LIVINGSTON, Calif. (KSEE) – Animal rights activists descended on Foster Farms in Livingston to protest factory farms Tuesday.
Organizers said the goal was to disrupt operations at the plant in order to make their voices heard.
Instead of rescuing swimmers on the beach, Bay Watch actress Alexandra Paul spent her Tuesday rescuing a chicken straight out of its cage in a Foster Farms truck as it was headed to its fate at the processing facility.
She was one of more than a hundred protesters from an animal rights organization called ‘Direct Action Everywhere.’
The group raised awareness for what they described as animal cruelty, environmental destruction, and worker abuse in factory farms.
“We are also calling on Governor Gavin Newsom to enact a moratorium on the expansion of factory farms and slaughterhouses,” explained Samantha Eachus with Direct Action Everywhere.
The protesters came from all over the country, and as far as South Korea and Mexico.
Some of the protestors locked themselves to a U-Haul truck authorities say the group used to block the plant’s main entrance, leading to 11 arrests.
“It’s when you come onto the property you are trespassing your blocking that company’s right to come on and off their property, that’s when we have a problem,” said Merced County Sheriff’s Deputy Daryl Allen.
Many there said they were impacted by their own experiences with animals, like Eachus who grew up on a dairy farm.
“I began to rescue little chickens and stuff I knew my friends were going to slaughter and said, ‘oh no, I’ll keep them at my barn,'” Eachus said.
Susana Chavez used to work in a slaughterhouse in Mexico before moving to California.
She says she’s also advocating for factory workers. At Foster Farms, most are workers are Latino and were disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak last year, resulting in nearly 400 cases and at least 9 deaths.
“I had to do something I had to say something I had to step up and start making changes not only for the animals,” Chavez explained. “But same thing for the immigrants stuck in these places, most of the workers are immigrants that have no status in this country and for that reason big organizations abuse them.
Foster Farms declined to comment on the animal cruelty and worker abuse claims coming from some of the protesters.