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.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Hounded, Cowed, & Badgered:
A blog on U.S. law and nonhuman animals


Wegmans activist gets six months jail

Contrary to defense counsel's earlier predictions, animal activist Adam Durand has been sentenced to six months in jail for entering an egg facility run by Wegmans. (Hat tip: AAFL.) An account by Jim Miller of the Finger Lakes Times sketches out the sentencing pronouncement, which is replete with the sort of intemperate language appellate criminal defense like to see when reading records, but which rarely win relief. The court specifically mentions Durand's "political agenda" and likens him to Hester Prynne. (She'd face a max of 3 months. N.Y. Penal Law 255.17, 70.15.) The judge obviously didn't like the justification defense at trial and cited Durand's "arrogant and self-righteous statements" as an aggravating factor.

The court further stated that Durand should have gone to the authorities if he suspected chickens were being mistreated. Journalist Miller supplies that the D.A.'s office investigated and found no cruelty. Surprise! The text of New York's cruelty law does not appear to prohibit factory farm conditions. Unlike many states, which explicitly exclude common agricultural practices, New York does not seem to do so. Nonetheless, confining an animal's movement and failing to take care of injured or dying animals are not within either the active prohibited conduct (overdrives, maims, etc.) or passive conduct (neglect of food or drink). Arguably, the broad equation of "torture" with suffering in the definitions section could allow a prosecution, but name the prosecutor's office that will pursue that case and we'll send them a package of Tofutti Cuties on us. No, the law does zero (or nearly zero) to protect farm animals. A call to the authorities would have been worthless.

Trial judge Kehoe also plays the hypocrisy card (or is it the terrorism one?), speculating about how Durand's entry--and the human germs he carries--could've caused "death [of hens] on a mammoth scale." The hens will be killed soon enough. We suppose this notion could be part of an "evils of the crime" analysis, but it reads more like a message from someone with a "political agenda" of his own.

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