Cassie King
Published on
November 20, 2018

Massive Farm Releases 100 Turkeys -- to Animal Liberation Activists Facing Felony Charges For Investigating Farm

Collaboration Intended to Demonstrate Holiday Spirit of Compassion between Norbest Turkey farms owner and DxE Activists


  Actor James Cromwell rescuing one of 100 turkeys alongside DxE founder and Norbest defendant Wayne Hsiung. Photo by Michael Goldberg/DxE
Actor James Cromwell rescuing one of 100 turkeys alongside DxE founder and Norbest defendant Wayne Hsiung. Photo by Michael Goldberg/DxE

November 20, 2018, MORONI, UT – In a shocking and heartwarming turn-of-events captured on Facebook livestream, hundreds of activists with the grassroots animal rights network Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) -- including renowned actor James Cromwell and two activists awaiting felony trial for investigating turkey farming giant Norbest, LLC -- have rescued 100 turkeys in direct collaboration with Rick Pitman, who is now the owner of Norbest.

The slaughterhouse rescue is the result of an unlikely friendship between Pitman and Wayne Hsiung, founder of DxE and one of the felony defendants. Rather than continuing their fight in court, Pitman has stated that he does not support the charges, and the two sides decided on a dramatically different path this Thanksgiving: generosity.

Hsiung, Cromwell, and hundreds of animal rights supporters traveled to Norbest and provided vegan food to the employees of the plant and other locals. Pitman, in turn, released 100 turkeys to the activists in an act of Thanksgiving mercy. The birds were immediately taken to local sanctuaries, where they will live out their lives in happy families. Hsiung and Pitman showed that even adversaries can show compassion this holiday season.

This dynamic with Norbest stands in stark contrast to another DxE investigation in Utah, which also resulted in felony charges. After DxE released an investigation exposing horrific animal cruelty at Smithfield’s Circle Four Farms in Milford, Utah -- the largest pig farm in the US -- FBI agents raided farm animal sanctuaries searching for piglets removed from the farm by activists. Six activists were later charged with multiple felonies, including a racketeering charge, punishable by up to 60 years in prison.

The action was part of the Animal Liberation Western Convergence, which runs through Wednesday and has over 600 activists participating. On Tuesday, Cromwell -- who turned vegan after starring in the 1995 film “Babe” -- was again leading the way, this time it was a demonstration at the Utah State Capitol Building demanding that action be taken in response to animal cruelty at Circle Four Farms, and that charges be dropped against activists facing related charges. Cromwell then led activists to Circle Four where they planned to demand that management open the doors to allow activists to inspect conditions and provide care to animals in need.           

DxE’s work has been featured in The New York Times, ABC’s Nightline, and a viral Glenn Greenwald exposé, and DxE activists led the effort to ban fur products in San Francisco earlier this year. Activists have been subjected to FBI raids and felony prosecutions for investigatory work. Visit Direct Action Everywhere on Facebook and at Follow us on Twitter @DxEverywhere.


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