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Published on
June 9, 2020

SF Board Of Supervisors Votes To Support Factory Farm Whistleblowers Facing Prison Time

Bay Area residents face criminal charges after rescuing dying animals from Sonoma County factory farms
Supporters in blue “Animal Rescue” shirts attending a previous SF commission vote on the resolution    (Credit: Direct Action Everywhere)
Supporters in blue “Animal Rescue” shirts attending a previous SF commission vote on the resolution(Credit: Direct Action Everywhere)

JUNE 09, SAN FRANCISCO, CA - Following Berkeley City Council’s example last December, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to pass a resolution supporting nonviolent activists who documented animal cruelty and rescued animals from agricultural operations. The resolution includes a disavowal of the criminal charges Bay Area activists are currently facing, including a total of 47 felonies. The charges, which include burglary and conspiracy, stem from three actions at Sonoma county factory farms (in May 2018, September 2018 and June 2019). In each case, activists’ efforts to provide care to sick and dying animals were halted by mass arrest.

The six felony defendants -- Jonathan Frohnmayer, Rachel Ziegler, Almira Tanner, Cassie King, Wayne Hsiung and Priya Sawhney -- say the tide is turning in favor of a growing movement for animals, with veterinarians, law scholars, and prominent journalists standing with activists.

DxE says clear instances of criminal animal cruelty inside Sonoma county farms have been ignored by authorities at all levels. With no enforcement action taken, they say they’ve been forced to take action themselves to help dying animals, expose the abuse, and ultimately create a world that reflects the values of ordinary people who have compassion for animals.

“This resolution is the latest chapter in San Francisco’s history as a progressive leader,” said Priya Sawhney, a former community organizer with the Tenderloin Housing Clinic. “San Francisco has many opportunities to take a stand against injustice, and this is one of them. I hope the trend will continue.”

DxE says the overblown prosecutions are intended to intimidate peaceful activists from exercising their rights under California law to give aid to criminally neglected animals.

Resolution text is as follows:

“RESOLVED, That the San Francisco Board of Supervisors hereby declare that the 13 individuals being prosecuted in Sonoma County are non-violent activists who were investigating and attempting to expose the abuses of animals in commercial animal operations; and, be it

FURTHER RESOLVED, That the Board of Supervisors encourage the Sonoma County 6 District Attorney to dismiss such prosecution; and, be it

FURTHER RESOLVED, That the Board of Supervisors encourage the Sonoma County District Attorney to devote the resources that could be saved from these actions to instead investigate and prosecute potential violations of the law in commercial animal operations in O Sonoma County; and, be it

FURTHER RESOLVED, That the Board of Supervisors encourage law and regulatory enforcement agencies in California, including the California Attorney General and the California Department of Food and Agriculture, to investigate and prosecute potential 14 violations of the law in commercial animal operations throughout California; and, be it

FURTHER RESOLVED, That the Board of Supervisors urge the California State Legislature to pass laws expanding the protection of animals raised in commercial animal operations; and, be it

FURTHER RESOLVED, That the Board of Supervisors affirm the commitment of the Board of Supervisors to the protection of all animals; and, be it

FURTHER RESOLVED, That a copy of this Resolution shall be sent to Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch, Sonoma County Deputy District Attorney Robert Waner, Assembly Member David Chiu, Assembly Member Phil Ting, State Senator Scott Weiner, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, Senator Dianne Feinstein, Senator Kamala Harris, and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra.”

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Investigators with Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) enter farms, slaughterhouses, and other agricultural facilities to document abuses and rescue sick and injured animals. DxE’s investigatory work has been featured in The New York Times, ABC Nightline, and a viral Glenn Greenwald exposé, and DxE activists led the 2018 effort to ban fur products in San Francisco. Visit Direct Action Everywhere on Facebook and at directactioneverywhere.com.  Follow us on Twitter @DxEverywhere.

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