industrial scale animal farming because it is clearly right in how they are treated. — nevertheless remains culturally and politically verboten.