Foster Farms chicken theft suspects acquitted

Two members of animal rights organization Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) were cleared of misdemeanor theft charges after taking two Foster Farms chickens from a truck.

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Jason Morrison | Freeimages.com
Jason Morrison | Freeimages.com

Two members of animal rights organization Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) were cleared of misdemeanor theft charges after taking two Foster Farms chickens from a truck.

Alexandra Paul and Alicia Santurio were found not guilty of the charges brought against them by a 12-person jury on March 17 in the Merced County (California) Courthouse.

The two women asserted that what they were doing was not theft, but rather rescuing the chickens who they believed to be suffering. They named the two chickens Ethan and Jax, and Ethan, who reportedly had infectious bronchitis virus (IBV), died several days later.

DxE members have a long history of challenging laws to further their cause, and the organization indicated that its viewpoints were validated by the California jury. In response to the verdict, DxE tweeted: “The jury has found Alicia Santurio and Alexandra Paul NOT GUILTY for recusing Ethan and Jax from a truck outside of a Foster Farms slaughterhouse. This is a historic victory in the fight for the #RightToRescue.”

When reached by the Bee, a spokesman for Foster Farms said the company did not have a comment on the matter.

Had the two suspects been found guilty, they could have faced a sentence of up to six months in jail. Paul told the Fresno Bee that even if she had been found guilty and been sent to jail, it would have been worth it.

The case brought additional attention because Paul is a known actress. Her acting credits include roles in the television shows “Baywatch” and “Melrose Place,” as well as the movies “Dragnet,” “Christine” and “Spy Hard.”

Foster Farms, according to the latest WATT PoultryUSA Top Poultry Companies issue, is the 11th largest broiler producer and the 12th largest turkey producer in the United States. The company is headquartered in Livingston, California.

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