It’s rarely a lose-lose situation when activists get caught in the act. While getting stuck with some jail time may prove inconvenient, it’s often a platform for martyrdom for their cause.
After days of discussion, California’s Sonoma County Superior Court Judge Laura Passaglia slapped a high-profile animal rights activist on the wrist with 90 days in jail, followed by an additional two years of probation for his trespassing and conspiracy convictions.
Wayne Hsiung, animal rights activist, lawyer, and co-founder of the group Direct Action Everywhere, was convicted in November for his extreme antics on poultry farms, and faced up to three years in jail for his convictions.
Hsiung will serve his time in the Sonoma County Jail. In an attempt to curb future actions, the judge ordered that after release, he would not be allowed within 50 yards of poultry farms. Hsiung is also prohibited from working with co-conspirators and cannot enter any animal feeding operations without permission.
All of those orders make sense … with people who abide by the law in the first place.
The charges against Hsiung came after protests at Sunrise Farms in May 2018 and Reichardt Duck Farms in June 201i.
During the protests, hundreds of animal welfare activists entered the properties and “rescued” poultry that the activists claimed were being mistreated. At Reichardt facility break-in, activists turned off machines and locked themselves to equipment.
Hsiung represented himself in court, arguing that his intentions were not criminal but aimed at raising awareness about the modern poultry industry. Passaglia disagreed, telling Hsiung that what he did was not activism, but breaking the law.
Sonoma County Deputy District Attorney Robert Waner told Passaglia that the almost six-year case was not about limiting free speech or activism but reckless and dangerous behavior.
According to other sources, three additional extremists who were involved with Hsiung’s crimes were also arrested: Zoe Rosenberg, Conrad de Jesus, and Rocky Chau.
»Related: Animal welfare vs. animal rights: What’s the difference?