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Massive Farm Releases 100 Turkeys -- to Activists Facing Felony Charges For Investigating It

Collaboration intended to demonstrate holiday spirit of compassion


In a shocking and heartwarming turn-of-events captured on Facebook livestream, hundreds of activists with the grassroots animal rights network Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) -- including renowned actor James Cromwell and two activists awaiting felony trial for investigating turkey farming giant Norbest, LLC -- have rescued 100 turkeys in direct collaboration with Rick Pitman, who is the owner of Norbest.

The slaughterhouse rescue is the result of an unlikely friendship between Pitman and Wayne Hsiung, founder of DxE and one of the felony defendants. Rather than continuing their fight in court, Pitman has stated that he does not support the charges, and the two sides decided on a dramatically different path this Thanksgiving: generosity. Hsiung, Cromwell, and hundreds of animal rights supporters will travel to Norbest to provide vegan food to the employees of the plant and other locals. Pitman, in turn, plans to release 100 turkeys to the activists in an act of Thanksgiving mercy. The birds will be immediately taken to local sanctuaries, where they will live out their lives in happy families. Hsiung and Pitman hope to show that even adversaries can show compassion this holiday season.

This dynamic with Norbest stands in stark contrast to another DxE investigation in Utah, which also resulted in felony charges. After DxE released an investigation exposing horrific animal cruelty at Smithfield's Circle Four Farms in Milford, Utah -- the largest pig farm in the US -- FBI agents raided farm animal sanctuaries searching for piglets removed from the farm by activists. Six activists were later charged with multiple felonies, including a racketeering charge, punishable by up to 60 years in prison.

The action is part of the Animal Liberation Western Convergence, which runs through Wednesday and has over 600 activists participating. On Tuesday, Cromwell -- who turned vegan after starring in the 1995 film "Babe" -- is again leading the way, this time it's a demonstration at the Utah State Capitol Building to demand that action be taken in response to animal cruelty at Circle Four Farms, and that charges be dropped against activists facing related charges. Cromwell will then lead activists to Circle Four to demand that management open the doors to allow activists to inspect conditions and provide care to animals in need.

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