Activists Who Saved Smithfield Factory Farm Pigs Found Not Guilty

Activists Save Smithfield Factory Farm Piglets (1)

After a US trial, two animal rights activists who saved pigs from a Smithfield Factory Farm were found not guilty.

In 2017, Wayne Hsiung and Paul Darwin Picklesimer were charged with burglary and theft after they posted a video of themselves removing two sick piglets from a Utah farm. They ran the prospect of receiving a five-year prison sentence apiece if proven guilty.

The jury returned a unanimous verdict of not guilty on Saturday night. The trial, according to activists, has created a “powerful precedent” for the right to save animals.

In his closing remarks, Hsiung, a self-represented lawyer, said to the jury: “I don’t actually want you to acquit us on a legal technicality. I want you to acquit us as a matter of conscience. There’s a big difference between stealing and rescue.” 

Rescuing Lizzie and Lily

Hsiung and Picklesimer started working at Utah’s Circle Four Farms in 2017. The farm processes one million pigs annually, making it one of the biggest producers of pork in the United States. They were looking into the gestation crates that Smithfield had agreed to stop using in 2007.

As soon as they arrived at the property, they noticed “row after row” of cages. The pigs had no room to turn in their metal stalls, which were two feet by seven feet. While pregnant, the creatures might live inside of them for up to five years.

They later called the two pigs they saved Lizzie and Lily, and both are still living today. The pigs were sick and on the verge of death when they were discovered, according to an earlier interview with Hsiung.

Their trial

Hsiung and Picklesimer took footage of the Smithfield Factory Farm’s circumstances, but it was forbidden from being shown during the trial because it may have “horrified” the jury.

According to the activists, this violated their constitutional rights and was a part of a larger pattern of improper corporate interference.

Hsuing previously claimed that the case was pursued by the FBI, numerous agents, and attorneys “for years.” Despite the fact that each piglet had a commercial value of about $42.20, this is the case. Following their recovery, the FBI was dispatched to raid sanctuaries for Lily and Lizzie.

A constitutional attorney who has been engaged in all successful attempts to overturn “ag-gag” laws, Matthew Strugar, claimed that “state and federal authorities have consistently shielded factory farms from transparency and accountability.”

“In nearly two decades of legal work, this case is one of the most egregious I’ve seen, in terms of denying defendants’ constitutional right to a rigorous defense.”

Source: “Animal Rights Activists Found Not Guilty After Rescuing Pigs From Smithfield Factory Farm” by Plant Based News

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