December 1, 2023

Animal Advocate Sentenced to Three Months in Jail for Rescuing Ducks and Geese

Santa Rosa, CA – Attorney and animal advocate Wayne Hsiung of Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) has been sentenced to 90 days in jail, including time served, and two years of probation, during which he will be prohibited from speaking to his colleagues. Hsiung was arrested for rescuing sick and injured animals from two California farms. 

Animal Equality was among the animal protection organizations that appeared outside of the courtroom for a protest and to show support for Hsiung before his hearing.

“Hsiung’s conviction is terrible news for citizens who want to help animals, who on occasion risk their freedom to free animals from horrendous cruelty,” shares Animal Equality President Sharon Núñez in a statement. “Those who rescue sick animals should not end up in jail; they should be applauded and animals respected. This is a failure of justice and compassion.”

On November 3rd, Sonoma County courts found Hsiung guilty of one felony charge and two misdemeanors–including conspiracy to trespass. The charges came after Hsiung and over a hundred advocates entered farms connected to corporations like Whole Foods and Costco and rescued seventy ducks and chickens. While inside the farms, the group filmed evidence of animal cruelty and neglect. 

Following the rescue, charges were filed against Hsiung and two other DxE members for orchestrating the open rescues at Reichardt Duck Farm, Sunrise Farms, and Petaluma Poultry. Charges were dropped against one defendant–Cassandra King–while the second–Priya Sawhney–accepted a plea deal.

DxE’s footage uncovered dead animals among the living and injured or sick birds trapped in cages. The organization took living and dead birds to a veterinarian, where they determined that some bodies had been decaying for quite some time. 

The charges filed by Petaluma Poultry were eventually dismissed, as the farm was found misrepresenting its product as free range. All charges of theft against Hsiung were also dropped. 

Hsiung claims that before the rescue at Sunrise Farms, DxE had communicated with local law enforcement about the criminal cruelty. No further action by local enforcement against the farms was taken.


Animal Equality is an international organization working with society, governments, and companies to end cruelty to farmed animals. Animal Equality works effectively for animals through investigations, corporate campaigns and legal advocacy in the United States, UK, Germany, Italy, Spain, Mexico, Brazil, and India.

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