I was wrongfully arrested and spent 3 days in jail...
What Happens On Reichardt Duck Farms?
One million birds are bred into existence every year. The company boasts that they are able to “bring their internationally known birds to market in 40 days or less.” Therefore, they murder 1 million baby ducks every year. The life of these innocent beings before their day of slaughter is miserable at best. Right after they are born, they have their faces mutilated by burning off their beaks with no anesthetic. They do this because they plan on cramming so many ducks into a confined space and they want to prevent the ducks from pecking each other. Many of the ducks die in their first week of life because they are unable to get off their back and access food or water. To clarify they are unable to access water to drink. The millions of waterfowl family members will NEVER have access to water to swim or bathe in, as their bodies were designed to. They also may die in their first days off life because their fragile bodies are handled as if they are not fragile and their necks are easily broken. There is footage of ducks having their necks broken and then being thrown into a dumpster, some likely still alive.
The ones who do survive live a very painful life, struggling to walk on metal wire floors so that their excrement can fall through the slats. They are overcrowded from birth to death, in every stage of the process. The lack of space they are given puts them in danger, as they are unable to access necessities and once they fall ill, are often accidentally trampled by their family members. Many of the ducks at Reichardt farms also carry disease, which is more easily spread due to their horrid living conditions. This farm slaughters one million birds each year. The amount of incidental deaths is unknown…
When the day comes for their suffering to finally end at just 40 days old, these birds have a last day on earth that you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy. They are filled with fear. They know what is about to happen. They can smell death in the air. They run away and try to hide, but are unable to escape the hands of the farm workers. They are hung by their feet to metal clips that will carry them all the way through to their deaths. They will first be dunked into an electric water bath in hopes of being knocked unconscious before having their throat slit. This bath doesn’t work every time and some of the ducks get a knife to their throat, totally aware of what is happening and suffering pain until their very last breath.
Once the ducks have been killed, there is no time wasted. They remain on the very same assembly line, dangling by their feet. They then have their feathers plucked, their head decapitated, and lastly their feet chopped off.
On Monday, June 3 I went to Reichardt Duck Farm in Petaluma, CA with 600+ other activists to pay respect to the thousands of ducks that would be slaughtered that day. We held our demonstration on public property, but the police arrived before many of us did. They blocked off the street a mile from the farm and told the other activists they were not allowed to approach and they would be arrested if they crossed the yellow tape. A hundred of us who had already made it to the farm walked a mile back together. We created a human chain and wrapped ourselves around the activists who wanted to come to the protest. We then marched forward through the yellow tape. Though the cops told us we would be arrested for going back over the line, they were just bluffing and no one got arrested in this instance. People power is a real thing; a very special thing. We were able to get all of the activists over the line and we all walked back to the farm together.
What awaited us there was devastating. Though the farm’s website says “The Farm is situated in one of the finest agricultural regions in Northern California. The light ocean breezes, cooling overnight fog and fresh environment provides the perfect climate for raising our ducks. “ it couldn’t have been farther from the truth. Death was in the air. The smell emanating from this place was so awful, I could hardly breath. There were several activists chained to the across the entryway to the farm. Theyeach held dead ducks in their laps, and most of them had tears running down their face. The ducks were found on property in a garbage bin, some had just died and others had been dead for days.
We learned that there were activists inside the slaughterhouse that had chained themselves to the slaughter line machinery, but that one of the farm workers turned the machine back on and almost killed an activist. He was unable to breath, as he was wedged between two pieces of metal. We learned that the police were not investigating this. We learned that nothing was being done to anyone that worked on the farm because t was apparent there were powerful corporate interests at play with deep ties to the government.
“If you want to know where you would have stood on slavery before the Civil War, don’t look at where you stand on slavery today. Look at where you stand on animal rights.”
Our group remained chained to the entrance because we had two simple requests: We wanted to be allowed to go in and rescue the sick and dying animals. We brought a licensed veterinarian on site to help. We also wanted the farm to be held accountable to the law. They were breaking the animal cruelty laws, as many of their ducks were severely wounded, starving to death, too weak to walk, etc. The police had been notified about the abuse and negligence and seen undercover footage from the inside of these offenses for the past 6 years. The authorities had done nothing to make matters better for the animals in all that time. They instead ignored the evidence and protected the farm. That day, they ignored the dead ducks on the laps of peaceful people and instead decided to arrest the people who were trying to uphold the law and save the animals.
We stood outside in the beating sun for hours. More and more police showed up throughout the morning, many dressed in full riot gear, including tear gas and masks. When it was apparent that the police were not going to uphold the law but rather arrest those standing up for justice, around 60 more activists sat down in front of the people chained to the gate.
As I watched those join in solidarity, I just felt like I didn’t have a choice to stand idly by as so much injustice was happening in front of my eyes. I took my backpack off, removed my jewelry, wrote down a couple phone numbers, and then did the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. I leaned down and gave my dog Luca a kiss before handing him to a new friend I had made and ran over to the gate to sit down with the 80 other brave souls I would very soon consider my family.
For those of you who know me, you know that I’m a perfectionist. You know that I have a bright future ahead of me and that risking arrest goes against everything I thought I believed in. As I sat on the ground in front of the slaughterhouse, thoughts of my future did not enter my mind. I knew I was in the right place, at the right time. I knew that nothing else mattered in this moment. If I could be arrested for sitting on public property, asking the police to do their job, then I SHOULD to be arrested for this so that our broken system could be brought to the light and that WE THE PEOPLE could start to mend the catastrophic, corrupt government. It wasn’t just me who saw things this way. It was young women, young men, old women, old men, grandmothers, children, a mother and daughter, doctors, teachers, advertisers, businessmen, writers, and full-time activists who were willing to lay their freedom on the line for JUSTICE.
To my family and friends who still eat meat, dairy, or eggs please know that I did not go to jail for three days because I am against the owners or workers at Reichardt Duck Farms. I sat down in support of Animal Liberation EVERYWHERE. I am not fighting against the large corporations I am fighting for the consumer to wake up. Consumers WAKE UP. I’m begging you to stop contributing to the violence. Every animal deserves to live. No animal deserves to be bred into this world to die. When you buy meat, dairy, or eggs you are going against everything I stand for and if you truly check in with and educate yourself, you are going against everything YOU believe in.
I do not judge you. I do not hate you. I am just asking you to learn that things are not as they seem. You have been lied to. When you find out the truth, amazing changes will happen in your life and the lives of others.
I spent 50 hours in jail. Will you spend 2 hours educating yourself?
****Go to www.watchdominion.com and learn about why I am a vegan and why you should be one too. ****
Until every animal is free,