The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Matt Johnson

Former Law Professor in Court on Charges for Rescue of Sick Goat

Activist Defends Act as Response to Cruelty; Farm Alleges Theft


Former Northwestern law professor and co-founder of the animal rights network Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) Wayne Hsiung appeared in Transylvania County court this morning on charges of felony breaking and entering, felony larceny, and misdemeanor trespassing. Hsiung was arrested June 7th for removing a debilitated baby goat from a meat farm. He says he was justified in removing the goat, whom a veterinarian diagnosed with pneumonia, under the doctrine of legal necessity. The baby goat, named Rain by the rescuers, received medical treatment before being brought to an animal sanctuary.

On Monday, police officers arrived at one small sanctuary in the area, saying they were looking for the goat. They did not have a search warrant but told the caretaker that if Rain was living there she could be charged with a felony for receiving stolen property.

"They threaten a working mom who gives a home to defenseless animals, and I'm facing potentially years in prison, but that's nothing compared to the Rain's fate if the police take him back to be slaughtered," said Hsiung, noting that live animals are routinely torn to pieces at USDA slaughterhouses.

Hsiung said Rain's rescue is garnering this aggressive reaction because the powerful agriculture industry fears exposure of their inhumane daily practices.

A handful of activists were at the courthouse this morning, saying they wanted to show support for Hsiung and the efforts of DxE to expose hidden mistreatment and disease at U.S. farming operations.

Hsiung is pleading not guilty to all charges. "The law should target animal abusers, not animal rescuers," he said.

The North Carolina charges are the latest in a string of unprecedented felony cases brought against nonviolent animal rights activists. Hsiung and other DxE activists say the charges will not discourage them from their efforts to rescue other animals from abuse.

Investigators with Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) enter farms, slaughterhouses, and other agricultural facilities to document abuses and rescue sick and injured animals. DxE's investigatory work has been featured in The New York Times, Nightline, and a viral Glenn Greenwald expose, and DxE activists led the recent effort to ban fur products in San Francisco. Activists have been