Wayne Hsiung, animal activist and co-founder of Berkeley, CA-based animal rights group, Direct Action Everywhere (DxE), was found guilty by jury of felony larceny after breaking and entering and felony breaking and entering, for taking a goat from the Sospiro Goat Ranch in Transylvania County, North Carolina, back in 2018.
Hsiung, who had spearheaded DxE’s “open rescues” – illegally entering agriculture properties without permission and taking animals to liberate them – had been charged with criminal conduct in multiple jurisdictions. In the North Carolina case, Hsiung claimed that he and the other DxE “investigators” entered the ranch to identify animals that were diseased or suffering from neglect. According to the goat ranch, at the time of the “rescue” the baby goat was living with its mother and healthy and nursing well at the time of its theft.
DxE, which touts its “Until Every Animal is Free” motto on its website, prominently featured their “open rescues” via live stream, including those narrated by Hsiung, in which he described DxE’s motivation to show the world that animals should not be used for food and that killing an animal intentionally is criminal animal cruelty. The North Carolina criminal case had been described in the media as a “landmark” case that could decide the future of the “right” to rescue agricultural livestock.
Prior to trial,