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Center Column Archives
The Animal Legal Defense Fund 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.
Santa Cruz deputy harbormaster Timothy James Anderson is scheduled to be back in court in Napa County on March 4 to face battery charges stemming from an incident that occurred on August 13, 2013 near Lake Berryessa. Anderson and his friend Steven Belmont were arrested in Napa County after the incident, and Belmont has been ordered to stand trial on attempted murder charges for allegedly attacking Berryessa resident Roy Powell with a pitch fork.
The Center for Biological Diversity filed a formal petition on January 16 with the National Marine Fisheries Service to protect more critical habitat for the endangered Southern Resident population of orcas. If successful the proposal would extend Endangered Species Act protection to the whales’ winter foraging range off the coasts of Washington, Oregon and California. After several drastic declines, only 81 killer whales remain in the Southern Resident population.
Thirteen-year-old Andy Lopez was killed by sheriff's deputy Erick Gelhaus on October 22. Deputies claimed they only learned afterward that Andy Lopez was holding a toy gun. On October 28, friends and family of Andy Lopez held a Rosario where he was killed. On October 29, hundreds of community members marched to the Sonoma County sheriff's department, and on October 30 hundreds marched again. On November 5, a “Jailhouse for Gelhaus” march made itself heard at the District Attorney's office: “We demand Erick Gelhaus be immediately fired, arrested, and Indicted for the Murder of Andy Lopez.”
On October 5, the eighth U.S. fur farm raid since July saw 2,000 mink freed from a farm in New Holstein, Wisconsin. 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. 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.
Following the acquittal of Trayvon Martin's killer, George Zimmerman, on July 13, hundreds took to the streets in Napa, Oakland, Sacramento, San Francsisco, San Jose, and Santa Cruz. At rallies, candle light vigils, and marches, community members have called for justice for Trayvon and an end to the racial profiling and police abuses that occur on a day-to-day basis across the country. Demonstrations for justice continue locally and nationally.
The Point Reyes National Seashore’s ecological heart, Drakes Estero, has been designated as the West Coast’s first marine wilderness area. In June, supporters of the Interior Department’s decision to protect Drakes Estero charged that opponents of the Obama administration’s decision presented “inaccurate and misleading” information to the Sonoma City Council to win approval of a resolution riddled with factual inaccuracies that run counter to established state and federal law.