On November 30, 2023, the ringleader and co-founder of the animal rights extremist group Direct Action Everywhere (DxE), Wayne Hsiung, was sentenced to 90 days in jail and two years of probation by Sonoma County California Superior Court Judge Laura Passaglia.
The sentencing follows Hsiung’s arrest for trespassing and conspiracy charges followed by “protests” held outside two Petaluma poultry farms more than five years ago. During these so-called “protests,” Hsiung and fellow animal rights extremists illegally trespassed onto these farms and stole animals in the name of “open rescue,” claiming that they were in need of veterinary care.
Hsiung’s charges consist of one felony count and two criminal misdemeanors. As an attorney, Hsiung opted to represent himself in court, insisting that his actions were not criminal in nature as he had the end goal of “raising awareness” about the modern poultry industry.
However, in her sentencing, Passaglia disagreed, stating there is a clear line between activism and criminal activity, and Hsiung’s actions were the latter. In addition to the sentence, Hsiung was ordered to remain 50 yards away from the farms he committed crimes against – Sunrise Farms and Reichardt Duck Farm – as well as being barred from interacting with his co-conspirators.