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Berkeley City Council Passes Resolution Supporting Factory Farm Whistleblowers

by DxE
Six Berkeley residents potentially face years in prison after rescuing dying animals from Sonoma county factory farms
(Screenshot: DxE’s Lead Organizer Almira Tanner, who is also a felony defendant, addresses City Council Tuesday night)

On December 10, the Berkeley City Council voted in support of a resolution disavowing the felony charges pending against the six Berkeley residents. 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 to attempting to provide care to sick and dying animals were halted by mass arrest. Over 80 supporters turned up wearing matching blue shirts.

The 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 Berkeley’s history as a progressive leader,” said Cassie King, a 2018 UC Berkeley grad currently facing eight Sonoma county felony charges. “The world is changing -- protecting animal rescue, not animal abuse -- and Berkeley is pushing that frontier.”

DxE says the prosecutions are first amendment violations, intended to intimidate peaceful activists exercising protected speech. Activists further claim that the Sonoma county sheriff’s office has publicly fabricated claims of assault against peaceful activists, while ignoring clear evidence, including in a police report, of farm staff making death threats and verbal assaults against activists.
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