Right To Rescue

Historic “Right to Rescue” trials could open the floodgates to a radical new view of animals under the law.

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Right now, activists with Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) are facing years in prison for rescuing animals from companies that abuse them. These legal cases present a powerful opportunity to elevate the stories of farmed animals to the public and expose the industry. In October 2022, DxE activists won the first-ever “not guilty” verdict for an open rescue case in the #SmithfieldTrial. Just five months later, we won the second acquittal for open rescue in the #FosterFarmsTrial. These acquittals were major wins for the Right to Rescue, but our work is far from over. We have more trials coming up and we need your help to use these cases to spark a revolution for animal rescue and animal rights. 

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The Ridglan Beagle Rescue Trial

This "Right to Rescue" trial was set to begin on March 18, 2024 at the Dane County Courthouse in Madison, Wisconsin. Eva Hamer, Paul Darwin Picklesimer, and Wayne Hsiung were facing felony burglary and felony theft charges for the rescue of three beagles from Ridglan Farms, one of the largest breeders of dogs for experimentation in the United States.

In a surprising move, just 10 days before trial, the State of Wisconsin filed a motion to dismiss the case. Judge Mario White granted their motion, despite objections from the defense, who wanted their day in court to clear their names, defend the Right to Rescue, and expose Ridglan Farms. We believe this dismissal is the result of pressure and press coverage that made it clear there is public support for animal rescue. Unfortunately, Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne is still failing to prosecute Ridglan Farms for criminal animal cruelty.

Back in 2017, DxE investigators entered Ridglan and documented the filthy conditions and the psychological trauma of the dogs spinning endlessly inside small cages. The team rescued three beagles, Julie, Anna, and Lucy.

While we are glad that these compassionate people won’t be going to jail, we are infuriated that they have been stripped of the opportunity to face Ridglan Farms in court and expose the company's abuse of dogs.

There has been no justice for Julie, Anna, and Lucy, or all the dogs who are still facing psychological torment at Ridglan Farms. Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne continues to ignore evidence of abuse at Ridglan, including from the USDA’s own records. Now more than ever, we need to keep the pressure on Ridglan. Public perception -- and even laws around animal testing -- are changing rapidly. We can’t let their abuse of dogs stay hidden behind closed doors.

Fortunately, local group Dane4Dogs and former defendant Wayne Hsiung have filed a petition with the Dane County Courthouse requesting a special prosecutor to commence a prosecution of Ridglan Farms, since the DA's office has refused to prosecute the company. Judge Rhonda Lanford granted the petitioners the right to present their evidence at an evidentiary hearing on July 10, 2024. Read more in the press here.

The #SonomaRescueTrial

Our last "Right to Rescue" trial ended on November 2, 2023 with animal rescuer Wayne Hsiung found guilty on 3 of 4 charges. This includes felony conspiracy and misdemeanor trespass from the mass open rescue at Sunrise Farms in 2018 and misdemeanor trespass from the mass action at Reichardt Duck Farm in 2019. The jury could not reach a unanimous verdict on the felony conspiracy charge from the Reichardt action, resulting in a “hung jury” mistrial on that charge. Wayne was cuffed and immediately taken into custody awaiting sentencing.

On November 30th, Wayne was sentenced to 90 days in jail followed by 24 months of probation. Judge Laura Passaglia also ordered him to have NO CONTACT in any form with the other named “co-conspirators” in the case, a list including many of his closest friends and one of his co-defendants in a beagle rescue trial scheduled for March.

Right after the sentencing hearing, three other DxE animal rescuers were arrested on felony warrants outside the courthouse. Read the press here. It seems there will be another #SonomaRescueTrial.

You can learn more about these cases at