34 years Fulton Poultry Processing Plant has been profiting from death, currently
killing an average of 30,000 chickens a day. When the front gate is open, you
can see the birds being roughly pulled from the tiny cages on the trucks. They
are then hung upside down, some struggling madly, on their way to an assembly-line
There have been numerous lawsuits filed against Fulton Poultry
for unlawfully allowing the waste and byproducts of the slaughter to run into
the sensitive Russian River. This place is a machine of destruction on so many
levels, something should be done.
It was 7:00 a.m. the morning of December
8, 1996--- one week before Christmas and a blockade of Fulton Poultry chicken
slaughterhouse was underway. A group of about 17 activists from Sonoma County,
California and some lending a hand from San Francisco and Santa Cruz, blocked
the gates in an act of peaceful, civil disobedience. At the side gate, where the
birds are trucked in alive, we positioned three concrete filled barrels with two
activists sitting in between them. Through plastic tubes they handcuffed themselves
deep in the belly of the barrels.
On the front gate, where the empty trucks
roll out, we tried a new tactic; a tripod. This tactic has been recently used
by Earth First! on logging roads. A tripod is three 20 foot poles tied near the
top like a tee-pee. Three activists kryptonite lock their necks to the bottom
poles and a fourth activist climbs to the top, perched like a bird, waiting.
message to the press and commuters passing by was simple - factory farming and
senseless killing is wrong. At Christmas time we talk of peace, but we could truly
make it a part of our lives at each meal. We should extend our circle of compassion
to include the non-human animals and live far healthier on a vegan diet.
police tried to coax the perched activist, Otter, down. After several hours, the
cops did what seemed too dangerous. They brought in a truck with an extending
arm and a bucket big enough for a couple of people at the end. The truck was backed
in close to the tripod. Two big, burly boys in blue were chosen to be lifted to
the top. To passively resist for as long as possible, Otter went limp and the
two plucked him off and lowered him down. The tripod was soon dismantled and all
activists were arrested. With the tripod down, the trucks, full of the sickly
birds, began to pull in the front gate. The two activists at the side gate decided
to unlock from the barrels.
Meanwhile, a number of other protesters were
lawfully supporting the action in the designated free-speech area, holding signs
to traffic. Two protesters were suddenly arrested for no reason whatsoever. Everyone
arrested was charged with absurd felony conspiracy charges. With the ridiculous
felony charges we were held on $1,000 bail. A previous agreement was made in solidarity
to not pay any fines. We don't want to reward the system for arresting us.
were held in jail and remained on a hunger strike for three days until our arraignment.
It was a difficult three days, but the thought of how much worse it is for the
animals made it bearable. At least we would be granted freedom eventually. Factory
farmed animals endure the horror of confinement their entire short life and the
end result is always death.
Holding us also backfired on the police as we
received much more media attention for the outrageous felony charge. T.V. and
radio reporters came to the jail to get the story from the Sheriff's Department,
as well as the supporters holding vigil outside.
At our arraignment the
felony charge was dropped to misdemeanor trespassing and we were released on our
own recognizance. That night we celebrated our freedom over vegan pizza at our
local vegetarian restaurant. We felt satisfied that our action sent a message
to the community--- a message for the birds.