Wegmans Cruelty: An Unofficial Blog

This is an unofficial blog and informational archive related to the WEGMANSCRUELTY film and resulting campaign.

Please see that page for more information.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Trio plucked by County Grand Jury for Wegman’s Chicken Farm break-in

The Times of Wayne County [widely recognized as an unreliable source]

Burglary, Criminal Trespass and Petit Larceny...Trial or plea bargain in their future?

It may have started as a protest for animal rights, but three young people have now discovered that their actions have brought serious legal consequences. A Wayne County Grand Jury has indicted the trio for Burglary, Criminal Trespass and Petit Larceny on Thursday.

Adam Durand, age 25, of Rochester and Melanie Ippolito, age 21, and Megan Cosgrove, age 22.

The three are members of Compassionate Consumers, a local animal rights group protesting the conditions of chickens at the Wegman’s egg farm in the Town of Wolcott. They admit that they illegally entered the farm chicken egg laying houses on several occasions in 2004. They videotaped what they claimed were cruel conditions the chickens were forced to live in, citing cramped cages, and sick and dying chickens.The videotape was released to media outlets in early July and a copy was given to Wegman’s. It was also posted on the group’s website. The three turned themselves into police in August.

Wegman’s denied any cruelty charges and said the farm is a leader in the industry for animal care and production.

Wegman’s also claimed that by breaking into the chicken houses, the group violated biosecurity precautions they have in place to avoid the chickens being contaminated from outside sources.
In the initial arraignment, it is alleged that the Durand and Ippolito used wire cutters to gain access to the manure rooms below the chicken houses. It was also stated that they took a total of 8 hens from the buildings on at least two occasions.

The grand jury indictment has Durand charged with three counts each of Felony Burglary in the 3rd Degree, Misdemeanor Petit Larceny and Criminal Trespass. Ippolito was charged with two counts each and Cosgrove with one count each.

In all, the group is charged with taking 11 chickens. They stated that the chickens were sick and they never intended to take them but did so to save their lives. In an statement at the time of their arrest, Durand wrote that he and Ippolito “...were surprised that the charges were not limited to trespassing, but have no regrets”

Since their arrest, the group has staged several protests marches in front of the Wegman’s Pittsford store in an attempt to get their message out to the public.

The Times has learned that the lawyer representing the group made suggestions that Compassionate Consumers, may have been willing to stop their public and internet harassment of Wegman's, if charges were reduced, or dropped. The lawyer suggested that these were young college students and convictions on such harsh charges was not warranted, according to sources. None of the three have prior criminal records.

Wayne County District Attorney, Rick Healy, said he would offer no reduction in the charges, unless Wegman’s agreed to do so.

Since the break-in at the Wegman’s farm, security has been beefed up and fences and security gates have been installed.

The three will be arraigned on the grand jury indictments and a date has yet to be set for court proceedings.

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