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Animal Defenders of Westchester (ADOW) ~ Animal activists found not guilty after piglet rescue from Utah farm

Animal activists found not guilty after piglet rescue from Utah farm

October 8, 2022

ST. GEORGE, Utah (KUTV) — Two animal rights activists have been found not guilty after they were accused of taking two piglets from a Utah farm and filming the conditions inside.

Paul Darwin Picklesimer and Wayne Hsiung were acquitted of felony burglary and theft charges on Saturday.

In March of 2017, Picklesimer and Hsiung allegedly entered Circle Four Farms in Milford, Beaver County. The farm was owned by Smithfield Foods, a subsidiary of China’s WH Group.

According to Smithfield Foods website, the company is "the world’s largest pork processor and America’s largest hog producer."

Picklesimer and Hsiung reportedly documented conditions in the farm with virtual reality video and took two piglets that they said were sick.

Their action was part of an effort from the California-based group Direct Action Everywhere, an organization of animal rights activists, with the aim to expose the conditions of animals there.

"I don't actually want you to acquit us on a legal technicality,” said Hsiung, who represented himself at trial, in his closing remarks to jurors Friday evening. “I want you to acquit us as a matter of conscience. There's a big difference between stealing and rescue."

In a press release, the organization said over 150 supporters gathered outside of the courthouse in Washington County and celebrated the verdict in what they called a landmark animal rights case.

In 2018, three other activists charged in the case accepted a conditional dismissal, which involved three years of probation and a gag order. 

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WESTCHESTER4GEESE is an adjunct of ANIMAL DEFENDERS OF WESTCHESTER. We advocate against all forms of animal abuse and exploitation, including hunting, experimentation, fur, circuses and rodeos -