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Six Animal Rights Activists Charged With Felonies for Investigation and Rescue That Led to Punishment of a Utah Turkey Farm

“In my 20 years of investigating animal abuse, I’ve never seen conditions this horrifying at a corporate farm.”

"The mass or indiscriminate use of antibiotics by industrial farms poses a severe danger to the public health, since it breeds antibiotic-resistant bacteria into the human food supply." (Photo: Human Society of the United States)

"The mass or indiscriminate use of antibiotics by industrial farms poses a severe danger to the public health, since it breeds antibiotic-resistant bacteria into the human food supply." (Photo: Screenshot)

Six animal rights activists are facing felony charges, filed on Wednesday by a Utah prosecutor, stemming from an undercover investigation into abusive conditions on a large turkey farm. The criminal complaint includes two felony theft charges that carry possible prison terms of five years each.

The six defendants include Diane Gandee Sordi, 62, a retiree who spends most of her time volunteering at animal shelters; Andrew Sharo, 24, a Ph.D. student in the biophysics program at Berkeley; and Wayne Hsiung, a lawyer and lead investigator.

In January 2017, the six activists entered a farm in Moroni, Utah, that supplies turkeys to Norbest, a large company that aggressively markets itself to the public as selling “mountain-grown” turkeys who are treated with particularly humane care. Its marketing materials feature bucolic photographs of Utah nature, designed to create an image that its turkeys are raised in fresh and healthy natural settings, accompanied by assurances that its “practices are humane” and ethical, “with the health and comfort of the birds of paramount importance.”

What the activists found at the farm was something radically different: tens of thousands of turkeys crammed inside filthy industrial barns, virtually on top of one another. The activists say the animals were suffering from diseases, infections, open wounds, and injuries sustained by pecking and trampling one another. Countless chicks and adult turkeys were barely able to stand, or were lying in their own waste, close to death.

They also say that, as a result of the filth in these barns, hepatitis and other viral diseases were rampant and spreading throughout the flock, which in turn caused the farm to put various antibiotics, including penicillin, into the barns’ water supply.

Read the rest of the this article, with possible updates, at The Intercept.

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Glenn Greenwald

Glenn Greenwald

Glenn Greenwald is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, constitutional lawyer, commentator, author of three New York Times best-selling books on politics and law, and a staff writer and editor at First Look media. His fifth and latest book is, No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State, about the U.S. surveillance state and his experiences reporting on the Snowden documents around the world. Prior to his collaboration with Pierre Omidyar, Glenn’s column was featured at Guardian US and Salon.  His previous books include: With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law Is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the PowerfulGreat American Hypocrites: Toppling the Big Myths of Republican PoliticsA Tragic Legacy: How a Good vs. Evil Mentality Destroyed the Bush Presidency, and How Would a Patriot Act? Defending American Values from a President Run Amok. He is the recipient of the first annual I.F. Stone Award for Independent Journalism, a George Polk Award, and was on The Guardian team that won the Pulitzer Prize for public interest journalism in 2014.

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