Extremism promotes disobedience

Geoffrey Dochat, Associate Editor

In February of 2019, VICE News published a documentary which followed animal rights extremist group Direct Action Everywhere (DxE). DxE’s co-founder, Wayne Cheung, is the leader of most of their protests, which endorse civil disobedience as well as trespassing and theft. Cheung, if convicted, will face 60 years in prison due to his actions in May 2018: breaking-and-entering of a farm, filming the inside of the facility and stealing a piglet.
Clearly, DxE hasn’t learned anything from the charges against their beloved leader. VICE followed the group on their latest protest: a forced entry into a California chicken-farm
Although I don’t identify as a vegan or vegetarian, I still support animal rights. All livestock should be kept in safe, non-abusive enclosures that provide them a feeling of freedom, and not crammed in a cage in a warehouse. However, I do not believe their rights apply to providing us with a necessary aspect of our survival.
In nature, does a shark not eat a fish? A lion not eat a zebra? Do you think that those predators ever stopped to ask themselves: Did I violate my food’s rights?
Animals eating those below them in the food chain is a natural act. A bunch of pouty millennials getting sentimental over a cow’s feelings does not give them the right to condemn us for performing a natural act.

illustration by Tony Senatore

Video of DxE breaking in to the farm showed the populous cages that had easily accessible water and feed troughs. Contrary to the footage, the rioters said that “they [had] no access to water” and that the chickens are living in “unsuitable conditions.” As presented by the owner of the farm towards the end of the documentary, the farm is evaluated by three separate inspection companies. They must be doing something right because the farm is still in business.
The protestors proceed to grab as many chickens as they can, ripping mothers away from their unhatched eggs. I had to research how chicken’s eggs hatch because I’m no expert. And let me tell you, neither are members of DxE. For an egg to hatch successfully and produce a healthy chick, the mother must sit on the egg for 21 days to regulate a necessary temperature of 99.5 degrees Fahrenheit. In short, the protesters just killed hundreds of unhatched chicks by stealing their mother for what they consider a just cause.
I’m not going to argue against the mistreatment of animals. I know it happens. There are companies that mistreat their livestock, but to accuse the entire industry of committing mass negligence is absurd to say the least. Factory-farms have in the past been suspected of placing animals in abusive environments. They focus on increased production rates to provide cheaper alternatives to the more organic options on the market. They should be checked, but not by some rag-tag group of smug civilians that put their beliefs on a pedestal.
There are logical ways of going about resolving the issue of animal abuse. Farms are constantly monitored by health inspectors and groups like the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). I say we leave it to the professionals on this, and not attempt to go above the law to solve a problem that may not even be there.