Contact: Wayne Hsiung, firstname.lastname@example.org, (650) 465-1672
Bay Area Retiree Charged for Allegedly Saving Dying Animal from Costco Farm
Animal Rights Investigation Found Mass Cannibalism, Cruelty At “Certified Humane, Cage-Free” Egg Supplier
February 2, Redwood City, CA – Last night, Diane Gandee Sorbi, 62, a retiree and activist with the animal rights network Direct Action Everywhere (DxE), was charged with theft, larceny, and criminal mischief for allegedly rescuing a dying hen from a major Costco egg supplier, Pleasant Valley Farms, in San Joaquin County. The charges, which come in the wake of an investigation of Costco that broke in The New York Times in late 2016, relate to the removal of a bird who was covered in feces, featherless, and unable to walk as a result of abuses endured at the farm, which Costco markets as “cage-free” and “humane.” DxE activists say the charges are punishment for whistleblowing activity and an instance of the increasing clamp-down on dissent.
“Our investigators are doing exactly what any good person would do: they’re helping animals who are sick and suffering,” said Wayne Hsiung, lead investigator of the DxE Open Rescue Network. “If the industry actually cared about animal welfare or transparency, it would be praising activists like Diane instead of punishing them.”
DxE activists have undertaken two major investigations of Costco suppliers in the past year and found serious misconduct. In July 2016, an investigation into the Farmer John pig farm found mass disease and the use of banned antibiotics at one of Costco’s largest pig suppliers, which was marketed as “natural” by Costco. In October 2016, DxE released an investigation showing mass cannibalism among egg-laying hens at Pleasant Valley Farms, which produces Kirkland brand eggs sold at Costco stores. The increasing ability of grassroots activists to expose misconduct by corporations, activists say, has led to politically-motivated attempts to silence their speech and repress their activism.
“The animal at issue in this case, Ella, was dying and would have literally been thrown into the garbage by the farm. Instead, she is now healthy and living at a sanctuary -- which is what every animal deserves,” Hsiung said. “This prosecution is a politically-motivated attempt to scare and silence activists, plain and simple.”
Hsiung says that Gandee Sorbi plans to plead not guilty and mount a vigorous legal defense against the charges.
Direct Action Everywhere is a network of animal rights activists working to challenge speciesism throughout society. We use creative protest to challenge the use of animals for food, clothing, experimentation, and entertainment. Visit Direct Action Everywhere on facebook and at http://directactioneverywhere.com/. Follow us on Twitter @DxEverywhere.