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The Cotati-based national nonprofit Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) announced the settlement of a false-advertising lawsuit against defendant Steven Mahrt, doing business as Petaluma Farms and owner of Judy’s Family Farm Organic Eggs (“Judy’s Eggs”). The lawsuit alleges that imagery and statements used on Judy’s Eggs packaging led consumers to mistakenly believe the eggs came from hens with significant outdoor access. The lawsuit also alleges that consumers bought Judy’s Eggs because of these representations.
As a result of the settlement, and without admitting wrongdoing, Petaluma Farms has: (1) agreed to modify the packaging by removing the illustration of hens on a green field, and removing the language that Plaintiff alleged could lead consumers to mistakenly believe the eggs come from hens with significant outdoor access; (2) obtained Certified Humane certification (which includes a minimum animal welfare requirements) without changes to its facilities; and (3) agreed to donate $14,666.67 to Sonoma Humane Society for hen rescue efforts, $14,666.67 to the Public Justice Foundation to provide assistance to the victims of consumer fraud and false advertising, and $14,666.66 to Consumer Action to provide assistance to the victims of consumer fraud and false advertising.
After several months of litigation and extensive negotiations, the parties agreed to settle the lawsuit on an individual basis rather than as a class action. Petaluma Farms will also provide $1,000 compensation to Plaintiff Glover in lieu of any recovery to which she would have been entitled had she prevailed in this action through class-certification and trial, and pay some of the attorney fees Plaintiff’s counsel incurred to prosecute this lawsuit.
Read More | Animal Legal Defense Fund
David Hayden, a frontline activist and advocate for animal and human rights, passed away on January 31. He was the primary driving force at No Compromise
magazine and an S.F. Grand Jury resister. David lived in Santa Cruz and worked in Information Technology Services at UCSC. In the announcement of David's passing, Greg Gaither, a director at ITS, stated that David's coworkers appreciated him for his "hard work, positive contributions and fun and easy going nature".
Gaither went on to describe David as a, "devoted animal and human rights advocate and loved the natural world. He had a great sense of humor and was known for his personal and professional integrity. He loved Warriors basketball and was an avid roller derby fan, a sport he liked to share with his friends and colleagues."
In a memorial published in the Talon Conspiracy, a comrade of David's writes, "our movement lost a dedicated, gentle warrior by the name of David Hayden. It would be impossible to summarize all of the ways that he worked on behalf of animals, partly because there were so many ways, and partly because his humility kept us from knowing them all...His passing is a reminder that the best fighters are also the best people: kindhearted, soft spoken, humble, and ready to raise hell when injustice rears its ugly head. We will miss you, David, always."
Saturday, February 22: Remembering David Hayden
Read More with Photos | See Also: Probing the Bay Area Animal Rights Underground
| SHAC 7 Benefit at AK Press in Oakland
| Interviews from Behind The Mask Screening in Oakland
In January 2013, Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) filed a lawsuit on behalf of the organization Stop Animal Exploitation Now, using the California state anti-cruelty code against an animal testing facility known as Santa Cruz Biotechnology. The company “harvests” blood from tens of thousands of animals, including goats and rabbits, and the case is currently on appeal. Last week, the Court denied a motion filed by Santa Cruz Biotech to keep secret the names of those who have a financial interest in the outcome of the animal cruelty lawsuit.
The California Court of Appeal requires all parties in every case to disclose the names of those with vested interests in the case. Santa Cruz Biotech sought to file its certificate “under seal,” that is, to make it secret and unavailable to the public, purportedly because they are “fearful of harassment by animal rights activists.” ALDF fought this request, arguing that the public has a right to access court documents. The Court denied the animal testing facility’s request, ordering Santa Cruz Biotech to file its certificate publicly, and ALDF feels this is a small but important step in the appeal, stating, "as animal research facilities try to stay in the shadows, we are committed to exposing cruelty to animals used in research."
The Court of Appeal will hear oral arguments in the case sometime in the next several months, and ALDF expects a decision on the appeal later this year. The organization is confident that they will be able to hold the testing facility accountable for its illegal neglect and mistreatment of sick and injured animals.
Read More | Animal Legal Defense Fund | Stop Animal Exploitation NOW! | See Also: The HSUS Applauds USDA Citations Against Animal Testing Facility Santa Cruz Biotechnology
Previous Coverage: Federal Investigations Reveal Severe Neglect of Animals at Santa Cruz Biotechnology
Animal rights activists demonstrated at the Chipotle Restaurant on River Street in Santa Cruz on January 24. A letter was delivered to the manager without notice reminding the company of the abuses animals farmed for food experience. It was a public delivery for patrons to witness.
The demonstration was part of an international campaign
organized by Direct Action Everywhere, which released the following statement: "....on the weekend of January 25, activists all over the country will rally in this new year to see that Chipotle's broken promise is redeemed. We will show the world that the corporation has broken its founding promise: to serve food with integrity. And we will march into stores all over the country to deliver to the corporation's management a simple letter and message: Redeem your broken promise. It's not food. It's violence."
According to Direct Action Everywhere, standard practices at Chipotle's “natural” farms involve brutal exploitation: chickens are painfully debeaked with a searing blade; baby calves are torn from their crying mothers and killed; and pigs have as little as five square feet of space to live, with a 300 pound individuals stuffed into a space shorter than the length of a human arm. Direct Action Everywhere believes the company is engaged in consumer fraud about this exploitation, calling it “humane washing” – marketing that disguises the violent reality of animal agriculture. Chipotle has produced ads that are filled with pictures of happy cows in grassy fields, as well as videos showing employees freeing pigs from factory farms into sunlit forests.
