The animal rights organization, Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) provided exclusive undercover footage of visibly sick and starving birds at a Petaluma, California based Lakeville Growers’ Petaluma Poultry Farm, dispelling the company’s claims of raising organic and free range chickens
Published on Thursday, October 04, 2018
DxE claimed the farm’s practices are a result of the Trump Administration’s decision to rollback a rule proposed under Obama in 2016 to create a minimum standard of animal welfare for organic farms. (Photo: Screenshot)
Lakeville Growers’ Petaluma Poultry, which provides products to Perdue Chicken in addition to direct sales to grocery stores, has built their brands on claims of raising organic and free range chicken. The company’s Rosie Organic Chickens were the firstchickens to receive an Organic seal from the United States Department of Agriculture. The company’s other product, Rocky the Free Range Chicken, was created in 1986 in response to growing public concerns of factory farming and use of antibiotics on farm animals. The products are a supplier to one of the nation’s largest chicken producers, Perdue, which also commercially markets their products as organic and free range.
The animals rights organization, Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) provided exclusive undercover footage of visibly sick and starving birds at a Petaluma, California based Lakeville Growers’ Petaluma Poultry Farm, dispelling the company’s claims of raising organic and free range chickens.
“Our secret camera footage shows thousands of birds crowded in industrial sheds and no evidence of the birds stepping outside,” said Matt Johnson, a spokesperson for Direct Action Everywhere, in an email. The footage, gathered through an investigation conducted over the past several months, is a sharp contrast from marketing commercials created by Lakeville Growers that show chickens raised for the Rocky and Rosie products roaming free in a field.
On Saturday, September 29, around 200 Direct Action Everywhere activists descended on the Petaluma Poultry Farm in an attempt to save several visibly sick chickens from the facility. Some of the birds were provided with on-site veterinary care by the activists. All but one of the rescued chickens were removed from activists by police, and allegedly sent to animal control rather than placed back on the farm due to the health conditions of the seized chickens.
DxE argued that California Penal Code 597e provided them with the right to enter the poultry farm to rescue the chickens in duress. The code states that “in case any domestic animal is at any time so impounded and continues to be without necessary food and water for more than 12 consecutive hours, it is lawful for any person, from time to time, as may be deemed necessary, to enter into and upon any pound in which the animal is confined, and supply it with necessary food and water so long as it remains so confined. Such person is not liable for the entry.” In a legal opinion, University of California Hastings Law Professor Hadar Aviram affirmed this right to open rescue in citing this penal code and arguing in favor of a necessity defense.
The activists were met with a large police presence, including a police helicopter and a bus to transport those arrested.