Ag Today June 1, 2018

Sonoma County farm officials, animal welfare activists expect more showdowns

THE PRESS DEMOCRAT | May 31, 2018, 6:37PM

After a massive animal welfare rally this week at a Petaluma egg farm, both Sonoma County farm leaders and a Bay Area animal rights activist foresee more showdowns at local ranches and livestock production facilities.

In the aftermath of Tuesday’s peaceful demonstration, where 40 activists were arrested, the Sonoma County Farm Bureau is planning to offer new training to farmers who may face similar standoffs.

“We need to help our members understand what to do when an animal rights demonstration happens on their property,” said Farm Bureau Executive Director Tawny Tesconi. “We’re being asked to react to something we haven’t had to react to before.”

Cassie King, an organizer with Berkeley-based Direct Action Everywhere, which sponsored Tuesday’s protest, suggested that those who share her views will return to the county in an ongoing effort to bring an end to the confinement and killing of animals for agriculture.

“As long as abuses are going unchecked, activists will continue to take these actions themselves,” said King, who graduated in May from UC Berkeley.

King was among those arrested on suspicion of trespassing Tuesday at a Liberty Road egg farm that also houses the offices of Sunrise Farms, a major North Bay egg producer. An estimated 500 demonstrators appeared there, making it one of the largest animal welfare protests ever held at a farm or food production facility in the county.

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