View Photos | An Open Letter to Chipotle | Chipotle's Seven Deadly Sins | Direct Action Everywhere
On October 5, the eighth U.S. fur farm raid since July saw 2,000 mink freed from a farm in New Holstein, Wisconsin. Wisconsin is the largest fur farming state in the U.S., killing over 1 million mink annually. This raid is the first release of animals in the state in nearly 15 years. Cages were opened and 2,000 of the farm's reported 5,000 mink were released. Across the U.S., over 10,000 animals have been released since July — a level of activity not seen since the late 1990s. The latest raid also marks the 100th (known) release of animals from a fur farm since the Animal Liberation Front officially began it's fur farm campaign in 1995. A single release of foxes was reported in Oregon in 1986, before this tactic was widespread.
The ALF appears to be targeting newly discovered farms, with six of the eight farms visited this summer having been made public in the last two years. The address for Bolander Furs was first made public in 2012, after a list of 60 previously unknown fur farms surfaced
. Sites like Coalition Against Fur Farms
and Final Nail
track changes in the fur industry, including posting addresses of farms as they become known.
2,000 mink released in Wisconsin, latest in massive ALF campaign |
Seventh Fur Farm Rescue This Summer: ALF Releases Up to 300 Mink in Ohio |
Hundreds of Mink Released in Pennsylvania; Sixth Fur Farm Rescue This Summer |
Fur Auction House Executive's Home Attacked |
Two animal rights activists arrested with "burglary tools" in rural Illinois |
2,000 mink released in Illinois |
San Francisco fur shop vandalized |
Minneapolis fur store windows smashed |
Bobcat Freed from Decrepit Fur Farm in Montana |
Furs By Graf Heavily Targeted By Activists |
Marin Sun Farms sabotage
The first-ever lawsuit against an animal research lab under California's cruelty and unfair competition laws was filed in early January in a complaint with the California Superior Court of Santa Cruz County against Santa Cruz Biotechnology, Inc., for violating state animal cruelty and unfair competition laws by failing to properly care for their animals according to numerous Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service (APHIS) inspections.
Santa Cruz Biotech operates a 200-acre animal research facility in Santa Cruz, where it confines 10,000 goats and 5,000 rabbits. National nonprofit Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) filed the suit on behalf of Stop Animal Exploitation Now (SAEN). APHIS investigations have documented multiple violations over the past six years at Santa Cruz Biotech, and have repeatedly cited the corporation for unlawful neglect of goats. Emaciated and severely malnourished animals were discovered with untreated skin conditions and painful respiratory ailments, and one goat had an untreated broken leg.
“Thousands of animals are suffering from illegal neglect and abuse in this lab to bolster corporate profits. Allowing Santa Cruz Biotech to get away with breaking the law and harming animals sets a dangerous precedent for the safety of all animals exploited in testing facilities,” said Stephen Wells, executive director of ALDF.
Read More | Santa Cruz Biotech Lies to USDA Inspectors, Hiding 841 Animals | Animal Welfare Institute Requests Action from Federal Agencies
On June 27th, George Cadman interviewed local activist and best-selling author John Robbins
about his latest book, No Happy Cows: Dispatches From the Front Lines of the Food Revolution
John and George talked about the revolving door between Big Ag and government agencies like the FDA, the rising cost of healthcare in the United States, the predatory ad campaigns that are directed at children by big fast food companies and the misleading "Happy Cows" advertising campaign of the California Milk Advisory Board.
They also discussed the many ways in which people can make healthier choices for the environment, their communities and their own health.
Listen to the Interview
At least two individuals have been subpoenaed to a federal grand jury that appears to be investigating a fire set at the home of a UC Santa Cruz animal researcher
in 2008. There was no claim of responsibility for the fire, and there is no evidence activists were responsible. Nonetheless, the incident became the impetus
for the "AETA 4
" case, which saw the indictment of four Bay Area activists before charges were dismissed
One of the people subpoenaed, José Palafox
, said, "I was approached by two FBI agents at the BART Station at 19th and Broadway in Oakland. They asked my name, identified themselves as Carrie and Matt from the FBI, and served me a subpoena to testify before a federal Grand Jury. They informed me that I had been served and left without asking me any other questions….
"I know nothing about the Santa Cruz action but believe this is a political prosecution and part of a government attempt to gather information on activists, specifically involved in the animal rights movement."
In addition to Palafox
, at least one other person has been subpoenaed, and another received a visit from the FBI.
Read More | Statement by José Palafox
Demonstrations have been held at circuses in the Bay Area and Central Valley since 1988. Animal liberation activists have had to fight in the courts after wrongful arrests outside of circus venues while they were educating those who would patronize the circuses and documenting the treatment of elephants and other circus animals. The numbers of protesters at local circuses have grown over the years, with nearly 300 demonstrating at the Oakland Arena last year.
On August 17th, opening night of the 2011 Ringling Brothers Circus in San Jose, nearly a hundred activists gathered to protest and to inform circus-goers about the cruelty involved when wild animals are forced to live in small cages and perform for audiences across the country. Ringling Brothers has a history of maltreating the animals under its care, from physically abusing them as part of their training to failing to adequately meet basic medical needs. At least one human family was seen rethinking their decision to attend the circus and left shortly after having received educational materials from demonstrators. Thousands of handbills and pamphlets were distributed, giving attendees a lot to think about before they ever possibly return to the circus.
Animal activists encourage others to help keep the heat on Ringling and its parent company, Feld Entertainment, to drop the use of animals in their live shows. Demonstrations are planned for Ringling Brothers appearances in San Francisco and Oakland from September 1st through 11th
. Ringling Bros will be stopping in Sacramento later in the month.
Photos & SF/Oakland Schedule |
Previous Related Indybay Features from 2005:
Bay Area Protests Against Ringling Bros Circus |
Fresno Animal Activists Defy Arrests/Intimidation